Amanda Nunes doesn’t feel like the UFC’s marketing machine is getting behind her, and she’s not OK with that.
The UFC women’s bantamweight champion is upset that the UFC is not giving her a significant promotional push, despite her large amount of recent success. Nunes is on a six-fight winning streak, and won the title with a stoppage over Miesha Tate in July 2016. She’s defended the belt twice, with a first-round TKO over Ronda Rousey and a decision over Valentina Shevchenko.
Admittedly, Nunes said appearance-wise she isn’t historically suitable as a female UFC champion, and she doesn’t think the premier MMA promotion has taken to that very well.
"There's a point where, sometimes, I'd rather wait a bit and get a fight that sells," Nunes told FloCombat. "It's all about pay-per-view, everything revolves around that and I don’t really get a part of that. I don’t really fit the profile of a UFC champion, but they have to do [business] with me, even though they're never going to promote me to a level like they did Ronda Rousey or Holly Holm. They want blondies, cute little girls who fight and take pictures. Let's face it, I have to face the girls who sell best."
All three of Nunes’ title fights have headlined pay-per-view cards; two of which surpassed one million buys. But the card that featured Nunes’ last fight — UFC 215 — only sold an estimated 100,000 pay-per-views.
The Brazilian knockout artist, who made the Forbes 30 Under 30 sports list earlier this month, believes the UFC bosses want her off the women’s bantamweight throne — and Nunes said she even told the promotion that that is what she thinks.
"They're not idiots, they know what they do," said Nunes, the first openly gay UFC champion. (She is in a relationship with UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff). “It's all about marketing. That's why it's the UFC, that's why they're doing it. They want to get someone to beat me for me to get out badly. I told them about it, I know that's what they want, someone that they can really promote and make money with.”
But none of this means Nunes will change a single thing. She reached the top of the sport and has kept UFC gold for nearly a year and a half — a feat only few manage to accomplish these days. At least inside the cage, she’s doing everything right. Perhaps she would make more money if she talked more trash leading up to fights, but ultimately, the 29-year-old just wants to stay true to herself.
"Why?" Nunes asked. “I'm not going to be who I am [if I try to cater to the market]. It doesn’t make sense for me to change. You have to be who you are."