The UFC announced the start of a women's featherweight division, which Cris "Cyborg" Justino had been campaigning for years for. The only catch - they won't be including the most dominant 145er in history for the inaugural fight, much to the dismay of fans — and Cyborg herself.
Now, less than 24 hours after Cyborg went on a Twitter tirade accusing the UFC of years of disrespect, UFC President Dana White is speaking out.
"We're out to disrespect Cyborg?” White said to ESPN (h/t MMA Mania) early Wednesday morning. “She said she couldn't make 145 pounds in eight weeks. We offered her a second and a third fight. She turned them down. With everything I've got going on in my life, the last thing I'm thinking is, 'Hey, let's get together and disrespect Cyborg.'"
The thing is... White has disrespected Cyborg in the past. He famously compared her to Wanderlei Silva in a dress, called her deformed drug user and publicly laughed at inappropriate dick jokes aimed at her. All the while Cyborg has remained professional.
"We offered three fights, and she turned them all down," White continued. "This is a business. I had two girls who wanted to fight for the 145-pound title. This is the pros. If you play for the Patriots, you don't sit around and say, 'I don't feel like playing this weekend.' We brought her in because she said she could make 135 pounds. When she couldn't, the weight cut was too hard, we created the 145-pound division -- and she still doesn't want to fight.”
According to Cris she didn't turn down the fights, just the date (and Holly Holm admitted that she would not have taken the fight with Cyborg anyways). Considering the UFC gave Ronda Rousey a year to recover, and is currently allowing Robbie Lawler time to return to the Octagon following his loss - what difference would a month make? Especially since they already waited years to create the division.
But probably the most shocking (and heartbreaking) of all the things White could have said - she may not even get the next title shot.
"This is a business of opportunity,” White said. “When opportunity arises, you jump up and take it. If you don't, the bus is gone, and it passes you by. If Holly wins and becomes a champion, and that's the scenario [Rousey regains the title]? I guarantee people will want to see it."
So basically he's saying that if Holly wins, and Ronda wins, that will be the next fight and Cyborg will be left in the wings once again?
Why would the UFC not want one of the most dominant females in the sport to be their champion? She hasn't lost a fight in more than 10 years and has a massive (and loyal) following. She's proven she can keep up in the Octagon and has even nearly killed herself (twice) to make a weight the UFC forced upon her.
I can't think of anyone more worthy of the title than Cyborg. Didn't the UFC promote Ronda to UFC bantameight champon without even a fight? (granted she was the Strikeforce champion, which the UFC had bought out). But still...
Will you be watching the inaugural featherweight title fight? Or will you be boycotting like so many other fans and standing with Cyborg?