Nunes out with ill­ness just be­fore UFC 213

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS -

Ban­tamweight cham­pion Amanda Nunes was scratched from her ti­tle de­fense against Valentina Shevchenko af­ter be­ing hos­pi­tal­ized Satur­day a few hours be­fore UFC 213 in Las Ve­gas.

The UFC vaguely cited an “ill­ness” as the rea­son for Nunes’s hos­pi­tal­iza­tion in its state­ment. Shevchenko be­lieves Nunes’s con­di­tion re­sulted from a dras­tic weight cut.

Yoel Romero’s in­terim mid­dleweight ti­tle bout against Robert Whit­taker be­came the main event of the pay-per-view show at T-Mo­bile Arena, although the UFC also of­fered ticket re­funds to Las Ve­gas fans.

Shevchenko ex­pressed her dis­plea­sure over the loss of a big pay­check and a long-awaited ti­tle shot in a post on her so­cial me­dia ac­counts.

“Dur­ing the last three months of train­ing, I did ev­ery­thing to be in my best shape for this fight,” Shevchenko wrote. “Nunes couldn’t cut weight cor­rectly and was hos­pi­tal­ized. She wanted to cut weight and re­cover rapidly to have the ad­van­tage. The end re­sult, ev­ery­thing went wrong. Even though she was med­i­cally cleared to fight, she backed out. . . . I did my part and am very up­set that I can’t fight for the ti­tle to­day on this great event.”

UFC Pres­i­dent Dana White spec­u­lated that the bout could be moved to UFC 215 in Ed­mon­ton on Sept. 9, but a plan hasn’t been fi­nal­ized.

Nunes (14-4), a Brazil­ian fight­ing out of Florida, claimed the 135-pound belt from Miesha Tate last July. Af­ter Nunes vi­o­lently stopped Ronda Rousey in De­cem­ber, she was sched­uled to make her second ti­tle de­fense in a re­match of her March 2016 vic­tory over Shevchenko (14-2).

In­stead, for the third straight year, the UFC has been forced to can­cel the main event of its an­nual In­ter­na­tional Fight Week show on short no­tice.

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