UFC president Dana White has said repeatedly that he has no ill will toward former UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg, but as of Friday, he is out of the Cyborg business. He promised to release her from any contractual obligations, including a matching period.
There was a lot of tension between White and Cyborg leading up to UFC 240 last weekend, where Cyborg defeated Felicia Spencer via a three-round unanimous decision. White had been pressing for Cyborg to rematch current UFC dual-division champion Amanda Nunes. It’s a fight he says he and Nunes want, but that Cyborg has been avoiding.
Cyborg has claimed over and over that White is lying about the situation. She claims that she wants the fight with Nunes, but couldn’t get the terms she wanted for her contract. After her victory over Spencer, Cyborg also talked about the disrespect she has felt from White, indicating that was a major factor in her fighting out her contract against Spencer instead of signing a new deal to fight Nunes.
Cyborg and her camp stepped up their pressure on the UFC and White in particular by posting a video showing White making fun of her to reporters and another showing her confronting White backstage at UFC 240 about the Nunes situation. The first video remains public via YouTube (and can be watched here), but the backstage confrontation video has been deleted from YouTube without comment.
In interviews, Cyborg has said she is still open to negotiating a new contract with the UFC, but White appeared to slam the door on that idea on Friday, saying in an interview with Lauro Sanko that was released by the UFC that he is giving up his rights to match offers from other promoters and that she is free and clear to walk away from the UFC.
“All this other bulls—t she’s putting out there, again, to avoid fighting Amanda Nunes. Message received, I get it. I’m going to release her from her contract. I will not match any 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,” White said on Friday.
“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.”
White reiterated that he doesn’t have hatred for Cyborg, but did call her camps moves in the past few days “a bad strategy.”
“I don’t hate Cyborg and I’m not trying to destroy Cyborg, all this craziness that she’s talking,” White continued. “You know how many fighters I’ve dealt with over the years, people that I really didn’t like like Tito [Ortiz]? Tito doesn’t like me and I don’t like Tito… but we still got fights done. We still did business.”
“But this is a completely different animal than anything I’ve dealt with before. This is a woman that doesn’t want to fight the champion, no matter what she says, and I am giving up my rights to her contract, to matching her contract, anything. I’m giving it up. You’re not being bullied. I’m letting you go.”
UFC president Dana White says he is releasing Cris Cyborg from any contractual obligations
(Courtesy of UFC)