Strikeforce Champion Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos Holding Out For Bigger Paydays

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen dominant woman’s 145lb Strikeforce champion Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos in the cage – in fact it’s now been almost precisely a year since her last apperance in which she disposed of Jan Finney with relative ease inside two rounds.

Speaking to TATAME in her native Brazil, ‘Cyborg’ reveals that the reason is due to money issues regarding her contract renewal.

“I’m pretty sad not to be fighting and I’m trying to renegotiate my contract for a year, but Strikeforce doesn’t want to [make] a deal. They want to keep paying me what they paid before, but now I’m the event’s champion and I’ve never been defeated in Strikeforce,” she says.

For the record, Cyborg earned $35,000 for her last fight, with $15,000 of that coming via a win bonus, plus an extra $5,000 on top for what is described as a ‘champions bonus’.

According to my records that makes her the highest paid female on the Strikeforce roster, with other such as former 135lb champion Sarah Kaufman earning $20,000 for her last fight, and current No.1 contender Meisha Tate picking up $18,000 (for two fights in one night). It should be noted that due to peculiarities with the way European fighters are paid, current 135lb champ Marloes Coenen’s wage is not known at the time of writing.

It is however some way short of the male champions in the promotion, with middleweight title holder ‘Jacare’ Souza being the closest to her, taking home $85,000 for his last win, while current light-heavyweight champion Dan Henderson commands a salary of $250,000 for a win.

So it’s an interesting position that Cyborg finds herself regarding her worth. As things stand, with the exception of MMA superstar Gina Carano, female fighters don’t have the same drawing power as their male counterparts. There’s also a lack of quality opponents that can match up to her skill level in the division. All of which means that it’s unlikely that Cyborg will be in a position to headline a major Strikeforce event in the forseeable future.

Coupled with the fact that Strikeforce is now ran by Zuffa, and Dana White is well known to not be in a major rush to give woman’s MMA a big push, it seems as if it may be difficult for the 25 year-old to get the kind of deal she may be looking for.

Talks are on-going though, with Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stating recently that so far there’s no deal, but that they “are dancing.”

Hopefully one way or another this gets resolved soon as it’s a waste of talent for the best fighter in female MMA to be sitting on the sidelines in the prime of her career. Not that ‘Cyborg’ isn’t continuing to work on her skills behind the scenes however – in fact she recently took gold at the woman’s World Jiu-Jitsu championships in the 74+kg purple belt division.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.