Although the UFC is only offering a bantamweight division for women, they were still willing to keep former Strikeforce featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (Pictured) under contract while paying her to fight for Invicta FC.
However, instead of agreeing to the deal – which would have afforded the 27-year-old the countless benefits of being employed by the planet’s premier mixed martial arts promotion, a larger paycheck and medical insurance – Cyborg, under the advisement of manager Tito Ortiz, requested her release from the UFC so she could sign with Invicta straight out.
Okay, so what pieces to the puzzle are we missing here? Why does this move make sense? UFC President Dana White is just as confused as the rest of the MMA world.
“We don’t have a 145-pound division, so we’re going back and forth with these guys in the deal,” White shared following Saturday’s press conference in England. “So I called the girl Shannon Knapp, who owns Invicta, I said, ‘Listen, if I do this deal with Cyborg, can you give her fights over there? I’ll pay the bills and you put on some fights over there ’til I can figure out how this whole thing is going to go down?’ She said, ‘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 her. Thanks, Tito.”
Cyborg instantly became Invicta’s biggest superstar the second she signed on the dotted line. The Brazilian is also one win away from fighting Marloes Coenen to become the company’s inaugural 145-pound champ. However, she could have still been in the exact same position had she inked with the UFC.
Ortiz and Co. must have noticed something in the fine print of the UFC’s contract that completely turned them off.
“We were going to sign her to a contract and then we were going to have her fight in Invicta, which means we’d pay all the bills for her to fight in Invicta,” White reiterated. “She’d 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 [expletive] situation, you’re a better man than I.
“It was a management decision.”
Cyborg makes her Invicta debut April 5th against Ediene Gomes inside Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City, Missouri.