The UFC is done with one of its most popular stars.
Company president Dana White said in an interview posted Friday to the UFC YouTube page that Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino will be released from her contract, which had three months of exclusive negotiations remaining. “We’re out of the Cyborg business,” White said.
The former UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship has clashed with White over the years, which helped prompt him to make her a mixed martial arts free agent without any apprehension.
Earlier this week, Justino went on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and demanded a public apology from White for “bullying” her and hurting her brand.
Late Friday, Justino apologized to White for a doctored video posted online by her team of the two of them having a conversation after her UFC 240 match. The video used subtitles that inaccurately quoted White.
“Finally, I want to apologize to Dana White for posting the video,” Justino tweeted. “Even though we will continue to disagree about numerous issues, I will always stand up for doing what is right.”
White, however, sought to dispel the notion that the two have a contentious relationship.
“First of all, I don’t have this horrible relationship with Cyborg,” he said. “Things were said before she came into the UFC but I think we’ve covered that and her and I have put that type of stuff behind us but the stuff that’s being said now and I was in the gym yesterday and ‘Outside the Lines’ story was absolutely ridiculous. Completely taken out of context.”
White, who once said Justino looked like “[male fighter] Wanderlei Silva in a dress and heels,” attempted to further explain how things between himself and Justino had devolved.
“In context the way that everything happened in the old days with Cyborg this started in 2012 when she tested positive for using steroids by the California State Athletic Commission,” White said. “In 2014, Cyborg did an interview with Kevin Iole where she admitted to cheating and taking steroids. So then in April 2014, Iole then did an interview with Ronda Rousey and Ronda Rousey said ‘I don’t care if she injects horse semen into her eyeballs, I’ll still fight her, I’m not speaking for the rest of the 135-pound division, I’m just speaking for myself.’ Then Ronda said that woman has taken so many drugs that she’s not a woman anymore.
“The media was asking me if I thought it was insensitive and wanted me to comment on it and I said, ‘Listen, this is the fight business. Mean things are said.’ Ronda and Cyborg had been going back and forth saying a lot of things about each other and the fact of the matter was that Cyborg did cheat and she did take steroids.”
The 34-year-old Brazilian most recently beat Felicia Spencer at UFC 240 to improve her record to 21-2.
In December, Justino lost the featherweight title to Amanda Nunes in a 51-second knockout and has publicly stated she wanted a rematch. White claims Justino is using the bullying narrative because she doesn’t actually want to fight Nunes.
“Message received. I get it. I’m going to release her from her contract,” White said “I will not match any offers. She is free and clear to go to Bellator [MMA] or any of these other organizations and fight these easy fights she wants. Done. Done deal. I will literally, today, have my lawyer draft a letter to [Justino’s team saying] that she is free and clear.”