LAS VEGAS — Was Amanda Nunes simply ducking Valentina Shevchenko when she pulled out of UFC 213 on the day of the fight? Shevchenko apparently believes that’s very possible.
“When you receive this notice that you can fight but you already don’t want (the) fight,” Shevchenko told reporters Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena, hours after Nunes’ withdrawal from their women’s bantamweight championship bout. “… I don’t know, you have all this three months to prepare for this — I have to fight, I have to put all my power, I have to put everything on the fight. … It’s a big event, a huge event, and you cannot just say, I’m sorry, I don’t feel good today.”
Nunes blamed her withdrawal on illness and she later apologized for it, but UFC president Dana White said the champ had been medically cleared to fight. That raised a chorus of people believing Nunes simply didn’t want to fight Shevchenko again, 16 months after their first meeting.
“Everybody sees everything. We don’t have to speak nothing,” Shevchenko said. “We understand everything. If you’re going to do these kinds of things, you have to be responsible (for) what people think about you.
“I hope she knows what she’s doing. I know exactly why she’s doing this, and everybody knows.”
Nina Ansaroff, Nunes’ girlfriend and sparring partner, took umbrage with fans who questioned the champ’s motives and harshly responded on Twitter with some salty language.
White said he’s targeting UFC 215 in two months for another go at Nunes-Shevchenko 2, and although it won’t be the main event, it will be for the title. And that’s all Shevchenko wants anyway.
“She has to fight,” Shevchenko said. “She has to defend her title. She has to fight. But the other thing is I don’t care what will happen with her. I’m more worried about my goal. … I don’t care if it’s she or someone else. I will fight.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images