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04th Oct 2017

UFC’s treatment of legitimate superstar is truly baffling


Ben Kiely


Why did the UFC even sign Cyborg?

From the very beginning of Cyborg’s UFC tenure, it seemed like the promotion brought her in reluctantly.

Rather than let the former Strikeforce and Invicta champion compete in her preferred featherweight division, they booked her first two fights as catchweight 140 lb contests. The subsequent clips of her nearly killing herself trying to make weight went viral and when she showed up on the scales, she looked like a cadaver.

However, those incredibly tough cuts didn’t affect her performances inside the Octagon. After destroying Leslie Smith in her sensational promotional debut, she was made the headline act for her second outing against Lina Landsberg. That fight also ended with fireworks and drew 1,109,000 viewers, making it the most-watched FOX Fight Night or TUF finals show ever headlined by a women’s fight.

After going through all that, she was finally given a shot at the vacant 145 lb title against Tonya Evinger. The Brazilian claimed the belt via third-round TKO on the main card of the highest rated UFC PPV of the year. Her first defence is set to be against another bankable female star in the post-Ronda Rousey era, the woman who landed that seismic head kick that was heard all over the world, Holly Holm.

Although the Preacher’s Daughter’s stock has declined since suffering that three-fight skid after winning the bantamweight belt, it’s impossible to ignore the 4,687,000 viewers her unanimous decision loss to Valentina Shevchenko drew in 2016. Matched up with the right opponent, the masses will flock to see Holm do her thing.

However, Cyborg is claiming on social media that the UFC are trying to shortchange her with her salary.

Cyborg earned $200,000 for the Evinger win, which is actually a decent salary for a title challenger. However, she is claiming that the UFC want to pay her less than that to fight Holm. If true, then Dana White’s promise for the UFC to ‘get their shit together’ and finally promote the pound-for-pound greatest female fighter on the planet may have been empty.

For whatever reason bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes isn’t well-liked by fans, strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk just isn’t a PPV draw and the flyweight champ has yet to be crowned. Knockout monster Cyborg could well be the biggest draw in female MMA if she was pushed. Her record of 18-1-1NC with 16 knockouts speaks for itself and let’s be honest, punching Angela Magana in the face boosted her profile quite a bit.

Considering the amount of numbered events the UFC put on and the lack of title fights available to headline them, the promotion should probably do everything in their power to get Cyborg v Holm on UFC 219.