Appearing on AXS TV's Inside MMA, former UFC light heavyweight champion and current Bellator fighter (more or less) Tito Ortiz stated that his days as the manager of Cris "Cyborg" Justino are officially over. "I can live with [UFC president Dana White] not liking me but what I can’t live with is Dana using me to hurt someone else," he said. "I’ve taken abuse and maybe I deserved some of it but Cris is a beautiful person and great athlete and doesn’t deserve to be insulted like this."
"I never said she would die if she made 135...we just repeated what the doctor said, that Cris shouldn’t make a career at 135, we offered a 3 fight deal they said no 7 fights or no deal...Regardless – I won’t stand in the way from the fans getting a fight they want and I won’t hold Cris back. So I’m stepping down as Cris’ manager."
The news comes shortly after a media event where UFC president Dana White said that "Cyborg" looks like former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva. The development is interesting, but the question is if it will translate into an increased likelihood of the former Strikeforce women's featherweight champion.
Without a doubt, Justino (formerly known by her married name, Cris "Cyborg" Santos) is one of the greatest female fighters in MMA and can be easily regarded as the best on the planet. Fans and media alike have clamored for a matchup between Justino and UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey for years now (our own Jonathan Snowden discussed the idea in-depth here).
Ortiz speculates his presence is what is holding up a potential stint in the UFC for "Cyborg," but that may or may not be true. In addition to the possibility that Ortiz is attempting to save face after being fired, the UFC does not benefit from having Justino for anything less than the remainder of her career.
A one-and-done fight with Rousey is a terrible idea for the promotion. Should Rousey lose, it does nothing more than hurt her potential earning power for Zuffa. Even if she signed on for three fights at 135 pounds as Ortiz mentioned, having a champion for such a brief time is not a wonderful thought for White.
Only time will tell if this development will pay off for Justino, the UFC or fans.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!