“This fight was never offered. I asked the UFC ‘whoever you think is the next toughest fight for me, whatever you guys think’ and they came back and said ‘we’d like to open up the division, what about Amanda Nunes?’ I said ‘if that’s what you think, then I’m completely open to that.’ Personally, I think Amanda presents problems that Holly doesn’t. They want to assume I turned it down with Holly, I absolutely did not turn down a rematch with Holly. It wasn’t something that was brought up on the table, it wasn’t something that was offered to me. They asked about Amanda and I said ‘Yes, if that’s who you guys think is next in line, if that’s the way you guys want to go, I’m 100 percent in.’ … It’s not my job to pick the fights. They believed Amanda was next in line and they wanted to open up the division and I said ‘cool that’s all I need to know.’ If Amanda signs on the dotted line and she’s next then that’s it. No questions asked.”
-In an interview with FoxSports.com. Miesha Tate says the UFC never even offered the Holly Holm rematch for UFC 200.
Penick’s Analysis: If this is how those negotiations went, the UFC’s decision here is entirely punitive against Holm for losing at UFC 196 after insisting on fighting. It’s not the smartest move on the UFC’s part for the myriad reasons that have already been discussed with the Tate rematch and Ronda Rousey’s return, but it’s also not at all surprising given how the UFC felt about the risk taken by Holm after the win last fall. It doesn’t make it right, but Nunes is still a deserving and new contender, so on that end it’s a fight that still works for the organization. Regardless, Tate’s making it clear she didn’t actually turn anything down, even if this fight was preferred, and she’ll face off against Nunes now on July 9.
[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin-Oncea via USA Today Sports]
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