Well, Cris “Cyborg” Santos is officially a free agent, which either means that Strikeforce was unwilling to pay her what she felt she was worth, or that Zuffa has decided against continuing to promote women’s MMA under the SF banner. Either way, it’s a blow to the promotion’s women’s division.
A source we spoke to today received confirmation from Cyborg’s management that Zuffa’s exclusive negotiation period with the 10-1 Curitiba, Brazil fighter ended yesterday and that the parent company of Strikeforce and the UFC failed to come to terms with the Strikeforce women’s middleweight champ before she became a free agent at the stroke of midnight.
According to Santos’ former manager Ken Pavia who helped negotiate the deal that was fulfilled with her last fight with Jan Finney on June 26, 2010, there was a champion’s clause in her contract, which he said he thought would extend her deal. But according to another we spoke to who is close to the situation, the clause had a one-year expiration date and when Strikeforce failed to re-sign her or offer her a fight by June 26, they waived their right to exercise the option.
You may recall that former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields had a similar proviso in his contract, but when Scott Coker and co. figured there was little chance of resigning him, they granted him a release rather than make him sit out the one-year waiting period.
We’re told that Cris is in serious discussions with a promotion that we’ve been asked not to name until the deal is finalized and that she could have a new contract in place as early as this weekend. Wherever Gina Carano is, she’s thanking her lucky stars.
We will have updates the situation when we are given the go-ahead to release them by the parties involved.