White: Cris Cyborg needs to fight at 135, then we’ll see

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Just over a year ago, Cris Cyborg's manager, UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, held an incoherent press conference, during which he spoke at length, at one point confusing the name of his client with that of UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. Later Cyborg stripped off her sweat shirt to reveal a tee reading “Ronda will be my b—-” and then weighed herself, declaring that the scale said 160. Ortiz then thanked the UFC for complying with his request that Cyborg be released from her contract, so the former Strikeforce Women's Featherweight Champion could sign with Invicta.


Shortly afterwards, a bemused and amused UFC president Dana White said she could have fought for both the UFC and Invicta.

“So we were going to sign her to a contract and we were going to have her fight in Invicta, which means we pay all the bills for her to fight in Invicta,” said White. “It would be under a UFC contract with all the perks and benefits of being a UFC fighter and would fight in Invicta.  So instead of doing that they chose to not do that and fight in Invicta. If you can make logic out of that whole f—king situation, you're a better man than I am.”

“We don't have a 145 pound division so we're going back and forth with these guys and this deal, so I called the girl Shannon Knapp who owns Invicta and said look if I do this deal with Cyborg and you give her fights over there, I'll pay the bills you put on the fights over there till I can figure out how this whole thing's going to go down.  She goes absolutely no problem, we'd love to do it.”

“The next thing I know they want out of the contract and then they sign with them.”

“Thanks Tito,” said White, laughing.

Ortiz repeatedly said that Cyborg could not make 135.

“I want to make sure as a manager to make the right decision for my fighters' future, health wise,” said her then manager. “I don't want her dying because of cutting too much weight, we've seen that happen before in college wrestling. I want to make sure that doesn't happen under the UFC, someone under my wing, under my name, I don't want that to happen.”

Ortiz also told MMAWeekly that her cardiologist said a drop to 135 could leave her infertile.

Since then Cris fought twice for Invicta, capturing their featherweight title. Last week Ortiz said he was stepping down as her manager, saying that personal differences with White were limiting his client's options.

On Friday, Justino released a statement to the media saying she planned to drop to 135, and retire Rousey.

“I am looking for a payday to retire you like I did Gina Carano,” said Justino. “But to show it’s not only about money, I challenge you to a fight – winner takes all.  Or better yet let’s fight for FREE. ANYTIME! ANYWHERE! Ask your daddy Dana to make it happen. 

“My English is not that great, so sorry if I was misunderstood. I didn’t literally mean I would die if I made 135. What I meant was that my doctor recommended that I did not fight the rest of my career at 135, which is what the UFC wanted.

I’m currently training to fight at 145 on March 28 and in early May. My team has hired a medical doctor to help me make 135. I plan to challenge and win the Invicta 135 Championship in the summer and challenge you, champion to champion, for your 135 belt in December.

Now I know critics will say 'I thought you said you would die if you made 135.' All I’m promising is that I will give 100 percent to try to get to 135 to make this plan happen. If I do, I will still listen to my doctor’s advice and fight no more than three times at 135: first to win the Invicta belt, the second time to kick your ass and the third time to kick your ass again so that the world can see it wasn’t luck. You can even have me tested every week up to the fight. That way you will not have an excuse after I kick your ass.”

At the UFC 170 post fight press conference, White was asked about the Justino fight.

“Like I told you guys the other day, I think the genius put her in a box – saying you will die if you make 135 pounds,” said White as transcribed by 5thRound. “That’s a pretty bold statement. She would probably have to make 135 pounds a couple times and fight and show that she’s healthy, and then we’ll see what happens.”

White was then told of Justino's plan to fight for the Invicta title over the summer.

“OK, I’m on it,” said White sarcastically. “I just said, she’s gotta fight. She’s gotta make weight a few times and she’s gotta fight. We’ll see what happens.

“There’s a lot of things that have to happen before we… first, we would have to come to a deal. She would have to fight and make 135 pounds somewhere else, and if she’s healthy, maybe we can do it.”

Rousey too was asked about fighting Cris Cyborg, on Fox Sports 1′s post-fight show.

“Of course I’m interested in her,” said Rousey. “But she’s the one that asked to be released by the UFC like the day after they announced out-of-competition drug testing. I’m not going anywhere. She knows where I’m at.”

So what do you think UG? Will be biggest fight in WMMA history ever happen? Rousey has perviously said she likes to do things in four year increments. She started MMA competition on 11/12/2010, which if adhered to perfectly, would put her retirement in Nov of this year, just a month shy of Justino's just stated desire to fight her in December.