In an expected, but still interesting move, UFC head Dana White has announced that the organization will be granting former featherweight champion Cris Cyborg her release.
In an interview with UFC reporter Laura Sanko released on the company’s YouTube page, White said that, “I’m going to release her from her contract. I will not match any offers.”
He continued to claim that Cyborg refused to fight Nunes, which he gave as one of the reasons for their mutual disagreement. He said, “This is a woman that doesn’t want to fight the champion no matter what she says. I am giving up my rights to her contract to matching her contract to anything. I’m giving it up. There you go. You’re not being bullied. Nothing like that. I’m going to let you go. If you don’t want to fight Amanda and you don’t want to be here that bad, then why would I want you here?”
For her part, after her win over Felicia Spencer at UFC 240, Cyborg wore a T-Shirt proclaiming a fight with Nunes in January of 2020, obviously referring to the UFC’s New Year card coming up on January 4th. Regardless, her time in the world’s most prestigious mixed martial arts organization appears to be over.
Only time will tell where Cyborg will fight next. Bellator’s Scott Coker promoted her in Strikeforce, and has maintained a good relationship with her.
The PFL is another possible landing spot. Each organization has potential fights that would be easy to promote. Bellator’s reigning featherweight champion Julia Budd says she would welcome a fight with Cyborg, and the PFL is home to Kayla Harrison and Sarah Kaufman, who seem destined to face each other in the finals of the lightweight tournament. A fight with either woman would be welcomed by MMA fans.
Check out Laura Sanko’s full interview with Dana White below.
With the UFC being “out of the Cyborg business,” as White put it, it will be interesting to see how the featherweight division progresses without its longest-running standard bearer.