Julianna Peña can see where Amanda Nunes is coming from leaving ATT.
Julianna Peña has a rematch set with Amanda Nunes. Leading up to the next fight these two will be spending a lot of time together. They will be coaching the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, and that calls for six weeks of close encounters between them. There was some bad blood leading up to the first fight, and now coming into the second, Peña is siding with Nunes on one issue.
Recently, Nunes decided to take some time away from her longtime gym, ATT. She cited wanting to branch out on her own and do her own thing as her reason. ATT has been in the news for another reason as well. Former ATT athlete Colby Covington will be fighting current ATT fighter and former training partner Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272.
ATT owner Dan Lambert has recently stated that the fallout between Covington and Masvidal was so toxic that at one point both fighters had to be removed from the gym. This, along with other recent incidents, makes it easy for Peña to understand why Nunes would want out.
“I absolutely do believe that. It’s probably because she’s felt this way for a long time. She’s at a one-stop-shop at American Top Team; a McDonald’s, cookie-cutter type gym, where they’re just throwing these guys in and out, and in and out, and everyone trains with everyone,” Peña said during a recent media scrum.
“You’ve got Jorge Masvidal used to be friends with Colby Covington, used to be friends with Dustin Poirier, now they all hate each other, but they still gotta train in the same gym. It’s awkward. It’s, ‘Do I trust these people? Do they have my best interests? Are they telling people about me? Are they watching what I’m doing like a hawk and then this information’s gonna get leaked out?'”
Peña Believes Kayla Harrison May Have Played Role In Exit
Nunes is maintaining that she is still holding a good relationship with the team. But Peña looking in from the outside can see many flags, including another former teammate who has expressed interest in fighting Nunes: Kayla Harrison.
“It’s a whole lot of paranoia. It’s a lot of people making sure they have your best interests. So, I feel – I don’t know exactly what happened—but I feel like that’s definitely some part of why she feels like she needs to leave,” Peña said. “Especially with them saying, ‘Oh, Kayla Harrison’s the team captain, how do you feel about that?’ … ‘But now Kayla Harrison is my training partner, but now Kayla Harrison wants to fight me for a mega-million-dollar fight.’ It’s like, who is really your friend here? You can’t trust anyone in that gym. I anticipate if she said this was a long time coming, I believe that I really do.”
In the lead-up to the first bout with Peña, Nunes said she had a bad training camp. She said she suffered injuries in the weeks before the fight. Now with a new training gym and time to heal, she is expecting a different outcome.
Do you think Nunes’ departure from ATT will helo her in the rematch with Peña?