Montano not impressed she found out about belt stripping via the social network
Former UFC flyweight champion Nicco Montano suffered kidney issues while cutting for her first title defense, vs. Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228. After she was pulled from the fight, her title was stripped; she found out on Instagram.
”I was going through Instagram and I saw an interview with Dana White saying the title has been stripped,” revealed Montano to Ryan Harkness for MMA Mania. “I was getting out of the hospital and I was like, ‘Alrighty, then.’”
“Like I said from the get-go, it’s kind of understandable that they want to get things rolling, it’s just sad that they have to do it on behalf of my health. And I suppose I could have said no to the fight in September and get stripped then anyway. But I still would have looked like I was scared or something and I already had a bunch of people on the internet being crazy. So I just wanted to show people that I was making an effort and being proactive by taking this fight, knowing that it was going to be up in the air about making weight, and that was going to be the biggest issue.”
”It was definitely pretty sad. It was disheartening. I didn’t want to have anything to do with the UFC for a bit after that, my short temper was like, ‘Eff this, you just almost died for a company that doesn’t even call you to see if you’re alive?’ Personally, I was like, ‘Screw you’, on the business level, I can see it from a different perspective. I can see what they have to do or think they have to do.”
”It’s still pretty disheartening as far as what’s going to happen with my career,” she finished. “Am I gonna want to stay in the UFC? We’re going to want to stay in the UFC just to fight Valentina eventually. But, with anything else, it’s like what else is the motivation?”
Montano weighed in at 144 at the beginning of fight week. On Friday morning she had to make 125. That’s losing 13% of her bodyweight.
Dehydration is classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the percentage of body weight lost. Mild dehydration is 5-6%, while moderate is 7-10%. Severe dehydration is over 10%, requiring immediate medical care. Death occurs at a loss of between 15% and 25% of the body water. So making weight required Montano to severely dehydrate; the hospitalization was entirely foreseeable.
The problem is preventable. Everyone is paying a price. Fighters are doing long-term damage to their health. The UFC sees endless fights canceled. And fans see diminished fighters. And all this is over a “safety” rule where both fighters end up the same size.
During a recent appearance on Luke Thomas’s The MMA Hour, Montano detailed what happened.
”I came in on Tuesday at 144 pounds,” revealed Montano. “I was 141 last time, that was a little heavy, too, that was coming off the TUF show and a pretty tough cut. It’s all kind of my biology at this point, it’s kinda hard to guarantee anything until my body is cooperating and not rebelling.”
”I think it was just the amount of time. I came in a little heavy because I was trying to race the clock to be on weight for this fight. I knew from the beginning, I knew I was going to have to sacrifice a lot of performances in the gym leading up to the fight because this camp was all about making weight.
”I tried to ask or push for [October], but the threat of getting my belt stripped was that, if I hadn’t picked September there was the threat of getting my belt stripped. So why just give up then? I tried to push through.”
Montano was asked to clarify whether the UFC explicitly threatened to pull the belt if she declined the September date.
“Not in such bold wording, but yeah,” she replied.”