Cris Cyborg Santos Parts Ways with UFC, Says Hello to Invicta FC

February 16, 2013
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Cris Cyborg SantosUFC president Dana White confirmed just a couple of days ago that he and his promotion were done dealing with Cris “Cyborg” Santos, but on Friday, we learned just what is next for the former Strikeforce featherweight champion.

Cyborg is heading to Invicta FC, where she will immediately jump into the mix at 145 pounds as one of the promotion’s top contenders.

Her first fight is already set, as she returns from more than a year on the sidelines, serving out a 12-month suspension after testing positive for steroids following her last fight. Cyborg will square off with fellow Brazilian and two-time Invicta veteran Ediane Gomes at Invicta FC 5 on April 5 in Kansas City.

Cyborg and her manager, UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, announced her new home at a Friday press conference.

The winner of the match-up between Cyborg and Gomes will square off with Marloes Coenen at Invicta FC 6, on a date to be announced.

White said the UFC was prepared to keep Cyborg under contract after they assimilated the roster of Strikeforce fighters, but couldn’t come to a reasonable agreement that satisfied both the promotion and Cyborg.

The UFC has no 145-pound women’s division, and was unwilling to have its 135-pound champion, Ronda Rousey, fight outside of her weight class any time soon. Cyborg was unwilling to make the drop to 135 pounds.

White was still willing to keep her under contract and find fights for her outside of the organization, likely with Invicta, but that didn’t sit well either her or Ortiz.

“UFC wanted to sign a huge deal with Cris Cyborg, but they wanted to stick her over in Invicta. It didn’t make sense to me,” Ortiz told Inside MMA recently.

“I talked to Cyborg time and time again, asked her and asked her. She said I would love to do a three-fight deal; fourth fight would be against Ronda. Let’s get it done at 140, not be a fight for the 135-pound championship.”

That wasn’t going to happen, so Ortiz asked the UFC for Cyborg to be released from her existing Zuffa contract.

Now, she’ll go directly over to Invicta without the UFC acting as a middleman.

Ortiz said that the fight with Rousey will happen down the road.

“Cris Cyborg will dominate. The fight with her and Ronda, this fight will happen in the future,” declared Ortiz. “Ronda, my client will be coming after you. She’s one of the most dominating competitors in mixed martial arts today.”

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  • Mark McDowall

    Good!! Invicta is doing things the right way and is building a true womans fight league. The UFC should take notes and not put all their eggs in 1 basket.

    • kennybro

      yes. i’m really hoping invicta continues to do better and better. it’s where women should want to fight. i know ufc is giving women’s mma more exposure, but i think invicta is better for the sport.

    • Advance*

      How is the UFC not doing it the right way? They added one weight class and they’ll take it from there. It’s not like they haven’t signed other women or announced other fights. If it turns out to be a complete failure then they’re not in too deep. I don’t understand what people want from them. Should they start out with all women cards?

      • Mark McDowall

        Up until a few weeks ago Rousey and Carmouche were the ONLY fighters who were under UFC contracts. They are putting all their eggs in the Rousey basket.

        Yes they added 1 weight class, but why only 1? There are plenty of GREAT 125 and 145lb women fighters out there. Cyborg being one of them, again they started an entire division around 1 person. They should have partnered up with/bought out Invicta to start a TRUE womens division. Up until Carmouche took the fight…Rousey was the ONLY female fighter under contract. Im sorry but you can’t form a division around 1 person. What happens if Carmouche wins on Saturday? I guarantee you, there will be no where near as much hype around the womens division as there is right now. They will be relegated to FX cards until it folds.

  • Advance*

    I’m trying to figure out the logic here. Tito said himself that the UFC offered her a huge deal and would give her a few fights in Invicta. So why decline that just to go sign with Invicta? I don’t see how they can be paying her more money. Plus if the goal is to ultimately fight Ronda then this just seems like a really roundabout way. I don’t know I want to assume there’s a good reason for this…but then again Tito Ortiz is her manager

    • Oswald Cobblepott

      Cyborg and Tito are retarded these dudes went to the same league for less money.

      • Christopher Williams

        Point is why let the UFC take a cut from her Invicta pay when she can sign with Invicta directly and the UFC would get 0%.

        • drkdisciple

          the ufc is offering her a “huge deal” why should she care what cut they are getting from invicta? I seriously doubt invicta is paying her more then what the ufc offered!!!

    • UFC controls a lot of what it’s fighters who are independent contractors ability to utilize certain companies as sponsors. Not to mention they use their images and likeness but if a fighter wants to use their own image in a non sanctioned video game then they come down on them hard. It was a main factor of the fallout with people like Tito, Randy, BJ etc. so why have the UFC be a middle man if they are not being her number one sponsor like they did with Jon Jones. Plus how much image repairing would they do for Cyborg when Ronda is there “Gina” poster girl.

    • Jus Sayin

      We really dont know what stipulations were in her contract with UFC. Also, UFC would have been the middle man while she waits for them to create a 145 division..IF that even happens. Having said that, Invicta is a women’s organization. Why not just cut the middle man out and get a new contract? Having said all that, UFC isn’t really looking out for her best interest anyhow, with Dana blatantly disrespecting her. This decision makes a lot of sense to me. Just my humble 2

  • Tru

    That press conference was hilarious. I don’t think I have ever seen someone use a scale during a press conference lol

  • Although things didn’t work out with UFC I hope Cyborg gets some big fights still. She’s still a scary women (roid jokes aside) And I’m curious to see who can beat her and in what fashion. (Minus the submission via double knee bar in her first pro fight)



  • Stefano ‘Zwonimir’ Sega Nogaro

    she’s doing the right choice … Invicta now is the best for women, UFC has only a BW division to showcase Ronda and no more …

    Invicta FC 5 will be one of the best and most stacked card in all 2013 for MMA …

  • Bendo’s Abs

    I guess Tito Ortiz still has a grudge with the UFC. The UFC and Cyborg could’ve worked out a deal where she could fight in Invicta with the UFC making money by loaning Cyborg to Invicta but Tito refused, get her release and signed with Invicta anyway. I’m sure Dana White won’t forget this.

  • alanpeart

    Tito is a deluded narcissist and he and Cyborg belong together.

  • MuayThaiFood

    Don’t let the door hit you in the balls on your way out.

  • MuayThaiFood

    Doesn’t make sense to Tito to sign a huge deal and send her to Invicta yet it makes perfect sense for him to push for a 4 fight deal in the UFC that doesn’t have anyone for her to fight at 145. So, assuming that they can find 3 women who want to fight her at a catch weight with no title implications she will, for her grand finale, fight RR at 140 with no title on the line. Wow, Tito, I wonder why other high profile fighters aren’t knocking down your door to manage them.