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Dana White: ‘Cyborg Turned Down Two 145 Pound Title Fights’

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Cris Cyborg UFC

Fans of Invicta FC featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino have long been calling for the UFC to build a 145 pound division around her. That push intensified recently when Cyborg insisted that she would leave the company if they did not open a women’s featherweight division.

According to UFC President Dana White, those comments should not be taken at face value. Speaking with Matt Serra and Jim Norton on the latest episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast, White made it clear that the promotion have already offered Cyborg fights at 145 pounds and she has turned them down.

“Well what’s crazy about that is this. I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145 pounds a month ago. She had eight weeks to get ready for it, she said she couldn’t make the weight. She said she couldn’t make 145 pounds.

“So then I offered her another 145 pound title fight for Brooklyn. She turned it down. She’s turned down two 145 pound title fights. One because she said she couldn’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks. And Joe Silva’s like, ‘if she can’t make 145 pounds in 8 weeks, 145 isn’t the right weight class for her either’.”

White’s insistence that the company have been trying to make a 145 pound title to appease Cyborg will come as a surprise to many, not least the fans who have petitioned for the belt to be introduced for months now.

The opponents suggested only make the news even more intriguing, with a former UFC bantamweight champion right in the mix.

“First we offered her the fight against Holly Holm, and then we offered the fight against Germaine (de Randamie).” said White, when quizzed as to who Cyborg was offered.

“We offered her a 145 pound title shot, she had eight weeks to get ready for it and she said that’s not enough time to make the weight. ‘I can’t make the weight in eight weeks’.

As for why the fights were turned down, White’s guess is as good as anyone else’s at this point. The UFC’s longstanding President was quick to point out that not only were both opponents chomping at the bit to take the fight with Cyborg, but that this was the culmination of a long drawn out process of trying to find a place for the Invicta champion on UFC programming.

“This whole thing about making weight. First of all, obviously when we did the deal with Cyborg we sat down with her and said ‘listen, ya know, if you can make it down to 135 pounds maybe we can hire a dietician and help you get there and get you in the mix, get a couple of fights with these girls and then fight Ronda for the title’.

“She was all in, I mean that’s why she signed the deal. Then she was having a hard time doing it so she cut down to 140. Then this whole thing about I can’t make 140 lbs. Finally we just said ‘fuck it, alright then, we’ll make a 145 pound title for you so here you go’. She said ‘I can’t make 145 pounds in 8 weeks’. So then we offered her the fight in Brooklyn and she turned that one down too.

“Just for the record, Holly was so excited for that fight but her coach Mike Winkeljohn said that’s not the right fight for Holly. So Holly had to turn it down so we went with Germaine and Germaine wants the fight.”

The fight in Brooklyn that White was referring to would have been on February 11 at the UFC 208 pay-per-view. At this time the event is without a scheduled main event, a spot that a perceived superfight between Cyborg and Holly Holm would have slotted into nicely.

Cyborg had previously stated that she would not be ready to fight until February, and was clear via her Twitter profile that this is a weight-cutting issue. However, given White’s comments regarding these fights being turned down, Cyborg’s next move, and relationship with the UFC, remain uncertain.

Following White’s comments Cyborg has issued a statement via MMA Fighting, explaining her reasons for turning down the fight. Cyborg also made it clear that she will not be working with nutritionist George Lockhart in future.

In my last weight cut I almost died. I was in the bathtub cutting weight, and I thought, ‘I will die in this bathtub.’ It was the worst weight cut in my life. My nutritionist George Lockhart, who, by the way, is a UFC employee, didn’t do an effective job with this birth control pill he indicated saying that would help me. But thank God, in a war, I made weight, cutting 24 pounds in a week. My body was retaining a lot of water. The last time I spoke with George Lockhart was in the locker room before my fight. He disappeared after the fight. I’m not working with him anymore.

For the first time I didn’t warm up in the locker room like I do for every fight because I was too weak. I was just praying for God and went for the fight, and, once again, God gave me the victory. After all this, I went back to my hometown on Sunday and I felt sick on Sunday. My mother gave me tea and I fell asleep.

The next day, like I always do after my fights, I did blood tests to see if everything was okay after a terrible weight cut. And for the first time, the nurses couldn’t take my blood, it was so thick it wouldn’t come out, so we couldn’t do tests. I was in treatment for 10 days with Dr. Ulisseia. I was in observation because I was feeling sick all the time.

You can see that I give no interviews after the fight. I told UFC Brazil PR Lilian (Caparroz) that I wanted to cancel all my interviews and couldn’t travel. After all that, at home, I decided I would not fight at this weight anymore, that I would only fight at my division. And only with 12 weeks’ notice. For my last fight, they told me eight weeks before.

I got a call from the UFC offering me another catchweight fight, and I said I would not fight at this weight anymore. I needed a break to get my health back to normal because my body was weak, I was anemic.

