Controversial shot to be blurred in Montaño documentary - Albuquerque Journal

Controversial shot to be blurred in Montaño documentary

Warrior CBD/D-House Entertainment Former UFC fighter Nicco Montano and Clint Wattenberg in a scene from “Warrior Spirit. “

Filmmaker Landon Dyksterhouse has agreed to blur a scene in his award-winning documentary “Warrior Spirit” in which MMA fighter Nicco Montaño briefly appears nude.

Montaño, a former UFC flyweight champion, was living and training in Albuquerque while the documentary was being filmed. She since has moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.

In recent interviews, Montaño – who has yet to view the film – said she was blind-sided by the nudity, filmed as she was weighing herself during a brutal and unsuccessful weight cut before a scheduled fight.

“I never said it was OK for me to be exposed on film,” Montaño said on the podcast “The Fighter vs. the Writer.”

“They’re just like, ‘Well you signed off and it’s part of the film and it makes it more impactful,’ but it’s also at my expense,” she said.

Montaño is the first Native American to have won a UFC title, and her journey to get to that point was the initial premise of “Warrior Spirit.” But her struggles to make weight for her first scheduled defense against Valentina Shevchenko in September 2018, Dyksterhouse told the Journal in September, took him in another direction – though not to the exclusion of the original premise.

Regarding the film’s theme of Native American exploitation, Montaño, speaking to podcaster and MMA fighter Miesha Tate, said she found hypocrisy in the inclusion of the nude scene.

“The film talks about the genocide of our people, right?” Montaño said. “We get exploited by the government. The UFC exploits their fighters.

“Now I’m not getting any kind of reimbursement from (Warrior Spirit). I’m exposed for free because I signed a contract. …”

Responding on the podcast “Throwing Down w/Renee and Miesha,” Dyksterhouse said on Tuesday that he believed the scene was not exploitative but rather was illustrative of a weight cut that landed Montaño in a Dallas hospital and led to the UFC’s stripping her of the title as a result.

During that scene, Montaño’s boyfriend holds up a towel between her and the camera as she steps on the scale. The towel is inadvertently lowered at one point, exposing a breast in a reflection from a mirror.

“To say it doesn’t connect with the narrative, I think that’s not true,” Dyksterhouse said.

Nonetheless, in a statement issued to mymmanews.com, he wrote:

“… We respect Nicco and have willingly gone forward and will take steps to blur the scene. We stand by the film and regret any issues this has caused …

“Throughout the rollout of Warrior Spirit, the goal has been to shed light around improving conditions for all UFC fighters, including weight cutting protocol, fighter pay, health insurance, and overall well-being.”

Montaño (4-3) won the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title by winning four consecutive fights (only one of those is reflected in her official record) en route to the championship of The Ultimate Fighter 26 on Dec. 1, 2017.

It was the UFC’s decision to make the TUF 26 winner its first women’s flyweight champion. But after her failure to make weight for the Shevchenko fight, the UFC stripped her of the title without pay.

Montaño has fought only once since, a loss by unanimous decision to Julianna Pena in July 2019. Injuries, a bout with COVID-19 and a concussion suffered in a car crash have led to canceled fights.

On July 30, Montaño failed to make weight for a bantamweight (135-pound) fight scheduled for the next night against Yanan Wu. The UFC cut her from its roster.

She told podcasters Tate and Renee Paquette that she hopes to hook on with another promotional company, likely at the featherweight limit of 145 pounds.

Since its Sept. 24 debut at the Albuquerque Film and Music Experience, “Warrior Spirit” has won several awards and generated discussion about dangerous weight cuts in the UFC and in MMA generally.

Dyksterhouse is also the producer of “The Proving Grounds,” a 2013 documentary tracing the development and rise of Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink Mixed Martial Arts Academy as a powerful entity in the sport.


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