Cris Cyborg Blasts UFC For Offering Pay Downgrade

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez for USA TODAY Sports

The UFC just can’t seem to find a happy medium with women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg.

And there could be a distinct reason for that.

After finally winning a UFC title against Invicta bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger at July’s UFC 214, Cyborg repeatedly called out for a title fight against former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm, who fought Germaine de Randamie in the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title fight, at December 30’s UFC 219.

However, according to Cyborg, that booking is seeming more and more unlikely due to the payday the UFC is offering her. She tweeted last night that a scheduled meeting with the UFC had been called off because they were offering her a downgrade in pay to fight Holm:

The issue is merely the latest in a long string of back-and-forth troubles between the UFC and Cyborg, which were seemingly remedied after she was hit with a potential USADA violation last year, of which she was exonerated yet still did not fight in the first UFC women’s 145-pound title bout in the main event of February’s UFC 208.

It seemed getting Cyborg to the octagon was becoming tougher by the day, but the two sides hashed things out enough to get her inside the Octagon at UFC 214, where she dominated a tough Evinger en route to a third-round TKO stoppage. The stage was certainly set for Cyborg to realize her potential as one of MMA’s biggest stars (and most controversial draws) against Holm, who is quite possibly the only woman ready and willing to fight, other than Cyborg, at featherweight right now.

But with fighter pay and treatment one of the most heated topics in MMA in the year following WME-IMG’s then-record $4.2 billion UFC purchase, a champion probably won’t take a pay cut to fight a bigger name than she did for her previous bout, especially considering she’s finally champion. We’ve only gotten Cyborg’s side of the story for now, and UFC 219, at least of this writing, isn’t shaping up to be quite as impactful a card as UFC 214, which featured the long-awaited return of Jon Jones, was.

That could all change, of course, but Cyborg’s accusation at her employer, if true, would seem like just another unnecessary hold-up in an era where the UFC is trying to nickel and dime their fighters to death – even their champions.

  • Bill Wolf

    Dana White used to say that fighters should just win, and everything else would take care of itself for them.

    Cris Cyborg wins, but everything else is not taking care of itself. Stipe Miocic wins, but everything else is not taking care of itself. Demetrious Johnson wins like nobody in the UFC, but everything else is not taking care of itself for Mighty Mouse.

    What Mike Drahota said is right: the UFC, this company worth billions and billions of dollars, is nickel-and-diming its fighters to death, even its champions.

  • kevin

    UFC is gonna lose a lot of quality stars to Bellator. Fuck them

  • Juchi

    Why do all Cyborg’s previous quotes about wanting to fight, screw the money keep coming to mind. Maybe because recently, it is all about the money. The fighters that should be complaining should be those champions over at Invicta that got little more than a tenth of what Cris was making. Now she has the chance for the most exposure of her career, facing the wildly popular Holly Holm. Holly is far better known and liked by the casual fan due to her defeat of Rousey. None of the articles I’ve read have addressed the amounts that the UFC is proposing to pay the two fighters, but if it’s truly just nickles and dimes, Cris should give second thoughts to passing up this unique opportunity.

  • jess fenchley

    No one is interested in cyborg and holm anyway. Cyborg is a dude who has beaten cans for years and holms’ last 4 fights have proven not only cant she fight, but she is a great remedy for those who cant sleep. Neither one of them have the pulling power and money making ability of RR…..

  • Wabbit

    WME-IMG’s $4.2 billion UFC purchase was way overpriced, a major blunder; and to now attempt recouping the money by underpaying the fighters is their second major blunder.