Nicco Montano understands that social media can be both a blessing and a curse.
The reigning UFC women’s flyweight champion won the title last December after she was ranked as the No. 14 seed out of 16 competitors on her season of “The Ultimate Fighter”. Following her win over Roxanne Modafferi last year, Montano was one of the true feel good stories of the sport after she became a champion in only her sixth professional fight.
But that good will only lasted for so long after Montano was forced to the sidelines after winning the belt as she dealt with a foot injury that plagued her throughout the filming of the reality show as well as the lead up to her fight against Modafferi.
With each passing month that she wasn’t fighting, opinions on Montano seemed to shift from Cinderella story to a champion who was ducking the competition at 125 pounds. That narrative only compounded after former bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko was crowned as the No. 1 contender in the division with many believing she would soon be champion.
Shevchenko then led a very public campaign calling Montano out through interviews and via Twitter while trying to goad the flyweight champion into accepting the fight with her. Through it all, Montano just stayed focused on getting healthy so she could defend her title but she largely missed out on all the negativity being vomited her way.
Thanks to getting locked out of her Twitter account and only really engaging on social media through Instagram, Montano rarely ever heard about anything anybody was saying about her.
In fact looking back now, Montano relishes the fact that she never got mired in the sludge of social media and instead just worried about getting ready for her upcoming fight.
“I’m somebody who chooses not to look at the negative aspects of everything, which is a lot of the time on social media” ~ Nicco Montano
“There’s so much negativity but there’s also some positivity if you want to look for it. It just kind of depends on what you want to find,” Montano said about being away from social media. “What Valentina was saying, I don’t even know honestly. It kind of took a couple of days for people to come up to me and say ‘I can’t believe she’s saying this and that’ and I’m like what did she say? I had no idea.
“A lot of stuff has to be brought to my attention because I’m somebody who chooses not to look at the negative aspects of everything, which is a lot of the time on social media.”
Perhaps the biggest benefit with Montano largely ignoring social media outside of a few key incidents after winning the title is that she was just focused on herself.
Montano knows that she did everything right leading into her appearance on “The Ultimate Fighter”, which helped her pull off the massive upset to win the title in the first place.
On Saturday night, Montano is once again in that same underdog role even as champion but she is more than happy to shock the world when she steps into the cage against Shevchenko.
“I’m not comparing myself to anybody else. I don’t need to,” Montano said. “It’s what got me the belt. That’s why I’m the champion. Nothing new here.
“I’m not very social when it comes to staying online and keeping everybody up today with everything happening. It’s very time consuming.”