Bellator boss interested in signing Cris Cyborg: “We’ll have a conversation”
While the news of the UFC abruptly parting ways with Cris “Cyborg” Justinho after comeback win was unexpected, the fact that she’s sought after by other promotions isn’t. Now, a few weeks after the news, rival promotions are openly showing interest. Bellator president Scott Coker recently revealed that he has been in talks with Cyborg’s manager Audie Attar.
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“We’ve been talking to Audie (Attar) since we got the official letter from her that she was released (by the UFC),” Coker told MMA Junkie. “Sometimes fighters – and not to get into particulars – they say, ‘Oh, I’m a free agent.’ And then it turns out they’re not really a free agent.
“So, we try to make sure we have all the i’s dotted. (Because if not,) then you get the lawsuits. At the end of the day, we want to make sure they really are free, and if they are we’ll have a conversation. We are in discussions with Audie, and I’m sure he’s in discussions with two to three people about trying to make a deal for Cyborg.”
Coker, who has been president of Bellator since 2014, has seen first hand how impressive Cyborg has been both as an athlete in the cage, but also as a monumental figure in women’s MMA. Cyborg faced Gina Carano at Strikeforce: Carano vs Cyborg in 2009. That fight was the first women’s MMA main event in a major promotion at the time.
“The GOAT of female MMA – period”
Cyborg became Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion and went undefeated in the promotion, later signing with Invicta in 2013. While there she won the featherweight title and defended her title three times before signing with the UFC.
“Let’s face it,” Coker said. “I don’t care what anybody says. Me speaking about the female divisions that basically Strikeforce created in mixed martial arts when nobody else would do it, she is the GOAT of female MMA – period.”
Aside from Bellator, another promotion undoubtedly interested in signing Cyborg would be PFL. The latter organisation have a women’s lightweight tournament ongoing at the moment.