UFC officials say the reason Germaine de Randamie was stripped of her belt is simple: She refused to fight the No. 1 contender.Officials today announced de Randamie (7-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has been stripped of the UFC women’s featherweight title, and Cristiane Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Invicta FC vet Megan Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) are now slated to fight for the vacant belt at UFC 214.In a statement, officials explained the rationale for the move (via UFC.com):
For what it’s worth, the UFC doesn’t technically have official rankings for the fledgling women’s 145-pound division, so there’s no definitive pecking order or list of contenders. Additionally, UFC officials have often booked title fights including the Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch, as well as middleweight champion Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson that were based more on potential PPV buys than divisional rankings.Initially, it wasn’t clear why de Randamie was so quiet after her most recent bout, a February win over Holly Holm for the inaugural title at UFC 208. We initially gotmixed messages from her side, which ranged from a lingering hand injury to personal issues.However, “The Iron Lady’s” management team recently stated she wouldn’t fight Justino under any circumstance even if it meant being stripped of the belt because “‘Cyborg’ is a known and proven cheater. Even after so much scrutiny has been put on ‘Cyborg,’ she still managed to pop for something and will always be a person of suspicion who is trying to beat the system rather than just conforming to the rules.”Justino, a former Strikeforce and Invicta FC champion, most notably failed a drug test due to a banned substance following a December 2011 Strikeforce bout and was suspended for one year. Justino also failed an out-of-competition drug test administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) earlier this year, but she was not punished because she provided documented information that proved the test results were caused by a legitimate medical treatment, so she was granted a therapeutic-use exemption.De Randamie recently stated she’s focused on moving back to the bantamweight division, where she went 3-1 in the UFC before the title win over Holm.For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
“UFC has informed Germaine de Randamie and her management team that she is being removed as the womens featherweight champion due to her unwillingness to fight the No. 1 ranked contender, Cris Cyborg’ Justino. Subsequently, top contender Justino will face newly signed Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson for the UFC womens featherweight title in the co-main event of UFC 214; Cormier vs. Jones 2, July 29 in Anaheim, Calif.
“UFC maintains that any champion is expected to accept fights against the top contenders in their respective weight classes in order to maintain the integrity of the sport.