Scott Coker believes Bellator will re-sign Cris Cyborg despite looming free agency, while Jose Aldo thinks Francis Ngannou shot himself in the foot by choosing boxing over MMA. That and more in your Sunday MMA Quick Hits!
Coker Expects Cris Cyborg to Return to Bellator MMA
While negotiations are ongoing, Bellator CEO Scott Coker expects Cris Cyborg to return to the fold, where she reigns as women’s featherweight champ. That despite what Cat Zingano has said about her fight with Leah McCourt at Friday’s Bellator 293 originally being for a title.
“I’m not sure what Cat heard because I didn’t talk to her directly, but from the company’s standpoint this was always a three-round elimination fight for the No. 1 contender spot,” Coker told media outlets including Cageside Press backstage at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. “Cris Cyborg is still the current champion, we still have her under contract right now. We have her under a matching rights provision, we are negotiating with her, and we expect to bring her back at some point this year.”
“Now, it’s going to be a great fight. Hopefully we’ll put this together with Cris in the next couple of weeks and her and Cat can work on a big fight for the two of them to fight for Cris’ belt. Somewhere along the line between my fight team and Ed Soares and the dialogue, I told them, ‘I don’t know where this got lost,’ but from our perspective it’s always been a three-round elimination fight.”
Zingano doubled down later in the night, saying both herself and McCourt had initially been presented a title fight.
Jose Aldo Says Francis Ngannou “Shot Himself in the Foot” by Choosing Boxing Over UFC
Former UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo is not a fan of Francis Ngannou choosing boxing over MMA.
Aldo, who took part in Gamebred Boxing 4 on Saturday, gave his take on the Ngannou-UFC negotiations (which eventually failed) ahead of his bout with Jeremy Stephens.
“With all humbleness, I think Ngannou shot himself in the foot,” said Aldo during a recent episode of the Trocação Franca podcast (h/t MMA Fighting). “He had everything to sign a great contract, the biggest in heavyweight, but this desire to be a boxing champion or to fight in boxing… People see the top of the boxing pyramid getting paid big numbers but forget that the lower part is paid so little. I think the UFC has bigger salaries than boxing.”
Bigger salaries than boxing? Certainly not at the highest level. But lower level UFC fighters, and mid-carders, often do make more money than their boxing counter-parts — not that it excuses some seriously low pay for those entering the promotion.
“I see Ngannou tripping about a fight with Tyson Fury, a champion, who heavyweights aim at but don’t come anywhere near. It’s like saying I wanna play soccer because they get paid million but forget only five percent gets paid millions, the rest make way below that,” Aldo continued. “People say that the UFC doesn’t pay that well, but it does. That’s why it’s the biggest organization. You can make money like [big] boxers can. Conor [McGregor], Ronda Rousey. People say women don’t make money and she’s made it, right?”
Tim Sylvia Signs with Slap Fighting Promotion
Eight years after being forced to retire from MMA after taking too much damage (discovered at least in part by an abnormal MRI), Tim Sylvia has decided to sign on with a Slap Fighting promotion.
At least it isn’t Dana White’s Power Slap. It is still, however, a very bad idea. Sylvia is expected to compete for SlapFight Championship on April 22.
His last attempt at fighting in MMA saw Sylvia weigh in at 371lbs for a super-heavyweight fight that was ultimately cancelled due to the aforementioned MRI.
An MRI result led Tim Sylvia to retire from MMA, because of the dangers of further damage. This is beyond a bad idea. Can @SlapFIGHTUSA confirm he'll be getting an up-to-date MRI clearing him?
— Jay Anders🎆n 🇨🇦 (@CageSideJay) March 30, 2023
RIZIN April Fool’s Joke Gives Us An Idea
RIZIN chief Nobuyuki Sakakibara stepping into the ring? April fools! However, a promoter fight (or promoter vs. promoter) sounds fun. Dana vs. Chatri? Coker vs. Sakakibara?
Just maybe leave Ray Sefo out of it, in the spirit of fairness. He probably smokes all of them in a round.
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) April 1, 2023