Dana White was more than willing to let the world know how he really feels about Cris Cyborg following the most recent edition of the Contender Series in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas, NV — Following the seventh installment of this year’s Contender Series, Dana White was not a happy man. He was critical of the judges, in a couple of fights, including the Lucrezia Ria vs. Marilla Santos split decision.
He was also still livid with the Cris Cyborg situation, when the subject was brought up by reporters. In fact, talk of Cyborg made up the bulk of White’s post-fight press scrum Tuesday, which had Cageside Press and other outlets in attendance.
“Dealing with her has been a nightmare the entire time she’s been here,” White said in regards to the former UFC women’s featherweight champ, who recently fought out her contract with the promotion. “And I said the other day in the interview with Laura [Sanko], there was a lot of controversy bringing her in in the first place, at that time. And, when I did the interview with Laura, we really didn’t mention the whole, her lying on the video about what I said. [Her] Production Team lying about what I said on the video.”
The video in question was released by Cyborg’s team, showing a confrontation between her and the UFC President, following UFC 240 in Edmonton. However, White was misquoted in the edited video, something Cyborg subsequently apologized for.
“It’s been a bad experience dealing with Cyborg from day one,” White said. “We brought her in after she tested positive for steroids, and got done with that. We made her a clean athlete, with the best drug testing policy in all of sports, the entire time she was here.”
Tackling her comments from UFC 240 about her promoter damaging her brand, White added that “when she talks about her legacy and her brand, nothing’s better than knowing she’s a clean athlete after testing positive for steroids and all the negativity that surrounded her about being a dirty athlete. We bring her in, do all this stuff, and she was just never happy. Never happy, complaining about everything, she was a nightmare to deal with, and at the end of the day, she knows, I know, Amanda Nunes knows, I tried to make that Nunes fight.”
That has been the other point of contention between White and Cyborg. Cyborg asked for a rematch with Nunes after losing the featherweight title to her last December. White has claimed he tried to make the fight, but that Cyborg turned it down. Which ever side you choose to believe, White is sticking to his guns. “She doesn’t want it. She doesn’t want it, she gets mad when I say I don’t blame her, I don’t blame her! Because if that was Amanda Nunes last Saturday, I think everybody can agree what would have happened in that fight.”
Last Saturday, former Invicta FC champ Felicia Spencer gave Cyborg a very tough test — although the Brazilian took home a unanimous decision win.
“She’s unhappy, we’re unhappy, she lies and does that thing, see you later. Have a nice life,” White finished. For the moment.
The subject of the doctored video, however, was clearly still under White’s skin. “Whether you like me or you don’t like me, whatever your opinion of me is doesn’t matter, what she did was dirty,” he exlaimed. “Dirty, what she did with the video and all this other stuff.”
“Meanwhile she’s running around saying she’d better get an apology from me? Yeah. I got an apology from her. Because what she did is one of the dirtiest things.” And White believes the apology from Cyborg did not come lightly. “It had to kill her to apologize to me. Kill her to do it. But what she did is one of the dirtiest things you can do to somebody. That’s why she apologized.”
White, in the past, had suggested he’d make the Cyborg-Nunes fight on a one-fight deal for Cyborg. Of course, that would come with a champion’s clause, meaning if Cyborg won, she’d remain contracted to the UFC. However, Tuesday, White claimed that even on a one-fight deal, it wouldn’t happen. “She doesn’t want to fight Amanda Nunes. You guys and the fans need to get it into your head, that she did everything she could, including doctoring a video, lying about what I said, to avoid fighting Amnada Nunes. The fans, and the media, need to get it through your heads that all that sh*t that was going on, ‘oh he was bullying me!’ — bullying you? You’ve been here for five years, what are you talking about? You’re talking about stuff that happened five years ago. That was five years ago. It was all a smokescreen to not fight Amanda Nunes. She doesn’t want that fight.”
Never mind Cyborg parading around in t-shirts promoting a second fight with Nunes. Apparently a smoke screen as well, although White didn’t touch on that. What he did touch on was his history of chilly relations with talent. “I’ve had problems over the last twenty years with plenty of fighters. From Tito Ortiz to Mark Hunt, to God knows who else.” The difference is, said White, that in other cases, “we always made fights.” Not so with Cris Cyborg. “She doesn’t want to fight Amanda Nunes.”
As to the future of the 145lb division, something White had committed to just a week or so ago, it’s still in the cards. “Amanda’s going to defend both titles just like she always did. Cyborg leaving doesn’t matter. We know who the best fighter in the world at 135 and 145 is. It’s Amanda Nunes.’ Former champ Cyborg, said White, “had the opportunity for her legacy, Cyborg’s legacy, to get that fight again. She doesn’t want it. So we’re going to continue to bring in the best fighters in the world and put them up against Amanda Nunes at 135 and 145lbs, and she will continue to build her legacy.”
Asked if he had any regrets in how he’d dealt with his now-former star, White said he did not. “The one thing I’m glad I did, is I pushed her to make sure she fought Amanda Nunes. Because she didn’t want that fight the first time, let alone the second time.” Instead, she wanted “Cindy Dandois, or Pam Sorenson. Those were the fights she wanted, and she turned down Amanda Nunes. And I said that’s not going to happen. So we kept pushing and pushing and pushing, and finally we got her to take the Amanda Nunes fight. I’m happy that I did that, other than that I wouldn’t change one thing in the last five years with Cyborg.”
For those who want to call White’s bluff, “if I’m lying, she can call tomorrow, and we’ll make that fight,” he claimed. “She will not call tomorrow, and that fight will not be made, because she does not want to fight Amanda Nunes.”
“The fact is, all of this was said and done to avoid fighting Amanda Nunes, and so she could walk away and look like ‘aww, they bullied me,’ and this and that,” the UFC President added. “Doctoring the video that they doctored, and lying, and all the things they’ve done leading up to here.”
“Cyborg likes to play that she’s this really nice person, and she’s being bullied, and all this other bullsh*t,” he finished. Although he would clarify one point:
“I don’t think [Cyborg]’s afraid to fight Amanda Nunes,” White stated. “She doesn’t want to lose again. There’s a difference between being afraid to fight somebody [and being afraid to lose]. Cyborg’s been fighting her whole adult life.”
“I’m not saying she’s afraid to fight. Being afraid to fight, and knowing that you’re going to lose, are two different things.”
In case you missed it, through all the Cyborg talk, there was an episode of the Contender Series Tuesday. Three contracts were awarded, to Omar Morales, Herbert Burns, and Andre Muniz. White was also receptive to the idea of fighters facing off after weigh-ins, something not currently done for the show.
“Sure. Sure we can do that. Done. Next week,” White said. “All this stuff here is sort of a work in progress.” There was also an update on The Ultimate Fighter. “We’re looking for where this thing ends up. In a perfect world, I want The Ultimate Fighter back on FX. In a perfect world, that would be awesome. Because FX is incredible.”
FX is owned by Walt Disney Co., parent company of ESPN, the UFC’s current home. So the possibility is not entirely off the table.