Recently, Cris Cyborg’s long-running beef with the UFC has taken center stage in mixed martial arts (MMA) news. Jon Anik has now addressed his role in it.
Former UFC champ Cyborg outlasted previously undefeated Felicia Spencer in the co-main event of last weekend’s UFC 240 from Edmonton. The win was decent enough in that she dominated the action. She also got back into the win column after losing the belt in her previous bout. Perhaps more importantly, however, the fight was the last on her UFC contract.
So the discussion immediately shifted to if Cyborg would re-sign with the UFC or not. Indeed, her feud with UFC President Dana White and Octagon commentator Joe Rogan dated back to long before she ever joined the UFC. She launched an all-out campaign against the two prominent MMA personalities, demanding a public apology from both. In terms of White, she posted a video of her asking him why he lied about her wanting the Nunes rematch. The clip did include some questionable editing, but the seeds of discord were sown.
Anik Addresses Critics
So the beef is centered around those two, yet Anik was caught up in the commentary criticism. Rogan’s broadcast booth partner responded to those criticisms on his official Instagram account today. Anik said he gave Cyborg her due. He also wanted to push the narrative of Spencer’s toughness against one of WMMA’s all-time greats:
“I have heard the criticism about the commentary in the Cris Cyborg-Felicia Spencer fight and felt the need to address it publicly, as we consider all feedback seriously. In this instance, I would respectfully disagree with those who suggest there was any bias or lack of objectivity. We repeatedly gave Cyborg credit for her striking and execution. I even suggested she deserved a 10-8 margin in Round 3.
“That said, a big part of the narrative in the fight was Spencer. Sure, she lost all three rounds. But she deserved credit for her ability to absorb punishment and keep pressing forward, her ability to rise to the occasion in just her 8th pro fight against an all-time great like Cyborg. Many fighters would’ve crumbled under that Cyborg pressure and she did not. Thus, she was given credit on the broadcast.”
Spencer’s toughness was no doubt on full display at UFC 240. going the distance with a legend may also be an accomplishment in only her eighth pro fight. But to even allow it to raise a single question about the fairness of the call when Cyborg was dominating the strikes landed just is not a good look. Spencer deserved her credit, yet a former champion who was returning with tons of question marks does as well. Many would argue Cyborg more so deserved the attention as the winner.
No Bias At All?
Instead, it pushed the narrative that the UFC is simply against a woman who could be a huge star for them. In truth, it’s hard to find a ton of concrete evidence arguing against that notion. Anik stuck to his stance that he is not biased and has never been instructed to be by the UFC.
He closed by saying he has a good relationship with Cyborg and hopes she does indeed return to the Octagon for a rematch against Nunes:
“But the notion that there is some promotional initiative to push one fighter over another is patently false and absurd. I have called 140+ shows for the UFC. Never once have I been given a directive the this. Personally, I have always had a great relationship with Cyborg and I hope Cris will read this and understand it is said with 100% veracity. I am hopeful she will re-sign with the UFC and get the rematch with Amanda Nunes.”
Was Cyborg vs. Spencer’s commentary biased at UFC 240 or not?