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UFC releases former champion Nicco Montaño

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After a very rough few years, the inaugural flyweight champ has been cut.

After a tumultuous period in the UFC, Nicco Montaño’s time there is no more.

On the heels of another cancelled bout this past weekend, Montaño (4-3) was released by the UFC according to sources that confirmed the news to MMAFighting.

After winning the King of the Cage championship and going undefeated as an amateur, Montaño entered the UFC fold in 2017 as part of the first women’s flyweight season of The Ultimate Fighter. She succeeded and went on to defeat veteran Roxanne Modafferi in the finals after wins against Lauren Murphy, Montana de la Rosa, and Barb Honchak.

Her first defense against Sijara Eubanks was cancelled due to Eubanks requiring hospitalization stemming from weight cut problems. A subsequent fight against Valentina Shevchenko was cancelled when Montaño was the one that needed medical care due to a botched weight cut.

Injuries, and a host of medical complications led to being somewhat controversially stripped of the belt by the UFC. A loss to Julianna Peña, card cancellations and a case of COVID-19 continued to derail Montaño even further, leading to seven cancelled fights in a row which include the one that was supposed to take place last weekend.

In an interview with Farah Hannoun regarding Montaño’s woes, UFC president Dana White speculated that perhaps “This may not be the sport for her“.

While moving up would have certainly been beneficial to a fighter with a history of bad weight cuts, it didn’t seem to be the case this past week as her struggle with the scale continued. She did manage to make weight against Peña, but her troubles with the process were clearly not over. Said history was in fact documented on an episode of Real Sports and is part of an upcoming documentary as well.

Montaño has and will always have the distinction of being the first Native American UFC champion, an accomplishment that never quite got any fanfare or publicity from the UFC. After reaching the top, she remained dedicated to Indigenous causes, charity and community work in her personal life. At 32 years of age, she very well may continue to pursue more success in combat sports.