2020 Tokyo Olympics: UFC Legend Daniel Cormier Says We Shouldn’t Judge Simone Biles’ Withdrawals

by Amy Myers

Since Simone Biles announced that she was withdrawing from some events in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, some pretty big names have come to her defense. Martial arts and wrestling athletes that regularly handle high levels of stress and pain support the 24-year-old gold medalist’s decision. Now, stepping into the ring is UFC heavyweight legend Daniel Cormier with his take on the situation.

When the news of Biles’ decision broke, the world seemed to look towards fellow athletes and Olympians for their reactions in order to judge the gold medalist. Of course, like every big debate, two camps developed. The side that supported Biles commended her for prioritizing her mental health and safety over the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, the side that opposed her withdrawals believed she shouldn’t have quit on her team and her country.

However, Cormier shared that the only person that knew what was right for Simone was herself.

“I truly believe that it’s such a difficult thing,” the heavyweight champ told MMA Fighting. “Because in a sport like wrestling, you don’t compete it’s like you kind of just quit. But I believe that when you’re twisting in the air, right? Like jumping and flying through the air, a mishap is so damaging or could be so damaging, you really have to reconsider.”

Cormier referred to the condition called “twisties,” in which a gymnast loses the ability to track the body’s movements while in mid-air. Biles admitted to fans that this was the reason why she withdrew from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics events.

“The reality is the only person that has to deal with the opinion and the fallout of this is Simone Biles.”

Former Olympic Wrestler Won’t Judge the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Gymnast

Like Simone Biles, Daniel Cormier dealt with a lot of stressors during his Olympic career. Cormier came in fourth place at the 2004 Athens Olympics. At the following 2008 Games, the heavyweight wrestler had to drop out. Medical teams rushed him to the hospital for kidney failure due to extreme weight cutting. Although he hasn’t received any Olympic medals, Cormier is only the second fighter in UFC history to become champion in two divisions–lightweight and heavyweight.

Considering all of Cormier’s successes and tragedies, there might be no better athlete to weigh in on the conversation than him. In his interview with MMA Fighting, Cormier explained that being the best comes with a huge amount of stress. He also stated that as the world forgets about Biles’ decision, it will always stay with her.

“So we can’t judge her decision. We’re in no position to say she’s right or wrong,” Cormier shared. “Because ultimately she’s the one that’s going to have to live with it long after we’ve all moved onto the next football season, the next basketball season, the next baseball season and everything else. She’ll still deal with her not being mentally in a place where she can compete and that’s what it is. I don’t have as much of an opinion on it because the reality is it’s not my decision.”