Over the weekend, UFC president Dana White said that he was confused by Cristiane Santos' decision to ask for her release from the UFC to sign with Invicta FC. He might have been confused because of Tito's zany press conference on Friday (you can read the amusing transcript here via FightLinker), but today Tito did an interview with Damon Martin of Bleacher Report to try and explain the rationale behind their decision. Basically Tito says it came down to length of contract, for one thing:
"We wanted to make the deal happen with the UFC. Negotiations were between me and Dana and it was for a four-fight deal with the fourth fight being against Ronda (Rousey), three fights going to Invicta and the fourth fight would be against Ronda. We were going to do a catchweight of 140 (pounds) and they said 'OK we'll call you back and we're going to find out,'" Ortiz explained in an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report on Sunday.
"I wait two days and I get a call back and they said 'no, we'll do an eight-fight deal, we'll send her to Invicta, have her fight three fights and next year we'll have her fight against Ronda at 140 possibly,' but there's no exact direction what (weight) they wanted to use. So it really came down to the factor of them going back and forth."
He also wasn't a fan of Dana saying she was irrelevant:
"Why would we allow our client to commit to such a long deal with no real plans or commitments to fight in the UFC? Why would we agree to a deal where an organization labels her as irrelevant as Dana (White) kept saying how irrelevant Cyborg was? We didn't run away from the fight. We just asked for her release to sign a three-fight deal with Invicta," Ortiz stated.
And of course, money was a factor:
"The money had a lot to do with it," Ortiz admitted.
At the end of the day, I talked to Cris Cyborg, she came to me and she was like 'Tito, I became the world champion and nothing in my life changed, all I had around my waist was a gold piece of metal on a piece of leather, that's all I had, nothing changed.'"
The insinuation that she didn't make much money in Strikeforce is a bit odd. In terms of Cyborg's Strikeforce deal, she defended her title three times. For the first two defenses in 2010, she made an official total of $35,000 per fight. After resigning with the company in mid-2011, she was given a considerable bump in pay and made $66,000 for her fight with Hiroko Yamanaka (33k to show, 33k to win). It's unclear if she was forced to forfeit her win bonus after the bout was overturned due to her positive test, but she was fined $2,500.
Maybe her lifestyle didn't change because she was busted for steroids and couldn't fight for a year? Besides that, I find it a bit surprising that Invicta was allegedly going to pay her more than the UFC would have offered. But in a verbal back-and-forth between Tito Ortiz and Dana White, the full truth is probably not going to be laid out on the table anytime soon.