Cris Cyborg is on incredibly thin ice with the UFC – and the feeling is mutual.
The former UFC women’s featherweight champion got back into the win column by outclassing Felicia Spencer (watch the highlights) in the co-main event of last week’s (Sat., July 27, 2019) UFC 240 from Edmonton. The win presumably put Cyborg in line for a rematch with current champion Amanda Nunes, a fight Dana White says he wants to book.
But there’s a lot of red tape to bypass for that to happen. Cyborg’s UFC contract just ran out, and she’s accused White of bullying and lying about her. The relationship appears strained at best; over at worst. Cyborg opened up on that dynamic during an appearance on today’s episode of ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.’ She said a lot would have to change for her to fight in the UFC again.
Never Wanted By The UFC
In fact, she believes she was only there because of fan pressure, not because White wanted her to be there:
“I think a lot of things have to fix and change for me to have more fights in the UFC. Everybody follow my career and knows how’s my struggle with UFC. I never start fight in UFC because they want me to be there. No. It’s the fans’ pressure. Because I have the opportunity to be in UFC because my fans put so much pressure wanting me be there. It’s not because Dana wanted me there. And because my fanbase, and because people love my fights, and because of this I have the opportunity.”
Damaging Her Brand
White recently said that Cyborg didn’t want to accept a rematch with Nunes after losing by knockout late last year. He even claimed to ‘understand why.’ But it’s that attitude that has Cyborg thinking the UFC does little besides damage her brand by lying about her. It’s far from a new occurrence as well, she said:
“But they don’t help me, all the time they try damage my brand, especially Dana White. And he’s the head of UFC. You look at UFC, who’s the face of UFC? Dana White. And he’s continue damage my brand, he did it a long time ago. Start when I was in Strikeforce. I don’t know what’s his problem. But he’s continue doing this. All the fans start to know who I am, they will see who’s the liar.”
Demanding An Apology
Based on that, Cyborg has some specific terms if she’s going to return to the UFC. She wants a public apology from White, whom she says has affected her family via ESPN.com:
“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.”
Cyborg said she saw White after UFC 240. When she did, she asked why he had lied about her:
“I looked him in the eyes and shook his hand and said ‘why are you lying?’ I texted your phone after the fight. I want my rematch.’ And then I said, ‘Why are you doing this?’ Why? He didn’t have words. There were a lot of cameras there, too.”
Nunes Rematch Still Possible
No matter who is telling the truth, Nunes vs. Cyborg II is the biggest potential match-up in women’s MMA. While it seems it’s quite far from becoming a reality, Cyborg did lay out how the fight could possibly happen. She wants the UFC to help her grow her brand, not damage it. With that said, she’s far from afraid of Nunes, however:
“If you don’t want to make the deal, one-fight deal – no extension. Not an extension, just the rematch, I don’t have any problem make the fight. Now if you want me to give me six fights, and then my brand no growing because I’m gonna fight on time per year. And then they no help my name growing – just damage. And this is no help for me, you know? It’s not very good. And after I talk to him, I didn’t know he was talking bad things about me before. ‘Ah, she’s afraid.’
“Man, I’m not afraid, I’m a fighter. You know, I born for this.”
So Cyborg wants to sign a one-fight deal to face Nunes if she can’t reach a full agreement with the UFC. That may sound like she wants to leave the promotion she feels has never backed her.
But not without fighting her rival one more time. This has the looks of a mess not soon to be resolved. Stay tuned.
Should the UFC show Cyborg respect and build her up rather than break her down?