‘Big risk’ – UFC 289 fighter signed up for reality show on similar schedule, didn’t warn Dana White

Strawweight Maria Oliveira took a big chance ahead of her match at UFC 289.

By: Lucas Rezende | 4 months ago
‘Big risk’ – UFC 289 fighter signed up for reality show on similar schedule, didn’t warn Dana White
IMAGO/Icon Sportswire: Dana White did not know about Maria Oliveira's plans ahead of UFC 289.

Brazilian strawweight Maria Oliveira is a risk taker, as the fighter herself says. Although she had a match booked for this weekend’s UFC 289, this did not stop the 26-year-old from accepting an offer to participate in a live reality show in Brazil, which could have overlapped with the card had she not been eliminated in the first week.

Dana White and the UFC were out of the loop

To make matters worse, Oliveira felt no need to warn UFC president Dana White or anyone else in the promotion about the double booking. The decision could have led to a never seen before reason for match cancellation in the history of MMA. However, the Brazilian saw the move as a calculated risk.

In an interview with Ag Fight, Oliveira explained why she decided to accept both opportunities at the same time. On the one hand, the Brazilian knew that not letting the company know about the show could even lead to her release if she had stayed on it during UFC 289. On the other, the ‘Spider Girl’ saw it as an opportunity to increase her name value with the exposure she would get on television.

“Yes, the fight had been scheduled before I joined the reality show. I was completely aware that if I hadn’t made it to the mansion. They were kind of scheduled at the same time, the show and the fight. So I didn’t negotiate with the UFC (a permission for her to participate in the show). I took the fight and I took the show. I took a big chance.”

“I joined the reality show and I could’ve lost the UFC.” Oliveira said. “To cancel a fight just like that, on short notice, it was a big risk. When the UFC wants to fire someone, they do it. There was a chance for me to get hyped up because of the show, though. I could try talking to the matchmakers to stay in the UFC. It was a shot in the dark. There was an upside and a downside. I ended up not making it to the mansion, so I kept the fight. That’s it. I did what I did and took a risk. I’m not afraid of taking risks.”

Oliveira could’ve won $200,000

The reality show in question was ‘A Grande Conquista’ (The Great Conquest), on Brazil’s second largest TV station Rede Record. The competition will award its champion with a one-million reais prize (approximately 200 thousand dollars). However, Oliveira ended up being eliminated in the first round, not even making it to the house where the actual show would take place.

Maria Oliveira is still competing at UFC 289

In her last outing, Maria Oliveira (13-6) dropped a unanimous decision to Vanessa Demopolus, in November 2022. The defeat happened after the 26-year-old’s sole Octagon win so far, a split decision victory over Gloria de Paula in June of the same year. The Brazilian lost her UFC debut Tabatha Ricci via unanimous decision, in October 2021.

Now, Oliveira is expected to take on Diana Belbita at UFC 289, in Vancouver, Canada. The June 10 card is scheduled to be headlined by a women’s bantamweight title fight between champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Irene Aldana.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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