Nicco Montano Releases Statement Blaming TUF Stint for Weight Struggles, Calls Valentina Shevchenko an “Egomaniac”

Nicco Montano UFC
Nicco Montaño Credit:

After suffering the indignity of being stripped of her title, now former UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano has released a statement brimming with contempt for Valentina Shevchenko.

Nicco Montano’s first title defense was supposed to take place at Saturday’s UFC 228. As is well documented by now, it didn’t happen. Instead, the flyweight woke up Saturday stripped of her 125lb title, not even making it to the scales at Friday’s weigh-in. After being taken to hospital due to the blown weight cut, Montano had to deal with both her health, an opponent on the attack in the media, and a large portion of the fan base upset with her inability to make weight. Now, the ex-champion has released a lengthy statement (via her official Instagram account) detailing what happened, blaming her weight struggles in part on her time on The Ultimate Fighter, and blasting Valentina Shevchenko repeatedly for being “disrespectful.”

“I want to say think you to all my continued supporters, unfortunately my first time ever missing weight means the loss of my title that I’ve worked my a** off for,” Montano opened her statement saying. “And if you ask me is completely uncalled for, there have been plenty of other fighters who have not been punished for a lot more, unfortunately I’m not one to be running my mouth so I don’t bring in the big bucks.”

Montano then detailed exactly what transpired on Friday that led to her being rushed to the emergency room. “I had stopped sweating early, my kidneys shut down, and I had an imbalance of electrolytes, my sodium levels were way too high,” she explained. “When I got to the hospital the doctors had told me that it was the best idea, that if I had waited even 30min longer it could’ve led to cardiac issues. With that said I had no intention to drop out of the fight. I looked good at open workouts because I had every intention to dominate tonight.”

In part, Montano feels all this came about because of her time on The Ultimate Fighter 26. Montano fought three times on the show, that was filmed about a year ago, with the live finale coming last December, where Montano won the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight championship. “There have been multiple occasions where athletes after the TUF show have been metabolically impaired. It takes a little longer to allow yourself the time to bounce back to your proper weight. In my case it was that with the accumulation of illness and injury.”

It’s not clear who Montano is referring to, though original finale opponent Sijara Eubanks had to pull out of the title fight with Montano after kidney issues from a failed weight cut. Eubanks, however, returned to action in June, defeating Lauren Murphy at UFC Utica.

“I had asked for a fight in October knowing this and had some legit people on my side also asking on my behalf, however the match maker and whoever else only gave me the September date to choose from,” Montano continued. “So with no other choice and with the internet backing a lying bully (Valentina), I was forced to accept the date or have the threat to get stripped anyway.”

Montano then turned her ire to her UFC 228 opponent, Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko had publicly questioned whether Montano would make it to fight night, and essentially accused the inaugural UFC 125lb champ of running. Shevchenko also claimed to have trained for Montano on several occasions only for the champ to back out. “This was the only time I signed a contract so the statements that this egomaniac (Valentina) has said are completely false and nowhere near the truth,” Montano said in her statement. “Her idea of reality is so far fetched so the fact that she trained for me 3 times must mean a couple of things, she’s obsessed with me and she has too much time on her hands.”

“Not only has she been disrespectful and jealous of my efforts and accomplishments also blocking me first on Instagram during her first fight at 125,” Montano added, “but the fact that she takes pride in kicking a person while their going through surgery and having their kidneys shut down truly demonstrates what a martial artist should not be!”

The truth will come out, Montano believes, as the entire process was being filmed. “I did everything I could to make the weight in the amount of time offered to me, I had no choice but to. Luckily I have a documentary being made following this entire process and it will soon be available for everyone to witness themselves.”

Finally, Montano turned her focus to the future, saying that “when you’re stuck in between a rock and a hard place you stick up your dukes and get down to it and that’s precisely what I did and will continue to do.”

“The plan for now is to be able to live a healthy lifestyle for the longevity of my career and livelihood,” she stated. “Until I can confidently adapt my body and walk around at a lighter weight I will keep doing all that I can when it comes to making indigenous lives matter and will not be hushed in terms of the wrong doing that has been established, not only with my people but also with me!”

Before finishing, however, Montano again fired a shot at Valentina Shevchenko, adding “never have I ever experienced working with an opponent who is so heartless and disrespectful, you can absolutely guarantee I’m coming back to make my stamp and take my belt back.”

As is usually the case, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. But regardless, there’s no winner in this situation, as Montano has been stripped of her crown, and Shevchenko lost out on a title fight opportunity yet again.