Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Peña Shares Plan To Avoid Getting “Canceled” After Recent Controversies

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Julianna Peña has revealed she’s planning on scaling back her vocal personality given recent controversies.

If there’s one thing championship status brings you, it’s attention and a bigger portion of the spotlight. If there’s one thing that means, it’s more scrutiny for what you say. If there’s one thing the 135-pound queen loves doing, it’s talking.

When that’s all combined, it’s perhaps no surprise “The Venezuelan Vixen” has rubbed some people up the wrong way since her championship crowning at UFC 269 a few months ago.

Having felt the blowback from her words, Peña is looking to change things up. During a media scrum last month, the 32-year-old suggested she’s targeting a more reserved approach in the future.

“Now, I feel like I can’t say how I really feel about anything because they’re just gonna find a way to make a headline,” said Peña. “And so now, I’m just like, ‘Keep it PG, Julianna. Just keep it PG.’”

Peña acknowledged that the need for her to tone her remarks down is a lesson she’s learned since December, during which she shocked the world by dethroning then-double champion Amanda Nunes.

“When you’re in the limelight, you gotta scale it back a little bit. And so that’s just the world that we live in, and you gotta be careful what you say. And I think that those are two hard lessons that I have learned since being the champion: watch your mouth,” Peña concluded.

Peña Drew Flak For Comments On COVID-19 & Motherhood

Peña’s rise from background contender to widely-discussed champion has been quite remarkable. While her performance at UFC 269 undoubtedly paved the way for that to happen, a number of comments have perhaps grabbed her some mainstream attention.

One of those remarks came during her appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience, which, given the extra attention on the podcast in recent months, was hardly surprising.

On the topic of the COVID-19 pandemic, which remains a sensitive one, “The Venezuelan Vixen” claimed the virus was a ridiculous “money grab.”

“I’m a massive conspiracy theorist on this whole thing, and I have been since the very beginning. I’m like, ‘This is just a money grab. They’re trying to kill us, and this is ridiculous,’” Peña.

She clarified her comments at a pre-UFC 271 media scrum, claiming her words had been misconstrued, but apologizing nonetheless.

“My words were a little bit misconstrued. I am tired, I am exhausted. We are going on this pandemic two years going on three years now, I just want things to go back to normal… It absolutely is real. I’m just angry and frustrated and exhausted over the whole situation because I just am wanting things to go back to normal. And so if I offended anybody by my comments on COVID, please I would like to apologize.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

Prior to that, Peña received criticism for comments she made about motherhood following her title-winning performance at UFC 269. Despite Nina Nunes giving birth to her and Amanda’s child in 2020, Peña staked claim to the title of “first mom champ,” owing to the fact she gave birth to her child, while the “Lioness” did not.

“I’m not trying to take anything away from Amanda Nunes, she’s a wonderful mother, but I gave birth to my daughter,” Pena said at the post-fight press conference. “I feel like for giving birth I am the first mom champ. That, to me, is also a little feather in the cap.”

As with her comments on COVID-19, those remarks also received a swift clarification, although she did again claim her words had been misinterpreted.

“I absolutely had my words misinterpreted. Amanda is an amazing mom,” she told MMA Junkie. “She is an amazing mom champ. The only thing that I was saying is that when I gave birth, I was almost 42 weeks pregnant and 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… All I was saying was that for giving birth, if they’re gonna give Amanda a belt for being mom champ, then I would also like a belt for being mom champ.”

With her comments to the media, it seems Peña has decided to come up with a new strategy to avoid having her words “misinterpreted”—say less.

Do you agree with Julianna Peña? Do champions need to tone themselves down while in the limelight?

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