Pearl Gonzalez’s last day before her Saturday UFC debut didn’t go as planned.
Pearl Gonzalez had a whirlwind of a weigh-in day ahead of her UFC debut. Though everything was sorted out in the end, it certainly did not go as planned.
Shortly after successfully hitting the strawweight limit, the UFC newcomer was notified by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) that she would be removed from her UFC 210 main card bout with fellow prospect Cynthia Calvillo. It was due to her having breast implants, which are forbidden in boxing in New York, but the rules were not rewritten after MMA was legalized in New York last year.
Though both the NYSAC and the UFC claimed the bout was never officially scrapped, all signals led to Calvillo-Gonzalez being removed from the pay-per-view card. But after a review by the NYSAC, the bout was reinstated.
Throughout all the drama and confusion, Gonzalez remained adamant she would compete on Saturday night.
“As I was finishing up my medical clearance after my weigh-in, the commission told me I would not fight,” Gonzalez told media at a press conference on Friday (via MMAFighting.com). “I think at that moment I was a little upset.
“I was a little appalled and I said ‘OK, can I talk to my team?’ and the commissioner said ‘Yes,’ and I walked out of the room, and that was that,” she said. “I took a couple minutes, I regrouped myself, I came out and talked to my team, I looked at my team and said, ‘There’s no way this is off. We’re fighting. Let’s stay focused, let’s stay positive. We’re fighting tomorrow night.’”
Gonzalez said that she went through all the proper steps of disclosing her implants and that she was not aware of the commission’s rule until the fiasco on Friday.
“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” she said. “I’ve put it in my paperwork, I’ve never lied about it, which is when they asked me if I have had a surgery, I told them. I was surprised, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m just riding my wave, enjoying this.”
Gonzalez wishes she was in the news Friday for the right reasons and the fact she has breast implants remained private information — as it should — but understands that any attention is positive in this sport.
“At the end of the day, it’s out; there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not going to dwell about it,” she said. “I don’t think I wanted the world to know about my surgery and to be talked about like this. I have worked very hard to show how talented I am. I have a lot to bring to this division. And that’s what I would like to be known for.
“All media is good media,” Gonzalez said. “So I’m going to ride this wave, and if this helps get me name out there, I’m going to ride it. I’m gonna win tomorrow night. I’m going to show the world not only do I have breast implants, but I’m a talented fighter.”
UFC 210 takes place live from KeyBank Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. In the main event, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier defends his belt against Anthony Johnson in a rematch.