Amanda Nunes will be unable to compete at UFC 213 in the main event against Valentina Shevchenko, according to multiple reports. UFC president Dana White later confirmed the news. Nunes, the UFC women's bantamweight champion, fell ill early Saturday and was sent to the hospital for treatment. According to MMAFighting.com, Nunes had been feeling sick all week.
"The doctor cleared her to fight, she said she doesn't feel good," White said via the L.A. Times. "It is what it is. You can't make anyone fight."
This would be only the second time in Nunes' career where she was forced to withdraw from a fight. In 2011, she was scheduled to face Julie Kedzie in a Strikeforce bout, but had to pull out with a foot injury. The main event against Shevchenko on Saturday was expected to serve as a rematch of the two's first meeting a year ago where Nunes won by unanimous decision, the only decision fight in her professional MMA career.
Shevchenko took to Instagram to voice her displeasure with Nunes pulling out the day of the fight.
"Today I am 100 percent ready for this fight. During the last three months of training, I did everything to be in my best shape for this fight. 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," Shevchenko said. "Even though she was medically cleared to fight, she backed out. This fight was originally offered to take place in April and she would not accept then. I did my part and am very upset that I can't fight for the title today on this great event.
"I am even more upset for all my dear fans who support me every time throughout the world and to those who traveled to see me fight here in Las Vegas live. I feel frustrated about what happened, but I won't relax, will not put down energy in preparation, and will wait until the UFC gives us another date for the fight."
This is the third consecutive year the main event for UFC's PPV event during International Fight Week has been canceled or altered. In 2015, Jose Aldo was expected to take on Conor McGregor for the featherweight title, but pulled out with an injury. Last year, Daniel Cormier was expected to take on rival Jon Jones in their grudge match, but Jones test positive for a banned substance two days before the bout, leaving Cormier to take on legend Anderson Silva instead.
This is also the third fight that was scheduled to take place on Saturday night at UFC 213 that has been canceled or rescheduled. Bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt was expected to take on TJ Dillashaw in the main event as the two were coaches for this season's "The Ultimate Fighter" TV show, but Garbrandt suffered a back injury that required injections, forcing him out of action. Then, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone was expected to take on Robbie Lawler in a fight a year in the making. However, that fight got bumped to UFC 214 after Cerrone picked up a blood infection last week, delaying the fight to later this month.
With Nunes-Shevchenko off the card, Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero would serve as the new main event for the interim middleweight title with Fabricio Werdum vs. Alistair Overeem the new co-main event.