Cris Cyborg's Decision Not to Fight Ronda Rousey Based on Money, Not Weight

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Cris Cyborg's Decision Not to Fight Ronda Rousey Based on Money, Not Weight
Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos - Esther Lin/AllElbows.com

An "impossible" weight cut isn't the only reason Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos passed on an opportunity to fight Ronda Rousey at UFC 157.

MMAFighting.com's Mike Chiappetta did some digging, and his findings brought to light a major financial disagreement that ultimately killed the proposed super fight between Rousey and Cyborg.

Cyborg's management firm, Primetime 360, felt like her overall stock as a top fighter was being undervalued by Zuffa, while Rousey was being treated as the "only attraction."

"Every pay-per-view megafight requires two participants, and they weren't giving Cris her just credit. They were compensating Ronda like she was the only attraction of the fight," Primetime 360 partner George Prajin told MMA Fighting.

What about the whole weight issue?

For months, fans have been led to believe the only reason Cyborg couldn't face Rousey was due to a potentially dangerous weight cut to 135-pounds. There was talk of the cut being impossible and how it could affect Cyborg's ability to bear children in the future.

After meeting with expert nutritionist Mike Dolce, it was determined that Cyborg could indeed make the 135-pound mark. Dolce has helped a plethora of world-class MMA stars make weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

He firmly believes Cyborg could have made 135 pounds easy if she would've started his regimen four months out from the event.

"As a professional, I stand on my resume. If she had done the things necessary in November, December and January, it would have been easy for her to make 135 in February," Dolce told MMA Fighting.

If weight wasn't a problem, could this entire fallout really be based on one disagreed-upon payday?

As expected, things run much deeper, and it all begins with an eight-fight offer sheet. According to Prajin, Zuffa wanted to sign Cyborg to a long-term contract at 135 pounds.

While Cyborg's management was willing to do a short-term deal, the idea of committing to an eight-fight contract at that weight seemed preposterous.

Cyborg is comfortable fighting at 145 pounds. The only reason she even considered dropping the weight in the first place was to fight Rousey. Her management didn't believe it made sense to sign a deal that locks her into a tough weight cut for a good chunk of her career.

"Basically, her fighting at 135 is handicapping her," Prajin said.

"We were willing to do that, and cut down and go work with Mike and get to 135 to do the fight because Cris wanted to fight Ronda. However, when they said we had to do it for eight fights? She doesn't want to do the cut eight times when all she wants to do is fight Ronda and beat Ronda. After Ronda, there is really nothing left for her."

The ball appears to be in the UFC's court if the super fight ever has a chance of getting done.

If true, it makes sense why the UFC would avoid offering Cyborg a short-term deal. The UFC prides itself on having the best fighters in the world. With no 145-pound weight class in place, it's good business to avoid putting your champion at risk against a larger fighter who doesn't have a place in the promotion.

If Cyborg came in and trounced Rousey, she would prove herself as the top pound-for-pound woman on the planet and return to her current stomping grounds in Invicta Fighting Championships.

There really is no angle for the UFC that makes offering up a short-term deal a good idea at this time.

As women's MMA continues to grow on the mainstream stage, there will most likely be a 145-pound division added on in the future. This would give the UFC more leverage and possibly open up talks again for a long-term deal.

If not, the often talked about super fight between Cyborg and Rousey may never come to fruition. Unless the bout can be made at a catchweight of 140 pounds, the UFC may have to bend over backwards to acquire Cyborg's services.

"I don't think we would try it, unless the UFC really, really made it worth Cris' while," said Prajin.

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