Cris Cyborg and UFC President Dana White continue to be at odds.
The former UFC women’s featherweight champion recently got back into the win column by defeating Felicia Spencer in the co-main event of UFC 240. But Cyborg was immediately headed for a fight with much, much more drama involved.
Her win over Spencer was the last fight on her UFC contract. The topic of whether or not she would re-sign with the UFC quickly became one of the hottest in all of MMA. Her highly-publicized spat with the UFC was truly kicked into overdrive when she demanded a public apology from White during an interview with Ariel Helwani this week:
“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.”
According to Cyborg, said confronted White after her win at UFC 240. The conversation centered around why he had supposedly lied about her not wanting a rematch with current champion Amanda Nunes:
“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.”
She claimed she wants the rematch with ‘The Lioness’ while White has repeatedly said she does not. Cyborg said cameras caught the exchange with the polarizing UFC President, and she wasn’t lying. She released the full exchange on YouTube earlier today. In it, Cyborg can be heard asking White he has been lying about the fight (via MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin):
“You know I text you for the rematch. You know this. Stop lying about it. What you are saying that I don’t want to fight. You know that I want to fight and I’m not scared.”
White replied by saying he had not been lying. He suggested there may have been a disconnect between her management’s words and what Cyborg actually wants:
“I’m not lying about it,” White said. “I don’t know if you know how it played out with management and whatever but we want to do that fight. I want to do that fight right now. We’ll get it done.”
White has claimed he wants to book Nunes vs. Cyborg II. He should, as it’s far and away the biggest fight in women’s MMA right now. But it also begs the question as to why White continues to trounce Cyborg in the public eye, something he’s done for years now. He even went as far as to say he ‘understood’ why Cyborg wouldn’t want to fight a killer like Nunes again and further damage her rep.
No Need To Trash Cyborg
True, Cyborg’s knockout loss to Nunes certainly took away her aura of invincibility. But there’s also no shame in losing to a woman who could be approaching the greatest of all-time status for all MMA fighters. Cyborg was and still very much is one of the most popular competitors in the world.
That is why it’s so surprising that the UFC doesn’t stop disparaging a woman they could be promoting for their own gain. In that sense, they seem to be shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. For now, Cyborg has a three-month window in which to negotiate with the UFC on a new deal. After that, she will be free to negotiate with other promotions, of which there would be many if she indeed reached the open market.
She’s stated she would also be willing to sign a one-off deal to fight Nunes again, signaling she’s not running from the bout. This mess continues to get messier, and the posting of Cyborg and White’s backstage confrontation most likely won’t help matters.
You can watch it in its entirety here: