Every athlete that takes part in a professional sport is expected to uphold a certain level of respect for their opponents, as well as conducting themselves with class. How they act in public also has an effect on the league, team or organization they are representing. When they don’t conduct themselves the right way, their reputation can be ruined.
This is the kind of disaster that recently occurred at the UFC’s new athlete’s retreat, where UFC women’s featherweight contender Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino had a face-to-face altercation with UFC women’s strawweight fighter Angela Magana, who had been mocking the former Invicta champ on Twitter following Justino’s visit to a hospital where she met some children at a cancer hospital:
— Angela Magana (@AngelaMagana1) April 27, 2017
Justino was actually doing a great thing for children suffering with a terrible illness, and this tweet was very disrespectful. It doesn’t acknowledge her charity and mocks her physical appearance for no reason. Furthermore, with her own father also fighting cancer right now, this is an issue very personal to the Brazilian star.
After news about the altercation came out, people were immediately curious if there was actually any video footage. Well, they got their wish:
Everyone knows Cyborg packs a hell of a punch, but to Magana’s credit, she took this one like a champ. Pretty impressive for a strawweight to endure a blow from a woman significantly bigger and stronger than her, especially someone who’s known for their punching power.
Following the unfortunate event, Justino came out with an official statement addressing what happened, where she said, in part, “When disparaging comments are made at the top, it sets an example that it is acceptable within the company, allowing lower ranking individuals to continuing following examples of leaders, establishing the culture and practices of the company.”
Now, news has come out that Justino is being charged with misdemeanor battery for punching Magana. She reportedly won’t be arrested, but she will most likely have to make an appearance in court, where she’ll probably receive some kind of moderate punishment.
Of course, it doesn’t just end there.
The whole aftermath of this altercation, and the unfortunate violence that took place, spells bad news for Cyborg and the UFC. The company was just trying to have a successful grand opening of its new athlete’s retreat in Las Vegas, where the organization is headquartered. The last thing the organization would have wanted was two fighters hitting each other when they aren’t even in an actual fight.
This is the risk you run, however, when you have athletes who are in the fight business having disagreements and confronting each other. They will most likely conform to their defense mechanism when they get angry, and this will involve punches being thrown. That doesn’t make it OK by any stretch, but it’s also not particularly surprising, either.
There’s no doubt both ladies were at fault in this situation. Unless there’s history between the two ladies that we didn’t know about, there was no reason for Magana to mock Santos like that. The response by the featherweight contender, obviously, didn’t help. If anything, it made things worse for Cyborg and the UFC, which now has to perform damage control and make sure the opening of the athlete’s retreat isn’t clouded by controversy.
Hopefully, it doesn’t also have an affect on Cyborg’s status as a top contender in the UFC’s newly formulated women’s featherweight division. She’s clearly worked hard to get to this level, while fighting off steroid allegations (some of which were true), so for her to receive the type of punishment that could possibly result in a suspension would be a huge blow.
UFC President Dana White has a big decision to make.