How badly did Dana White want the fight between Ronda Rousey and Cristaine “Cyborg” Justino to happen? So bad that he was willing to put Cyborg on contract, pay her fight purse, and allow her to fight in Invicta FC.
“We don’t have a 145-pound division, so we’re going back and forth with these guys in the deal. So I called Shannon Knapp, who owns Invicta, and 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 till I can figure out how this whole thing is going to go down?’ She said absolutely, no problem, we’d love to do it.”
White released this information at the post-fight press conference for this last Saturday’s UFC on Fuel TV event. It came after he was questioned about the press conference Tito Ortiz had on Friday to announce Cyborg’s signing with the all female promotion. Ortiz is the former Strikeforce champ’s manager. A UFC contract would have meant that Cyborg would have been a UFC fighter with health insurance and most likely higher pay, and there was the potential to fight in the Octagon if a 145-female division is ever created or if she could make 135. Now Cyborg still gets to fight in Invicta FC, but as White said, it “comes without all the perks of being a UFC fighter.”
All of this would have been done in an effort to eventually coax Rousey and Cyborg into a superfight at whatever weight White could get them to fight. Instead, Cyborg is going to face Edaine Gomes, and if she beats her she will fight for the Invicta featherweight title, which she still could have done if she was under Zuffa’s contract. This left many members of the media as perplexed as White.
“So instead of doing that, they chose to not do that – and fight in Invicta. If you can make logic out of that whole f—ing situation, you’re a better man than I.”