PWInsiderXTRA - WWE News, Wrestling News, WWE



By David Tees on 3/14/2023 5:28 PM

Cris Cyborg is not only the current Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion, but she is also a free agent at the moment.

Bellator President Scott Coker believes that the promotion is in a good position right now when negotiating with Cyborg.

“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. We’re still in dialogue with Cris,” Coker told reporters after Bellator 292 (transcript via Simon Samano & Matt Erickson of MMA Junkie). “We respect her. We think that she is, to me, the GOAT in the female division. She fought (in San Jose), was it 2009, against Gina Carano in the very first female MMA fight on national TV to be the main event. She’s a lot of historical things and had great success, a great career. So I wouldn’t count that out.

“We’ll make decisions (about featherweight) based on what happens. We still have some contractual rights (to Cyborg) until August, so let’s see how it plays out. We’re going to engage with her (this) week, start talking – what we want to do. But I still think we’re in a very good position with her. I think she loves being here. I think we have a very good working relationship. We’ve been working together since 2009 or 2008 maybe. I wouldn’t count it out yet.”

Cyborg went 6-0-0 during her run with Bellator, with notable wins coming over Julia Budd and Leslie Smith.

Coker says the goal in the end, with or without Cyborg, is to make Bellator better as a whole.

“We have contractual obligations to allow these females to fight. So it doesn’t have to be so black and white right now. I think that there’s a little bit of a gray area, but it’s onward and forward until we actually make a decision one way or the other,” Coker said. “One of the things we take pride in is the fighters we wanted to keep, we’re able to keep – whether it was Strikeforce or whether it is here in Bellator. The situation, for instance, for Michael Chandler: great talent. That was a business decision that we made internally to eventually pour more money into our lightweight division as a whole and pour more money into A.J. McKee and all the other (fighters) and build a real lightweight division, because it was really thin at that time. You let an athlete go, and there’s business reasons behind it – it’s not just, ‘Oh, let’s let this guy walk or this girl walk.’ There’s some business ramifications of what we’re doing, and the outcome really is to make the league overall much healthier.

“The Cyborg thing is no different. But with her, I feel good about it. When you’re saying fighters come and go, I mean, in Strikeforce we kept everybody, really that we wanted to keep, and I think in Bellator it’s the same thing. We invest in the fighters that we want to be in business with.”