After that, they invited me to fight again, but this time at my weight and for the belt, but with 10 weeks’ notice. Knowing that I was recovering, like I said, I told them I can fight anyone in February, but I need to take care of my body, and no mention of the fact that I’m dealing with severe depression and can’t have another brutal weight cut like before. This decision is more important than the belt or the division, I’m thinking about my health.

I thank my fans. We did it! I’ll soon be fighting in my division, where I’m the world champion. You and God are loyal. I’ll be ready to fight in February.

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Dana White

UFC to Sell #VegasStrong Shirts and Donate the Proceeds

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Our hearts are heavy this week as we remember our brothers and sisters that lost their lives in Las Vegas.

The perpetrator Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 59 people and injuring over 500 more.

It was the largest mass shooting in Modern American history.

Dana White and the UFC were quick to step up as they donated $1M to the residents of Las Vegas who were affected by this tragedy. White has also stated that this weekend’s UFC 216 card will be “dedicated to the entire city of Las Vegas.”

The UFC and Fanatics have also teamed up to sell #VegasStrong shirts and 100% percent of the proceeds will be donated.

These shirts are available at UFCStore.com

#VegasStrong

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Conor McGregor

Dana White posts sparring footage of Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi

Matthew Wells

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What happens in the gym, stays in the gym.

That is, until recently when Conor McGregor’s camp posted photos of his former training partner Paul Malignaggi on the receiving end of what looked to be a knockdown during a sparring session. McGregor, preparing for the blockbuster fight against Floyd Mayweather taking place on August 26, brought in Malinaggi to help sharpen and test his skills in preparation for the boxing contest.

However, when pictures of their sparring battles surfaced, painting Malignaggi in a negative light. The former IBF/WBA World Champion boxer turned analyst took to social media to defend himself stating the images were taken out of context, sparking controversy.

Late Friday evening, UFC President Dana White out all of the rumors to bed by taking to Instagram to post a pair of clips from their sparring session, most notably, the infamous “knock down” that Malignaggi defended adamantly.

Video 1: The video shows McGregor blasting Malignaggi with a hard left hand that popped his head back and then following up with a series of punches causing Malignaggi to retreat from the pressure.

 

Video 2: The knockdown. Conor hits Malignaggi with a punching combination, sending the former boxing champion to the canvas.

While the knock down does come after a series of punches from McGregor, Malignaggi was not completely knocked out. With this video evidence coming to light, it seems the UFC Lightweight Champion’s hands may be better prepared for the upcoming fight against one of boxing’s best than previously thought.

Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather takes place on August 26, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Contender Series

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series – Week 2 Recap

Matthew Wells

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The second week of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series provided some incredible moments from fighters looking to earn their shot in the UFC.

With five fights on the docket and Dana White handing out only one, possibly two UFC contracts at the end of the show, fighters not only had to win their fights, but make a statement to impress the boss. If nobody makes a strong enough impression, White could also decide to not award anyone with a contract.

That was not the case on Week 2 thanks to three exciting finishes.

Sean O’Malley said in video packages in the lead up that he shows up to knock people out and he did exactly that with an exciting first round finish of Alfred Khashakyan. O’Malley kept his undefeated record in tact by utilizing hard, fight-ending strikes that sent his opponent to the canvas in the closing minute of the first round. A hard right hand dropped Khashakyan for good and O’Malley ran over towards Dana White to let him know he’s ready for his shot.

The Ultimate Fighter 22 veteran Thanh Le got the fans on their feet with his impressive finish of Lazar Stojadinovic, and made his case with Laura Sanko for Dana White to give him a contract.  Stojadinovic, a solid boxer began fighting angry in the second round after getting caught with a few clean strikes, which only left more openings for Le. Moments later, Le would land a beautiful kick followed up by hard strikes to get the second-round stoppage.

Daniel Spohn, after a rough start to his fight against Angel De Anda, recovered from illegal blows to the back of the head to lock in a submission in the first round. Referee Big John McCarthy paused the action after three illegal blows by De Anda, and once the action resumed, Spohn blitzed across the cage to unleash strikes and eventually find the arm triangle submission.

At the conclusion of the show, Dana White decided to give Sean O’Malley an opportunity on the big stage by awarding him with a UFC contract due to his flashy, exciting style inside the Octagon.

Below are the full results of Week 2:

  • Daniel Spohn (16-5) vs. Angel De Anda (18-6)
    • Result: Daniel Spohn def. Angel De Anda via Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 1 – 3:10
  • Sean O’Malley (8-0) vs. Alfred Khashakyan (8-4)
    • Result: Sean O’Malley def. Alfred Khashakyan via KO (Punch), Round 1 – 4:14
  • Thanh Le (7-1) vs. Lazar Stojadinovic (15-6)
    • Result: Thanh Le def. Lazar Stojadinovic via KO (Strikes), Round 2 – 1:35
  • Sidney Outlaw (9-4) vs. Michael Cora (4-2)
    • Result: Sidney Outlaw def. Michael Cora via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-27)
  • CJ Hamilton (11-5) vs. Casey Kenney (7-0-1)
    • Result: Casey Kenney def. CJ Hamilton via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
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