Director Landon Dyksterhouse seemed adamant in the artistic value of the shot in his documentary ‘Warrior Spirit,’ of ex-UFC champ Nicco Montaño stripped nude, trying to make weight ahead of her planned UFC 228 bout against Valentina Shevchenko—a process that left Montaño hospitalized and resulted in the cancellation of the fight and the stripping of her title. But, it seems a little more time (and perhaps some bad press) has caused him to reconsider.
“To say it doesn’t connect with the narrative, I think that’s not true,” Dyksterhouse initially told Miesha Tate on her Throwing Down podcast, in response to an interview where Montaño told MMA Fighting that she felt exploited by the scene. “Because in the beginning, Nicco had everything. She has the belt, she has her health, she’s at her very best. It’s why so many people in the Native American community idolize her. At the end of the movie, the arc of the story is she’s left with nothing. She’s stripped down including her weight, including her body, including everything she had attained with the UFC.”
Dyksterhouse added that none of the film festivals where his film has played have ever expressed any reservations or misgivings. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Montaño expressed a serious problem with her depiction. And in a recent statement to MyMMANews.com the director now says that he’ll be altering the film, to blur any nudity.
“Nicco was offered every opportunity to see the film and flag anything objectionable and didn’t flag anything, however, we respect Nicco and have willingly gone forward and will take steps to blur the scene,” Dyksterhouse revealed. “We stand by the film and regret any issues this has caused.
“Throughout the rollout of Warrior Spirit, the goal has been to shed light around improving conditions for all UFC fighters, including weight cutting protocol, fighter pay, health insurance, and overall well-being.”
Montaño hasn’t competed in MMA since 2019, when she lost a unanimous decision to current bantamweight title challenger Julianna Pena. In the time since that loss, she has had six separate UFC bookings cancelled or delayed, eventually resulting in her release from the promotion earlier this year.
For the moment, it doesn’t sound like Montaño has a definitive date for her return to action, however, she has expressed a desire to compete at featherweight in the near future—with an eye to making a return to the UFC in the next couple years, and possibly even a move back down to bantamweight.
“I totally would [fight for the UFC again],” Montaño said (transcript via MMANews.com). “They said, they’re shutting down the 145 division, but I see a bunch of 145 fights coming left and right these days. I think for now, at 145 I can throw out four fights a year and eventually come back down to 135.”
In the meantime, the first UFC women’s flyweight champion and first indigenous UFC champion will have to take some solace in her victory outside the cage.