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Cris Cyborg responds to Cat Zingano’s ‘bully’ claims before Bellator 300 title fight

Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg said her next title challenger Cat Zingano is promoting their Bellator 300 title fight the “wrong way.”

On Wednesday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Cyborg answered Zingano’s claim that she’s tarnishing her legacy by engaging in bully tactics prior to their fight. One example Zingano pointed to was the purchase of website URL bearing her name to promote Cyborg.

“I don’t think I need to bully,” Cyborg responded. “I think a lot of my team bought the website. So if you don’t buy the website, somebody is going to buy the website. This is, like, a business.

“This is the way, to be nice, [and] if you would like to promote the fight, it’s cool – there’s no bullying. After the fight, she can have her website. It’s nothing about bullying. I don’t have any problem with Cat Zingano.”

The buildup to the featherweight title fight has been anything but usual. When Zingano signed with Bellator to compete at 145 pounds, she jumped to the front of the line of viable contenders for Cyborg. But it took four years to book the fight, and Cyborg places much of the blame at her opponent’s feet.

“When you call out people, you have to be ready to fight,” she said. “You say, ‘I want to fight Cyborg,’ but then I see she fights somebody else.

“I met Cat Zingano in person. She went to Punishment [Athletics gym] for a long time, and we were supposed to train together. I don’t have any problem with her. She’s just trying to promote this fight the wrong way, calling me ‘She-ra...I’m not going to fight her unless she’s going to be tested [out-of-competition],’ so she started promoting this fight the wrong way. So you can promote the fight – I always promote it nicely to her.”

Zingano requested drug testing of Cyborg in order to ensure she competed in a fair fight. In 2012, Cyborg tested positive for steroid metabolites following a title defense in the now-defunct Strikeforce promotion. At the time, she claimed a coach had given her a weight-loss aid that turned out to have the banned substances.

Upon signing with the UFC in 2015, Cyborg participated in the promotion’s anti-doping program. While she was flagged for a banned diuretic in 2016, she later received a retroactive exemption for the drug and was cleared of wrongdoing.

Cyborg pointed to her many years in the UFC’s program without issue and added that Zingano’s concerns have been addressed by an out-of-competition testing program implemented by Bellator.

“We entered into random testing [for the testers] to show up after July, at my house to test for the fight, and we both passed,” she said. “So no problems. I think this maybe helped her be ready for the fight.”

The out-of-competition testing was conducted by Michael Mazzulli, the executive director of Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation (MTDAR) and president of the Association of Boxing Commissions. Mazzulli, who’s served as the de-facto regulator for the promotion in events held overseas, confirmed the tests to MMA Fighting and said both Zingano and Cyborg will be tested before Bellator 300, which takes place Oct. 7 in San Diego.

“I don’t need to do it if I don’t want to do it,” said Cyborg, who pointed out she is not currently licensed as a combatant. “But it doesn’t matter. I don’t have any problem. You can come any time and test me.”

Cyborg has blitzed the competition in Bellator at 145 pounds, defending the belt four times. To date, she’s only suffered losses twice in her career, falling short in her first pro bout and in a highly anticipated showdown with Amanda Nunes in the UFC in 2018. She became a free agent after her most recent title defense, a second win over Arlene Blencowe, but chose to re-sign with Bellator.

Zingano, meanwhile, has carved a path to the title with four straight wins, a record that Cyborg said does plenty to promote the fight the “right” way: competition.

“She’s undefeated in four fights at 145 pounds,” Cyborg said. “She’s a great for the sport. She beat Miesha Tate, she beat Amanda Nunes – she’s a great fighter, and it’s going to be great for the sport. She’s one of the best.

“I believe she’s been talking a lot. I hope she’s training really hard for a big show, and let’s see.”

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