It is well documented that earlier this year Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos and Manager Tito Ortiz turned down a fight with Ronda Rousey at UFC 157. The match would have marked the first ever WMMA bout in the UFC, and apparently Cyborg and Ortiz claimed that disagreements about the weight cut to 135 were to blame for the breakdown. Not the case according to MMAFighting:
“While (match weight) was at the center of most conversations in the media regarding the inability to make the Cyborg-Rousey fight, it was not the deal-breaker it’s been reported to be. During the ongoing negotiations, which lingered for about two months, the promotion agreed to pay for the services of a dieting and nutrition consultant like Dolce. The biggest issue, according to Cyborg’s management firm Primetime 360, was Zuffa treating Cyborg as a bit player rather than an event co-star.”
It would seem extremely foolish to turn down a historic fight in the UFC against the number one fighter over money negotiations, but then again having Tito as your manager could make you do a lot of crazy things. Things could be so different had Cyborg beaten Rousey back at UFC 157.
Would it be for the better though? Cyborg doesn’t have half the marketability of Ronda Rousey, or most of the other female fighters around right now. Can you imagine Santos getting a spot on the Maxim hot 100? I’m not ragging on Cyborg for looking dude-ish, I’m merely observing that a big part of Rousey’s (and WMMA’s) success is it’s ability to be sold as a package. I don’t know if the world is ready to have a 135lb. female UFC champion that could probably give Cain Velasquez a good run for his money.
Or is it the opposite? Would it be better to have a pioneer for WMMA that doesn’t double as a glamour model? A female fighter that represents the sport professionally but is as pure a fighter as their male counterparts?
This is all hypothetical at the moment, but say Santos destroys all the lower tier and gets a call to the UFC, destroys Rousey and claims the crown-Would that be the end, or a new beginning for WMMA?