MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/22: A skirmish breaks out after over 400 fighters gather for UFC Athlete Retreat (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino (photo credit Jason da Silva © USA Today Sports)

Put 400-plus cage fighters in the same place for three days and a fight is sure to break out.

That proved to be true this weekend as UFC invited its entire roster to Las Vegas for what they billed as the “UFC Athlete Retreat,” an event similar to the fighter summits the company had previously held semi-annually, but this year’s event appears to have been ramped up a bit under new ownership.

The biggest known skirmish occurred Sunday afternoon when UFC Strawweight Angela Magana took a punch from former Invicta and Strikeforce Featherweight Champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. Ariel Helwani first reported the events on Twitter.

The altercation sounds like it was provoked by a tweet Magana sent out last month featuring a photo of Cyborg comparing her to the Jigsaw character from the “Saw” horror film series.

Helwani reported that “Words [were] exchanged, tempers flared and Cyborg punched Magana.”

Helwani went on to tweet that Magana was “rocked,” but that assessment was disputed by friend and fellow UFC Strawweight Bec Rawlings who also claimed to have a video of the scuffle. Rawlings later contradicted herself when she was asked why she didn’t intervene. She said: “I wasn’t filming.”

According to Magana, UFC brought in the police and, after speaking to them, she decided to press charges against Cyborg. Cyborg has not commented officially, but a post from a third party on her Twitter account read: “Cris Cyborg just confronted Angela Magana for her numerous derogatory social media posts and things got heated.”

UFC has also not commented publicly on the matter as of Monday afternoon, but it appears that Cris Cyborg’s UFC status could be in jeopardy as Magana also tweeted: “I was the victim of roid rage today. Hope it was worth your job.”

Hiscoe’s Analysis: The fact that this is the only reported altercation of this kind is actually impressive. With that many fighters all gathering in one place in front of their bosses, I can only imagine the level of sizing-up and posturing that must have been going on. There were many eyewitnesses of what happened between Magana and Cyborg so the truth will get out and if Cyborg threw a punch at Magana without sufficient provocation, her job should be in danger. UFC and Cyborg’s relationship has always been rocky at best, so this could be an easy out for both parties.

This fight aside, it looks like the Athlete Retreat was a fun event for fighters and UFC pulled out all the stops bringing in many speakers including Kobe Bryant and Michael Strahan and having Snoop Dogg put on a show to close out the weekend last night. Hopefully, it was also productive for fighters to voice their concerns and opinions to UFC brass.


-UFC Fighter Kajan Johnson apparently was very outspoken regarding the Reebok sponsorship deal during a seminar at the Athlete Retreat and was escorted from the venue but received applause from those in attendance according to his Twitter timeline. Johnson also had a bit of a back and forth with Al Iaquinta this weekend. Iaquinta called Johnson a “dork” and Johnson replied saying “I’ve been reading your timeline. I think you may actually have a psychological disorder of some kind. Get some help bro, goodnight.”

-Vitor Belfort told Veja Rio that he plans to “leave the UFC, but continue competing,” after his fight with Nate Marquardt at UFC 212 on June 3 from Rio de Janeiro. (SOURCE)

-Floyd Mayweather said over the weekend: “If I do fight, it’s a 90 percent chance it’s against Conor McGregor.”

-Jessica Eye told MMA Junkie radio that she is interested in competing in the newly formed 125-pound division in UFC but “I will not be doing any type of “TUF.”

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/21: Flyweights Moreno vs. Pettis set to headline Aug. 5 Arena Mexico event live on FS1

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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