Germaine de Randamie says she was caught off guard by her removal as UFC’s Women’s Featherweight Champion.
UFC announced on Monday that Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will take on Invicta standout Megan Anderson to crown a new champion due to de Randamie’s “unwillingness to fight the No. 1 ranked contender.” The move came as a surprise to the now former champ.
“I had absolutely no idea that I was being stripped of the belt,” de Randamie said in a statement to MMA Fighting. “I found out through social media. Cyborg is going to fight Megan for the belt.”
De Randamie won the promotion’s inaugural featherweight championship back at UFC 208 where she defeated Holly Holm in a closely fought, but an uninspiring decision. Since that February event, UFC has not held any fights in the women’s 145-pound weight class nor were any scheduled for the near future until the Cyborg-Anderson announcement.
UFC attempted to book a bout between de Randamie and Cyborg, but de Randamie was firm in her refusal to fight Cyborg. She cited Cyborg’s past drug failure as justification.
“Cyborg is a known and proven cheater,” de Randamie’s manager said last month. Before yesterday’s announcement, de Randamie was already looking at a return to 135 pounds.
So while de Randamie’s title reign was short-lived and likely to be ignored in UFC’s version of history, fans can at least look forward to what should be an improved investment in female featherweights.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: It’s odd that de Randamie was so surprised by being stripped of her title as the writing was on the wall for weeks. The idea of the division is completely centered around Cyborg and, had she not been provisionally suspended late last year, she would have fought for the title immediately. I can understand having reservations about taking a fight against someone who you suspect to be using PEDs, but as a UFC fighter you should be able to have faith in USADA to somewhat level the playing field. Again, I’m happy we can put UFC 208 behind us and I’m hoping that UFC puts a better effort into women’s 145 this time around.
TUESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Tonya Evinger will be stepping in to replace Megan Anderson to fight Helena Kolesnyk at Invicta FC 24 on July 15. It will be a three-round, non-title fight at 145 pounds.
-UFC and Fox are looking to add more real-time statistics to their broadcasts. Plans include installing sensors into gloves to measure the speed and impact of punches. WME/IMG head Ari Emanuel told onlookers at a marketing event that “We’re about six months away from that.” (SOURCE)
-Conor McGregor’s manager Audie Attar told “The MMA Hour” that McGregor will be free to negotiate his own sponsors for his fight with Floyd Mayweather and won’t be bound to UFC’s agreement with Reebok.
-Rapper Ice Cube, who currently holds the August 26 date at T-Mobile Arena for a 3-on-3 basketball event, told FS1 that he would be willing to concede the arena to Mayweather vs. McGregor that night. “If they do what they’re supposed to do and make us happy,” he said.
-The Edmonton Combative Sports Commission is launching a third-party investigation into the events surrounding the death of Tim Hague after a boxing match over the weekend. “We want to make sure our policies and procedures are responsive to the community and making sure these events are absolutely as safe as they can be,” deputy city manager Rob Smyth told Global News.
-The man Tim Hague was fighting before his death, Adam Braidwood, spoke to CTV News in Canada about the fight where Hague was knocked down several times before being knocked out cold by Braidwood, never to recover. “Tim wanted to keep fighting, and that’s what we do,” he said. “If people have delusions about this sport, about what life is really like for someone like me, who has nothing else, they can walk in my shoes. I would’ve done the same thing. And he would’ve done the same thing to me, trust me.”
-Bellator unveiled their broadcast plans for this weekend with new signees, Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo. Goldberg will call the Spike TV portion of the card alongside Jimmy Smith while Ranallo and Smith will handle the pay-per-view. Goldberg will anchor the desk for the pay-per-view.
-Cord-cutters looking to have an opportunity to purchase Bellator’s pay-per-view on Saturday will be able to do so through YouTube or the PlayStation Store.
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)