Cristiane Justino fought the last bout on her Ultimate Fighting Championship contract on Saturday, securing a unanimous decision over a game but overmatched Felicia Spencer in the co-main event of UFC 240. After the win, fans were eager to hear whether the Brazilian would re-sign with the promotion, clearing the way for a much-anticipated rematch with Amanda Nunes.
With her latest win over Spencer, “Cris Cyborg” is in prime position to negotiate a highly-lucrative deal with a number of promotions although before that can happen she now has a 90-day exclusive negotiating window with the UFC.
Justino is adamant that she wants a rematch against Nunes despite UFC President Dana White claiming she was “scared” to fight the champion again, and the major hurdle is her notoriously negative relationship with White. Appearing this week on “Ariel Helwani's MMA Show” on ESPN, the 34-year-old accused the White of working to damage her brand and stated that she wants a public apology from him before she will re-sign with the promotion.
"Of course, he has to apologize," Justino said. "I think he has family, he has kids... I don't know if he has a heart, but I think one thing he's doing is not just touching me, because he doesn't like me. He's touching the people around me, he's touching my family. It's not right."
Justino recalls the hurtful comments White made towards her back in 2014 when he said she looked like “Wanderlei Silva in a dress” attending an awards show. In 2015, she was subject of an exchange between White, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan and comedian Tony Hinchcliffe on a podcast, in which they joked about the Brazilian having a penis. Those comments led to an aggressive back-and-forth on Twitter involving Cyborg and Hinchcliffe.
Justino says that Rogan has apologized to her privately, but she wants him to do so publicly.
"You want to talk about me, [about whether] I have a d---, you talk in public," Justino said. "If you want to say sorry, you talk in public. […] For me, you're not a man. If Joe Rogan was a man, he'd go say sorry in public like what he said. Don't come behind in the room and talk to me in my ear. This is no type of man I know."
She maintains that White’s campaign of false and negative statements about her is ongoing and that the most recent example is his recent claims that she was afraid to fight Nunes again. She claims that she has confronted him about it in person.
"I look in his eyes and I shake his hand and I say, 'Why are you lying? I texted your phone after the fight. I want my rematch.' And then I said, 'Why are you doing this?' Why? He didn't have words. There were a lot of cameras there, too."
“Cyborg” believes that this type of behavior by influential figures in the sport such as White and Rogan sends the wrong message to fans and has a direct influence on her personal life as she receives insults about her looks on a regular basis on social media.
"I'm suffering bullying," Justino said. "Where is the code that you don't do this? He is the boss. How does the boss make fun of your athlete? It's a girl, say she has a penis, she's a guy. You have to have rules. This is not right. I have a daughter, I have a mom, I have a dad. My daughter had a problem in school already because of this."
Despite all the issues she has suffered since signing with the UFC, the former champion is still open to re-signing with the promotion but wants to get into a room with her representatives and White and sort everything out:
"Be honest," Justino said of White. "Stop lying, look to my eyes. Don't hide behind the camera, don't hide behind the thing. Joe Rogan, too. If you don't like me, come talk to me."
Justino was pictured wearing a ‘Nunes vs. Cyborg 2’ shirt after her win at UFC 240, but claims that UFC officials told her to remove it. White then went on record at the UFC 240 post-fight press conference and said he was confident the rematch would go ahead.
"I hope so," White said. "If that's true, if that's the fight she wants and she really wants to make that fight, I don't see how we don't make that deal."