Manel Kape believes reigning UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo should show some gratitude rather than complaining so much about the promotion’s decision to introduce an interim title in his absence.
The two-time 125-pound champion recently ripped the UFC for putting an interim title up for grabs with Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France while he remains sidelined with an injury. In his response, Figueiredo called the situation “bulls***,” adding the UFC will need to pay him more if they want to keep him in the division.
As he prepares for his own fight at UFC 275 on Saturday, Kape fired back at Figueiredo.
“Let Deiveson complain,” Kape said during UFC 275 media day. “This man is ungrateful. UFC gave you everything, and right now, he starts complaining about the UFC make an interim belt – he should just be grateful for the opportunity he has. He was living in a village, living with cows.”
Kape anxiously awaits his chance to get into title contention in the UFC following a three-year run in RIZIN. He’s won his past two fights — both by knockout — and expects his upcoming bout against Rogerio Bontorin to serve as the next step toward competing for UFC gold.
“This is my opportunity because Rogerio, he’s a good opponent,” Kape said. “He fought Kai Kara [France] very well in the first round. Unfortunately, Kai Kara gave him a bad punch [to finish him], but I believe Rogerio is a better fighter than these guys, and I will prove that I’m a better fighter than Rogerio and make this fight easily.”
Kape’s fight with Bontorin came together after he was originally scheduled to compete back in April at UFC Vegas 52, but the 28-year-old flyweight was pulled from the card just days ahead of the event.
It turned out Kape’s absence was caused by a drug testing issue after he showed trace amounts of the long-term metabolite of the anabolic steroid dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT) — better known as the M3 metabolite in Turinabol — in a sample provided to the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
The M3 metabolite was famously involved in another high-profile case involving ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones after he also tested positive for the same substance numerous times in the past.
“I didn’t know what happened,” Kape explained. “I believe that it was a supplement I had been taking, the pre-workout [supplement], but this pre-workout I’ve been taking all my fight camps and never get popped. I know that this pre-workout was not certified from USADA, but I never think that can give me some [positive test].
“But the UFC allowed me to fight, USADA allowed me to fight. Just the Nevada Commission not allow me to fight, but they said the levels were very well. I didn’t cheat or anything. I’m 100 percent true on that. I’ve been tested all the time. Every time was negative.”
Despite USADA rules that will not punish an athlete testing positive under the 100 picograms-per-milliliter threshold for the M3 metabolite, the Nevada Athletic Commission does not maintain the same regulations. While Kape was under that limit, which is how he was cleared by the USADA and allowed to compete at UFC 275, the Nevada commission forced him to undergo an additional six months of testing before granting him a license in the state.
Kape always maintained his innocence, and he’s even managed to put a positive spin on the entire ordeal now that he’s competing on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view.
“The only thing that upset me was the fight that was cancelled,” Kape said. “At that time, I was very well, I was in shape, fast and everything was in the right way. But if you see the other side, this happened for some reason.
“I’m in Asia where I’m a big star here fighting on the main card in the UFC 275. Probably God has other plans for me, and this was the best plans.”