Despite all the back and forth online, Cat Zingano said she was never offered a fight with Cris Cyborg. But she has one demand if she’s able to beat Pam Sorenson at Bellator 282 and clinch a title shot.
“Independent testing for both of us — [an] independent resource, just making sure there are no biases, there’s no people that we know, and just making sure everything is fair,” Zingano said Wednesday during a media teleconference for Friday’s event.
Zingano made headlines in January by claiming Cyborg refused drug testing, prompting her to instead take the bout with Sorenson, a former Invicta featherweight champ who’s 1-1 in Bellator. Cyborg immediately denied Zingano’s claim and said the one-time UFC title challenger was making excuses to not fight.
At the moment, Bellator does not conduct independent drug testing, instead relying on state athletic commissions that regulate its events. While overseas, the promotion hires an independent regulator, ABC President Mike Mazzulli, to test fighters in- and out-of-competition. Bellator President Scott Coker didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on additional drug testing. Typically, promoters and fighters have looked to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) for testing outside state requirements.
The picture Zingano painted on Wednesday as to why she didn’t fight Cyborg rather than Sorenson was more nuanced. But it also came down to a lack of a contract.
“I wasn’t offered that fight, for one,” she told MMA Fighting. “I know coming into Bellator, we talked about how that was going to be a fight that we had for sure. I know also coming into Bellator, all of my footage of fighting was in the UFC — there was licensing stuff there, so they can’t promote me and they can’t use any of my fight videos or highlights, can’t even really talk about me without it being a licensing thing with the UFC. So they really wanted me to fight fights here and get tape, get reel, give me good matches against good 145-pound girls, and I’m relatively new to this weight class. So putting me in there and figuring it out, I wasn’t offered Cyborg.
“I did tell them in the beginning there were things that I want to do, where both of us would do [it], to make sure it’s a fair fight, and to make sure it’s a safe fight. And with those guidelines, it just never came out. Every time we talked about the fight being between us, or she was calling me out online or I was saying something about her out online, I was kind of waiting for the phone calls, and the phone calls would come, but it was never her name.”
Reached for comment, Cyborg again questioned Zingano’s desire to face her.
“Sounds like Cat Zingano doesn’t want to fight,” she wrote in a message to MMA Fighting. “Hopefully she enjoys being on the YouTube prelims.”
The former UFC champ was suspended in 2012 for one year after testing positive for a steroid and granted a retroactive therapeutic-use exemption by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after failing a drug test during her UFC career.
Zingano has won a pair of Bellator fights since her defection to Bellator, and she’s moved on from Cyborg as an immediate concern.
“Fights are momentary,” she said. “Every punch, every kick, is moment by moment, every second, every breath … so I’m focusing on this fight. I know that fight doesn’t even matter right now. This is what I have to do. My eyes are set on Pam Sorenson and coming in here and doing what I’m trained to do.”
As for whether she’ll get a title shot next, she’s fighting with the assumption that Cyborg will be waiting.
“That’s what I’m assuming,” Zingano said. “Pam’s coming up, and she’s done some good things with Bellator so far. I’m coming up doing good things with Bellator so far. I think it would be fair to say that that could be the result of this fight.”