Freelance: Cris Justino Loses Sponsor over Magana Incident
Per MMAFighting.com, Cris “Cyborg” Justino, widely considered one of, if not the best female featherweight (145-pound) fighters in MMA’s history has been dropped as a representative of the female-centered clothing company known as “GRRRL” effective as of June 8. The sponsor dropped Cyborg following physical altercation with fellow UFC athlete Angela Magna at the promotion’s recent athlete retreat.
The incident occurred after Magana had made a series of derogatory posts on Twitter directed at the Brazilian, one of which utilized a photo of Cyborg visiting cancer patients at a children’s hospital that Magana then put that alongside the mask of “Jigsaw” from the Saw movie series in what seemed to be an effort to make fun of Cyborg’s looks.
Cyborg was cited by the Las Vegas Police Department for misdemeanor battery but never formally arrested. The city attorney is still deciding whether to pursue charges. Magana initially went to a local hospital for a minor injury (a laceration on the inside of her lip) but then posted yesterday (June 8) that she visited a neurological doctor and was given medication for brain swelling.
GRRL said in part of their statement:
“As a company with representation and brand ambassadors amongst girls as young as 6, we cannot publically [sic] condone this behaviour especially as the behaviour is directly in conflict with the messages Cris shared at the event, one of our speakers on cyber bullying and our company message to promote female harmony and unity.
This conduct has the potential to diminish the tireless work by our amazing network of women throughout the world to support female harmony and unity. As a consequence of these matters, it is with regret that our sponsorship of Cris has come to an end.”
The sponsorship agreement the (17-1, 1 No Contest) fighter had was to have originally lasted 12 months. The arrangement lasted just over a month before the altercation with Magana. Cyborg responded to the announcement on Twitter by saying that she charged a $7,500 appearance fee and that the company was “looking for excuses” after the event did not bring in as much money as was hoped.
The UFC has not released an official statement at this time, but the reaction from other fighters to the initial scuffle seems largely positive as it has been viewed as the former Invicta FC (an all-female “feeder league to the UFC) champion standing up for herself, although they understand he legal consequences of the situation.
Cyborg is 2-0 inside the promotion’s octagon but has not competed since September of 2016 as the main event of UFC Fight Night 95 in her native Brazil, finishing Lina Lansburg by TKO due to strikes at 2:29 of the second round. Cyborg’s contract is up at some point in October of this year. Thanks to a contractual clause, the contract will end regardless of any bouts she still has left to fight come October. Her future remains uncertain.
Following the incident, “Your Majesty” asked a fan online how her actions were any different than two fighters engaging on Twitter to get or promote a fight. Magana (11-8 in MMA, 0-2 in the UFC) also happens to fight at strawweight (115 pounds) so an MMA bout between the two would be unlikely, although she then challenged Cyborg to a grappling match that has yet to materialize.