Cris Cyborg and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have never really had a decent relationship. For years the promotion trashed Cyborg and put her down, claiming she was scared to fight Ronda Rousey. Dana White famously called her, “Wanderlei Silva in a dress,” among other things.
When UFC finally signed her, it put her in Invicta FC and forced her to cut to 140 pounds for two bouts before finally deciding to open a Featherweight division for her. But when Cyborg couldn’t fight on the specific date UFC wanted, it booked the division’s first championship fight without her.
We could go on-and-on detailing all the slights, real and imagined, that UFC threw Cyborg’s way. Suffice to say, the two sides just never saw eye-to-eye on pretty much anything, and that hasn’t changed even after Cyborg left UFC to fight for Bellator. Now, Cris is doing her best to raise awareness on how refreshing a change it is to fight for Scott Coker vs. Dana White.
Any fighter out there want to be a fighter and want to stay a star and don’t want to have to worry about the promoters trying to be all in the videos, all on the records, dancing...come to @bellatormma @SHOsports @ScottCoker #TheMoneyTeam @jonnybones @StephenEspinoza pic.twitter.com/RSP832VmZF— @criscyborg.com #Bellator259 (@criscyborg) April 3, 2021
“Any fighter out there want to be a fighter and want to stay a star and don’t want to have to worry about the promoters trying to be all in the videos, all on the records, dancing...come to Bellator!” Cyborg wrote on Twitter, tagging the UFC frustrated GOAT contender Jon Jones.
That bit about a promoter, “trying to be in all the videos dancing” is obviously a shot at Dana White, but is less obviously a hip-hop reference going back to the Source Awards in 1995 when Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight took a shot at Puff Daddy, saying, “Any artist out there that want to be an artist and stay a star, and don’t have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos, all on the record, dancing … come to Death Row!”
Sweet reference, yo! And fortunately for fighters, Bellator’s Scott Coker is definitely less evil than Suge Knight (and less of an attention hound than Diddy or Dana).
Cyborg never hesitates to punk Dana and UFC when she can. This week alone she’s been busy, trashing the new Venum UFC uniform deal and how UFC largely prevents fighters from seeking out their own sponsors.
My 1st fight in Bellator MMA I made 10x in fight night sponsorships what Reebok paid me for my last Ufc fight— @criscyborg.com #Bellator259 (@criscyborg) April 1, 2021
She was also in on the Jon Jones pay controversy, where “Bones” is angling to get a “super” fight payday for a “super” fight opponent like Francis Ngannou.
The problem is they don’t want to give a larger revenue share to the athletes because with the company going public it would change possible investors interest, there is an incentive to keeping an 80% revenue split with the athletes.— @criscyborg.com #Bellator259 (@criscyborg) March 31, 2021
But, our favorite recent move from Cyborg was when she parked her wrapped Cyborg RV outside of UFC APEX on the weekend Amanda Nunes was fighting at UFC 259, a not so subtle reminder that she won’t be pushed out of the conversation when it comes to top female fighters.
Cyborg went 2-0 in Bellator in 2020, stopping former Bellator Featherweight champ Julia Budd and submitting Arlene Blencowe. Her next fight comes on May 21, 2021, against former UFC fighter (and fellow UFC black sheep) Leslie Smith, who has gone 2-1 in Bellator herself since being released from her UFC contract amidst unionizing efforts.
It’s a battle of the malcontents! It should be a good one, and while they’ll definitely scrap it out in the cage we think they’ll have a lot of similar things to say about Bellator treatment vs. UFC treatment come fight week.