Dominating the headlines yesterday was the news that USADA had flagged Cris Cyborg for a failed random drug test. After years of fighting to get in to the UFC, Cyborg already faced an uphill battle in terms of weight. Unwilling to open a 145-pound division for Cyborg, the Invicta champion was forced to fight twice at 140 pounds catchweight. The cut was reportedly gruelling and the Brazilian later revealed the impact on her health was serious. Stating her blood was ‘too thick to draw’ after her latest bout, it seemed 140 pounds was no longer an option.
Next up on the list of dramas for Cyborg was the announcement of the women’s featherweight division. Considering this was the news she’d been waiting years for, many expected the Brazilian knockout artist to jump for joy. Citing her brutal weight cuts and the need to recover from them, Cyborg turned down two title fights. Eventually the inaugural title match was made between Holly Holm and Germaine Da Randamie and slated for UFC 208. Cyborg ripped Dana White and the UFC for persecuting her, but this entire situation was exacerbated by yesterday’s news.
USADA Test & Dana’s Reaction
Cyborg responded quickly to the news of her failed drug test, claiming it stemmed from a doctor-prescribed diuretic. Reports that she could face a maximum one-year suspension by USADA would substantiate the claims from her team, but the UFC president is not convinced. Speaking with TMZ yesterday, as quoted by MMAMania, White says he knew something was up:
“I offered three fights to Cyborg, and now we find out she just tested positive for a banned substance. USADA will handle it, we don’t. There will be some back and forth, see how this things plays out.”
“So it’s kind of weird, he continued. “First of all, I was offering her these fights at 145 pounds. First fight she had eight weeks to get ready. Second fight she had 11 weeks to get ready and the third fight she just turned down. I thought it was just strange that she was turning down all these fights … not so strange now. It’s weird how these things play out, and that I ended up making this Holly, Germaine fight at 45, which is perfect now.”
Hearing Dana White describe this situation as ‘perfect’ is rather ironic. The fact the best 145-pound fighter n the planet just got popped by USADA is nothing good. Perhaps Holm vs. Da Randamie will be a great fight, who knows, but one hard fact remains; That division will be under the shadow of Cyborg, even after the USADA controversy, until she fights in the UFC as a featherweight.
Further to that, and pondering Cyborg’s comments that her employers ‘don’t like her,’ would the UFC president react this way to Ronda Rousey or Conor McGregor in the same situation? Food for thought.