“I Absolutely Had My Words Misinterpreted” | UFC Champ Julianna Peña Wades Into “Mom Champ” Shade Toward Amanda Nunes

Image Credit: Twitter @Action NetworkHQ screen shot

Recent UFC bantamweight champion Julianna Peña is stepping right into the controversial light since defeating Amanda Nunes at UFC 269.

Peña (11-4) ended the year right with a shocking upset finish of the consensus GOAT of women’s mixed martial arts. Her second-round submission victory over Amanda Nunes (21-5) stopped a seven-year undefeated run by Nunes.

Finally Justified

She also proved that years of calling Nunes out were justified by winning and finishing Nunes, a two-division champion.

However, Peña realized the rigors of being a champion were not only in the cage but outside of it when she made a controversial comment about the former champ during the post-fight news conference.

Peña made an insensitive comment about Nunes’ claim to authentic motherhood by saying she was the first “mom champ.” Her justification was that she gave birth to her daughter, unlike Nunes, who also is a parent.

The Mom Champ Controversy

The world took notice and began to feel some type of way about “The Venezuelan Vixen” and her perspective.

“I absolutely had my words misinterpreted,” Peña said to MMA Junkie. “Amanda is an amazing mom. She is an amazing mom champ. Amanda had a daughter that was there at the weigh-ins with my daughter, and her daughter embraced my daughter. They were hugging; they were loving on one another.
“When I saw that, I saw that this baby is raised in a home with two loving parents, and for her to display that love to my daughter just showed me how much they care about their daughter and how great of parents they are for their baby.”

Two Moms. One Champ.

Nunes is married to fellow UFC fighter Nina Nunes. Nina gave birth to their daughter, Raegan, in September 2020.

Peña attempted to explain that she wasn’t throwing shade but rather being more specific about the rigors of pregnancy and being a professional athlete that eventually becomes a champion.

UFC Fighter Julianna Peña Submits GOAT Amanda Nunes In Two Rounds| Did She Prove Nunes Was Ducking Her All Along?

“When I gave birth, I was almost 42 weeks pregnant,” Peña continued. “I had an emergency c-section where they were like, ‘We have to get this baby out now.’ I watched them gut me like a fish and take out all of my guts, laid it on the table, and threw it back in, and sewed me up.
“If it wasn’t for Mercier Therapy, honestly, I wouldn’t be able to get back inside the octagon. There’s so many things that happen to a woman’s body when they are pregnant. I was pregnant for 10 months. I had a crazy, very emotional c-section. I didn’t know if I was going to fight again. I had to have extra time to bring my body back together to get it back to its peak performance.”

Long Road To Victory

Peña faced Valentina Shevchenko at UFC on Fox 23 in January 2017, losing the fight via armbar submission in the second round.

UFC Fighter Julianna Peña Submits GOAT Amanda Nunes In Two Rounds| Did She Prove Nunes Was Ducking Her All Along?

However, in October 2017, Peña announced her pregnancy and break from competition. When she returned two-plus years later, in July 2019, she faced former UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship Nicco Montaño, winning the fight via unanimous decision as a replacement fighter.

Fast-forward three fights, including two stoppage victories, and Peña has realized her dream of being a champion.

Truly Clarified?

“All I was just saying is that for giving birth, is just if they’re gonna give Amanda a belt for being mom champ then I would also like a belt for being mom champ, is all I was trying to say,” Peña continued.
“I don’t want to take away from Amanda in any fashion as being a mother, because I know what a great mother she is, and I just really feel like my words were misinterpreted.”

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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.