UFC president Dana White recently declared himself out of the Cris Cyborg business, but has left the door cracked open for a possible reconciliation that he believes will never come.
If Cyborg were will to rematch Amanda Nunes, White would bring her back into the fold, but on Tuesday compared his nightmare relationship with her to that of Tito Ortiz.
"I don't think (Cyborg) is afraid to fight Amanda Nunes. She doesn't want to lose again. Being afraid to fight and knowing you're going to lose are two different things," White explained during a scrum at his Dana White Contender Series on Tuesday.
"That's the s--t I dealt with with Tito Ortiz, too. Tito Ortiz didn't take the Chuck fight because he 100-percent knew that Chuck Liddell was going to knock him out. That's why he didn't take the fight. There's other fights that Tito would rather take; same with Cyborg. Cyborg would rather fight Pam Sorenson or these other girls that she wanted to fight other than Amanda Nunes."
Dana White: UFC made Cris Cyborg a clean athlete
Though butting heads over a rematch with Nunes is White's latest conflict with Cyborg, the UFC boss didn't hold back when detailing how difficult his dealings with Cyborg have been for the past few years.
“It’s been a bad experience dealing with Cyborg since day one. We brought her in after she tested positive for steroids. We made her a clean athlete with the best drug testing policy in all of sports the entire time she was here. When she talks about her legacy and her brand, her legacy and her brand, nothing’s better than knowing she’s a clean athlete after testing positive for steroids and all the negativity that surrounded her about being a dirty athlete. We bring her in here, we do all this stuff and she was just never happy," White said.
“Never happy, complaining about everything. She was a nightmare to deal with, and at the end of the day she knows, I know, Amanda Nunes knows, I tried to make that Nunes fight. She doesn’t want it. She doesn’t want it. She gets mad when I say I don’t blame her. I don’t blame her. If that was Amanda Nunes (at UFC 240) I think everyone can agree what would’ve happened in that fight. She’s unhappy, we’re unhappy, she lies and does that thing. See ya later. Have a nice life."
Cris Cyborg would be welcomed back to the UFC
White insisted that if Cyborg were to agree to fight Nunes again, he would make a new deal with her. But as of now, he is out of the Cyborg business because he is whole-heartedly convinced that Cyborg does not want the Nunes fight again and will not take the Nunes fight again, no matter what.
"She can call tomorrow and we will make that fight. She will not call tomorrow and that fight will not be made because she does not want to fight Amanda Nunes. She does not want to fight Amanda Nunes!" he stressed with reporters.
“Amanda Nunes will knock her out again in the first round. I know it, you know it, and she knows it. She will not do that fight. Period. End of story. We have gone round and round and round with her and she is surrounded by not very bright people. You can see how this whole thing played out. You have to look at this objectively and take out what you may think of me or the UFC and all this bulls--t and look at what the real facts are," White continued.
"The facts are, all this was said and done to avoid fighting Amanda Nunes and she could walk away and look like, ‘Oh, they bullied me.’ Doctoring the video they doctored and lying and all the things they’ve done leading up to here. Cyborg likes to play that she’s this really nice person, she’s being bullied and all this other s--t.”
The video White referenced was footage that Cyborg's team shot of her confronting White backstage at UFC 240 after she defeated Felicia Spencer. The original posting of that video on YouTube included captions that mischaracterized what White had actually said to Cyborg, basically making it look as if White had admitted to lying.
The UFC then posted a video interview of White telling Laura Senko that he was done dealing with Cyborg and was ready and willing to release her from any contractual obligations, including a period where the UFC could match any offers to her from other promoters. Shortly after that interview went public, Cyborg issued a public apology to White for the doctored video and the video was removed from YouTube.
The apology seemed like it might open the door to further talks, but Cyborg has since posted public comments about how happy she is to be done with the UFC era and how excited she is to see what's next.
There is no peach between Dana White and Cris Cyborg
White doesn't appear to think they will come to terms either and stands by his statement that Cyborg simply does not want to fight Nunes again.
“I don’t think there’s any peace between me and Cyborg. Whether you like me or you don’t like me, whatever your opinion of me is doesn’t matter. What she did was dirty. It was dirty what she did with the video and all this other stuff in it. Meanwhile, she’s running around saying she better get an apology from me? Yeah. I got an apology from her. Because what she did was one of the dirtiest things. It had to kill her to apologize to me. Kill her to do it. But what she did is one of the dirtiest things you can do to somebody. That’s why she apologized,” said White.
“She doesn’t want to fight Amanda Nunes. (The media), the fans, need to get it into your head that she did everything she could, including doctoring a video, lying about what I said, to avoid fighting Amanda Nunes. The fans and the media need to just get it through your heads that all that (expletive) that was going on, ‘He’s bullying me.’ Bullying you? You’ve been here for five years. What are you talking about? You’re talking about stuff that happened five years ago. That was five years ago. It’s all a smokescreen to not fight Amanda Nunes. She doesn’t want that fight. Otherwise we wouldn’t even be having this conversation right now. I’ve had problems over the last 20 years with plenty of fighters. From Tito Ortiz to Mark Hunt to god knows who else. I can’t even think off the top of my head. We always made fights. She doesn’t want to fight Amanda Nunes."
UFC women's featherweight division not going anywhere
Aside from her rough relationship with White, Cyborg has also cited the UFC's lack of building the women's featherweight division as another reason for not wanting to re-sign an extended contract. Cyborg maintains that she wants to fight more frequently than the UFC's current featherweight roster can sustain.
White, however, insists that he is in no hurry to shutter the 145-pound division, despite Cyborg's departure.
"Amanda Nunes is going to defend both titles just like she always (intended). Cyborg leaving doesn't matter. We know who the best fighter in the world is at 135 and 145, it's Amanda Nunes. She had the opportunity for her legacy, Cyborg's legacy, to get that fight again. She doesn't want it," he stated.
"So we will continue to bring in the best fighters in the world and put them up against Amanda Nunes at 135 and 145 pounds, and she will continue to build her legacy."
Despite all the turbulence, White was adamant that he wouldn't change how he dealt with Cyborg over the years.
"No, I wouldn’t do anything different. The one thing I’m glad I did was I pushed her to make sure she fought Amanda Nunes, because she didn’t want that fight the first time, let alone the second time. She wanted Cindy Dandois or Pam Sorensen. Those are the fights she wanted, and she was turning down Amanda Nunes. I said, ‘That’s not going to happen.’ So we kept pushing and pushing and pushing and finally we got her to take the Amanda Nunes fight. I’m happy I did that. Other than that, no, I wouldn’t change one thing in the last five years on Cyborg.”
Dana White blasts Cris Cyborg for doctored video
(Courtesy of TheMacLife)