In fact, it could be getting a lot worse, and soon. The women’s MMA legend fought out her UFC contract by defeating Felicia Spencer at UFC 240. Yesterday, Cyborg laid out her own terms for her to return to the UFC. They included a public apology from UFC President Dana White, who has repeatedly downplayed his former champion in the media.
Perhaps more importantly, he once called her a “female version” of MMA great Wanderlei Silva. Cyborg claims his verbal abuse has led many to follow that trend on social media, even involving her family. She also brought up the fact that UFC Octagon commentator Joe Rogan had once claimed she possessed male genitalia. Cyborg insisted she wants both White and Rogan to apologize in public on this week’s ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.’ Only then she may return to the UFC:
“Of course, he has to apologize. I think he has family, he has kids. … I don’t know if he has a heart, but I think one thing he’s doing is not just touching me because he doesn’t like me. He’s touching the people around me, he’s touching my family. It’s not right.
“Public. It’s easy to say it in private like Joe Rogan did when there were no cameras. No, you want to talk about me, how I have a dick, you have to talk in public. You’re not a man, to me you’re not a man. If Joe Rogan a man, he will say I am sorry in public, not in my ear.”
Cyborg then posted some sobering video of what White and Rogan said. It also contained the statement that every woman deserved to work in an environment free of sexual harassment:
This situation is far from cooling down.
In fact, it appears to be heating up at a rapid pace. It’s also hard to deny Cyborg’s right to be angry with her employers. White has consistently bashed Cyborg in the media at seemingly every turn, a strange strategy for a popular fighter you’re supposed to be promoting. Cyborg already is a huge MMA name but could probably be a much bigger star had the UFC only backed her.
And that lies at the center of her concerns. Cyborg isn’t sure the UFC will ever truly work with her to build her brand. Coupled with the past verbal abuse she’s clearly not over, and we could have the recipe for a messy split here. That would have a huge impact on the longevity of the already-barren UFC women’s featherweight division.
Should Cyborg stay with the UFC – or is there too much baggage to overcome?