You might have thought Cyborg vs. the UFC would end this way.
It’s clearly been brewing for quite some time. The former UFC women’s featherweight champion recently posted a video of her confronting Dana White backstage at UFC 240. Although it contained some highly debatable subtitles, it got across the point that Cyborg simply thought White repeatedly lied to her.
The fiasco came on the heels of a week full of disagreements because both sides felt slighted. Cyborg had laid out some interesting terms for a rematch with Amanda Nunes earlier this week. It was a fight White had previously said she didn’t want due to fear of losing.
She wanted White and Joe Rogan to publicly apologize for their past comments about her, and only then would she re-sign with the promotion. Cyborg also took issue with Rogan’s UFC 240 commentary, something Jon Anik vehemently defended earlier today.
A Tired Narrative?
It all led to it looking like Cyborg and the UFC were headed for a messy split. A recent interview with White from the UFC’s YouTube seems to confirm that.
In it, the topic of White once calling Cyborg, ‘Wanderlei Silva in a dress and heels’ of course arose. For some reason, the fact that Silva tested positive for steroids shortly thereafter has some bearing on the current situation with Cyborg and White’s comparison. White claimed it was an old clip being taken out of context to serve a narrative.
And that narrative is the ‘fact’ Cyborg does not want to fight Nunes:
“I said to the media, ‘Did you see her at the MMA awards? Did you not think she was on steroids?’ I was saying she looked like Wanderlei Silva in a dress, what I meant was she had the same physique as Wanderlei Silva. And one month later, Wanderlei Silva evades a drug test and gets a three-year suspension from the sport.
“For hacks to throw up a 15-second clip of me saying, that’s completely taken out of context. And we talked about this before she came into the UFC. And let’s not forget we signed her in 2015 to a deal with Invicta then brought her into the UFC. In 2015. It’s 2019 – where is this narrative coming from?
“It is an absolute smokescreen to not fight Amanda Nunes.”
Issues With Steroids
White pointed out the UFC’s stance that they had trouble with fighters wanting to face Cyborg due to her past steroid use:
“So some of the problems we face with Cyborg – what’s everybody’s forgetting here, is that when she got busted for steroids, most of these women didn’t want to fight her, to the point where Germaine de Randamie, who was the 145-pound champion, basically came out with a statement saying, ‘This is about principle. This woman doesn’t represent what the sport is about.'”
It’s questionable if de Randamie’s unwillingness to fight Cyborg was met with as much support as it is now that it’s being used to support a different narrative. Either way, White told his side of the story concerning both her rematch and her first fight with Nunes:
“I tried to make the rematch. Cyborg can say whatever she wants. I have this all documented. We have this all documented. This is a real company, and we document everything that we have. She wanted to fight Cindy Dandois or Pam Sorensen, and I told Cyborg, we don’t make those fights here. That’s not what we’re doing.
“You’re going to fight Amanda Nunes, and it was a huge back-and-forth that went on forever, and then finally she agreed. And she ended up fighting Amanda Nunes and we saw how that fight ended.”
Out Of “The Cyborg Business”
White then said the UFC will not match any of the offers Cyborg will undoubtedly receive from other fight promotions. He took a hardline stance by saying the UFC would simply ‘get out of the Cyborg business’ and he could have his lawyer draft up the paperwork this week:
“Message received, I get it, I’m gonna release her from her contract. I will not match any other offers. She is free and clear to go to Bellator or any of these other organizations and fight these easy fights that she wants. Done. Done deal. I will literally today have my lawyer draft a letter to her team that she is free and clear to go wherever she wants. We’re out of the Cyborg business.”
Cyborg is expected to receive a lucrative string of offers from nearly every other competing outfit, and for good reason. She’s one of the biggest stars in the sport right now, but for the reasons listed above, the UFC doesn’t seem to want to do business with her.
When you mess with White, it doesn’t usually end well. Now, Cyborg should have no shortage of suitors on the open market, and maybe she’ll find the kind of treatment she’s looking for. But no one should be surprised their bubbling feud came to a head like it has this Friday afternoon.