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How Cris Cyborg and Tito Ortiz Missed the Boat

Just a few weeks ago it looked like Cris Cyborg and her manager Tito Ortiz had a strategy to boost her stock and make her irresistible to the UFC, thus setting the stage for future contract negotiations and likely setting up a huge payday for the Brazilian as a UFC headlining PPV star.

Their strategy became clear from the moment they held their 'infamous' press conference; to create a narrative based entirely on Ronda Rousey in the hopes of capturing some of her media stardust.

Cris even rocked a 'Ronda' tee shirt as a nice touch. It was a clever strategy.

As UFC 157 arrived both Tito and Cyborg paid a visit to the Honda Center in Anaheim, but instead of being there to witness history and support WMMA as it turns another important page in its young history; their goal seemed much less selfless than that. Indeed, their only goal for witnessing this historic fight was to solicit media interviews in a vain attempt to capture more of Ronda's stardust.

It was a savvy strategy but nothing could have prepared them for what would happen later that night.

The results of UFC 157 would be so overwhelming that the post fight press coverage would push Tito's media strategy into a dark corner of irrelevance, as thousands of articles would flood the Internet mentioning just 2 names......Ronda and Liz.

Cyborg's name was nowhere to be found after this historic night.

Adding insult to injury.......Ronda's stock has soared into the stratosphere which must make Cris and Tito green with envy.

Ronda's manager (Darin Harvey) reports they've signed with the elite talent agency William Morris Endeavor. There are also reports that they're in talks about possible endorsements, apparel lines and cosmetic lines. There are also reports that they've been offered a movie role in a future Hunger Games sequel, among other things.

The PPV estimates for UFC 157 are 400k-500k which means that Rousey is likely to see a huge PPV payday for this fight since it's common knowledge that headliners get a PPV percentage in addition to their base salaries. It also means that Ronda's bargaining power for future contract negotiations has increased significantly from the days before UFC 157 happened.

Cris and Tito are likely regretting their missed opportunity.

As Dana White recently said: "This was the most successful fight ever, in the history of women's fighting." "Cyborg missed the boat. You over-negotiate sometimes."

Even if Ronda loses in the future her star is clearly on the rise and her stock is well protected.

After all it's not her championship belt that made her a breakout star with the UFC, it's her unique style of fighting and attitude that has made her a hit with fans.

Cris Cyborg could have been a part of this good fortune but she and Tito chose a short-sighted strategy that will see her fight for relative chump change at Invicta.

No matter how successful she is for Invicta she'll never be paid the type of money that a UFC headliner is paid for a PPV deal that has a buyrate near 500k. Not even in the same universe.

The future looks bleak for Cyborg...

Cris is scheduled to fight Ediane Gomes in April but a victory over Gomes will mean little to Cyborg's negotiating position since Ronda Rousey already has a submission victory against this same woman and she did it in just 25 seconds.

In fact, if Cyborg can't dispose of Gomes in less than 1 minute the narrative of her fight will be that she can't do what Rousey did. Her negotiating position won't be improved with a fight like that.

Even if Cyborg defeats Gomes by knockout she'll face yet another serious problem for her negotiating position; her next opponent will be Marloes Coenen, a BJJ Blackbelt whose star power was tainted when she was outgrappled and dominated for 4 rounds by Liz Carmouche. Coenen was later outgrappled and submitted by Miesha Tate and saw her stock go down even further before finally being cut by Zuffa.

Beating Coenen and getting the Invicta title will not make Cris irresistible to the UFC.


Another factor that doesn't bode well for the Brazilian slugger is that despite living in America for a couple years now, she is unable to speak fluent or intelligible English and doesn't seem inclined to learn it anytime soon. This certainly won't help her become a breakout star or land any major endorsement deals.

Add to this fact her recent failed drug test (where she tested positive for Steroids) and it's unlikely that any major companies will want to offer her a high profile sponsorship deal.

The only conclusion is that Tito and Cris likely miscalculated their negotiating position and have clearly wound up with the short end of the stick in the aftermath of UFC 157.

Cris Cyborg has likely missed the boat and it's not just Dana White who believes that.

Perhaps she should buy a fishing pole and fish from the pier.

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