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White: Nunes was ‘physically capable of fighting,’ won’t headline another card

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Dana White doesn’t plan on placing UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in another main event.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Kansas City Weigh Ins Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Dana White is very sure Amanda Nunes was physically able to fight at UFC 213, and now withdrawing from her rematch with Valentina Shevchenko has come at a cost for the women’s bantamweight champion.

The UFC president said at the UFC 213 post-fight press conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night that he doesn’t plan on having Nunes headline another card, presumably because she isn’t reliable enough to make it to each and every fight — a fighter pulling out of a main event is almost always detrimental to a card, especially when it happens less than a week out from the event.

In her last fight, Nunes defended the title for the first time against former champ Ronda Rousey in the main event of UFC 207. Prior to that, she headlined the landmark UFC 200 card last summer against then-titleholder Miesha Tate.

“I think that it was 90 percent mental and maybe 10 percent physical,” White said. “She probably didn’t feel right. I think a lot of fighters have had times where they don’t feel right, and then we’ve had guys who are outright sick. ... These situations arise all the time. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a situation like today, though, where she was physical capable of fighting.

“I won’t main event that title again.”

Nunes withdrew from her second title defense on fight day after being cleared by doctors, per White, because she didn’t feel fit to compete. The Shevchenko fight was scheduled to headline UFC 213 on July 8.

Now the title fight is targeted for September’s UFC 215 card in Edmonton, Alb., Canada. But expect it to be the co-main event, of course, and not the evening’s headliner. Junior dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou is already on the card.

Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker for the interim middleweight title was bumped up to the UFC 213 main event in place of Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2. Whittaker won by unanimous decision.