Barring any last minute change of heart or negotiations, it seems like Cris Cyborg’s days with the UFC are done, per promotion President Dana White.
It appears the UFC and Cris Cyborg have parted ways. Less than a week after defeating Felicia Spencer in an entertaining battle in Edmonton at UFC 240, UFC President Dana White has said in a new interview via the UFC’s Youtube channel that the promotion is “out of the Cyborg business.”
In the clip, White, who has had a frosty relationship with the featherweight star, said that “all this bullsh*t she’s putting out there, again, to avoid fighting Amanda Nunes. Message received. I get it. I’m going to release her from her contract. I will not match any offers. She is free and clear to go to Bellator or any of these other organizations an fight those easy fights she wants. Done. Done deal.”
He’s even willing to clear up any legal red tape, he said. “I will literally have my lawyer draft a letter to her team that she is free and clear to go where ever she wants. We’re out of the Cyborg business.”
To be clear, White is not exactly releasing Cyborg from her contract, which was up following the Spencer fight. However, it appears he’s willing to forgo an exclusive renegotiating period the UFC may have with the featherweight properly known as Cris Justino.
It’s also a bit of a 180 from White, who following UFC 240 seemed confident the UFC could get a deal done with Cyborg. Especially when he learned the ex-champ was gunning for a rematch with Amanda Nunes. Now, once again, he’s claiming Cyborg is ducking Nunes, who he has been promoting as the best female fighter ever. While he might be right about Nunes, the claim that Cyborg is avoiding Nunes seems unlikely, given she went to the trouble of having shirts made promoting the rematch just last week.
Cyborg (21-2, 1NC), for her part, addressed her relationship with White after UFC 240, saying that “he’s bullied me, bullied me on the internet. I’m suffering bullying everywhere because of this.” She specifically called White a liar in relation to his claim that she was scared to fight Nunes, and later released video of a confrontation between the two.
She also demanded an apology from both White and UFC commentator Joe Rogan, for comments they’d made about her in the past.
That video, or the apology demand, may or may not have led to today’s news, but in any case, it seems likely that Cris Cyborg has fought for the final time in the UFC. Which is a blow to their featherweight division, but a boon for Bellator should they pick her up. Cyborg was a star in Scott Coker’s Strikeforce, and Bellator MMA remains the only promotion outside Invicta FC with a legitimate 145lb weight class for women. The Professional Fighters League, currently airing on ESPN, might also be a dark horse candidate for Cyborg’s services, as they have a 155lb division, with both Kayla Harrison and Sarah Kaufman in the mix.
However, the toughest test outside the UFC for Cyborg is likely Bellator women’s featherweight champ Julia Budd. Time will tell if that’s the fight that eventually happens.