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Nicco Montano: How is the first-ever UFC women's flyweight champion helping the Navajo people?

Nicco Montano is UFC
Nicco Montano is UFC's inaugural women's flyweight champion
Modified 03 Apr 2021

UFC women's flyweight contender Nicco Montano is trying to help the Navajo people by launching her own utilities program. The program aims to bring basic services to Navajo Nation - a Native American territory in the USA that occupies portions of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

Montano belongs to the Navajo people. The utilities programme is her attempt to give something back to her community.

In an exclusive interview with MMA Fighting, Nicco Montano revealed that she grew up facing difficulties that still plague the people living in Navajo Nation. She added that Navajo people are her true motivation and the utilities program will attempt to bring services like water, electricity and internet to the region:

“We live a simple lifestyle out there. Through this program, I’ll be able to bring them running water, WiFi, everyone’s online right now with school including my sister, my little cousins, so I can go back home and I can put myself back in that reality because I grew up in that reality," Nicco Montano told MMA Fighting.

Navajo Nation is the largest Native American territory in the USA. It is the most impoverished region in the United States that lacks basic services like electricity, water and internet.

Navajo Nation has faced severe consequences from the Covid-19 pandemic due to a lack of connectivity.

Nicco Montano's recent struggles in fighting compelled her to start the utilities programme

Nico Montano became the inaugural UFC women's flyweight champion by defeating veteran fighter Roxanne Modafferi. However, she was stripped of the title after weight management issues forced her out of her scheduled title defense against current champion Valentina Shevchenko in September 2018.

Montano's subsequent career has been subject to many bout cancelations and training-related injuries. She has competed only once in the UFC since winning the title in December 2017.


Nicco Montano told MMA Fighting that she always wanted to utilize the UFC platform to spread awareness about the hardships endured by the Navajo people. However, reduced exposure due to lack of activity compelled her to think about other ways to help the Navajo people. It led to her initiating the utilities programme:

“I think obviously bringing awareness through interviews is great. It’s so hard to bring help to myself specifically without fighting because I’m known as a fighter so without fights, I feel like I lose interest and then I lose the platform that I have. I feel like it’s a lot going to waste. So because of that issue, I need to find ways to bring awareness to these issues," Nicco Montano told MMA Fighting.

Nicco Montano was scheduled to fight Karol Roza on the UFC Vegas 18 fight card in February 2021. She pulled out of the fight due to undisclosed reasons.

She does not have an upcoming fight as of now.

Published 03 Apr 2021, 23:07 IST
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