The UFC is no stranger to having headlining fights being suddenly cancelled, for whatever reason. But Saturday’s UFC 213 scrapping of the supposed main event fight between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko could be the odd one out.
The reigning women’s bantamweight champion had reportedly been under the weather throughout fight week, but was able to make weight and get medical clearance from her doctors after several trips to the hospital. She still, however, opted to pull out of the fight just mere hours prior, citing “chronic sinusitis” as her reason.
UFC president Dana White says he is no longer willing to have Nunes headline another event. But for Chael Sonnen, the company should revamp its contract with fighters, particularly for when such instances happen.
“I realize my idea would not work, however, I still share the ideology that we should have a forfeit clause. There’s got to be some time clause, particularly from the weigh-in to the ring,” Sonnen said on Monday’s MMA Hour episode (via MMA Fighting). “In any other sport you lose and you lose by forfeit. This would never happen in Super Bowl or the NBA.”
“It does happen in boxing meets and in wrestling meets. If anything happens to the athlete whereby they don’t step on the mat after the weigh in, they lose by forfeit. There should be some kind of a clause in there. I’m not thrilled about it to tell you the truth.”
“That should’ve been a forfeit,” Sonnen continued. “This entire sport is about finding out about who is tougher at a specific time or place. If you’re an athlete that is admittedly not tough enough to try, then you cannot be called the champion.”
To drive his point further, Sonnen used former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez as an example. Velasquez has earned some notoriety for sudden pull-outs due to injuries.
Relating it to UFC 213’s case, Sonnen says Nunes should no longer be the champion.
“I see people pull out all the time and they should lose their rankings,” Sonnen said. “I think the world of Cain Velasquez but he has pulled out of so many fights, if I’m a media member who gets to poll rankings, I pull his ass out.”
“If Cain comes forward and says, ‘I’m not even tough enough to leave the locker room’, how can (media members) say, ‘this guy is No. 3 in the world’. He just told you he’s not tough enough to leave the locker room and the whole sport is about who is tougher at a specific time and place. We should have a new champion.”
“I’m not saying I’m disrespecting (Nunes), but (if the forfeit clause was in place) she loses the belt.”
Sonnen’s interview begins at the 1:32:26 mark of the video.