Cris Cyborg made her long-awaited boxing debut on September 25th against national boxing champion Simone Silva in her hometown of Curitiba, Brazil. Cyborg would end up winning the fight via decision, establishing her as a capable boxer. But what about her ability to draw?
According to a press release, Cyborg’s bout against Silva was a big success. It drew 10,000 paying fans to the Arena Athletico Paranaense, and sold over 100,000 pay-per-views worldwide via Fite.tv and other regional broadcasters.
While 100,000 buys may not seem high to UFC fans used to seeing big fights nearing a million buys, this is a historic first in women’s boxing history. Per PR.com, it’s ‘the first boxing event headlined by a female fighter to surpass 100,000 global PPV buys.’ An April bout between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano dubbed the biggest fight in women’s boxing history aired on DAZN via subscription model, where it drew 1.5 million viewers.
For an independent promoter without established superstars, breaking 100,000 pay-per-views is an impressive feat. And while Cris Cyborg had help due to the low PPV price of $14 and her history as a pioneer of women’s MMA, she can now use that powerful metric to negotiate herself a better deal against other stars of women’s boxing.
Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn has previously expressed interest in setting up a match between Olympic medalist Katie Taylor and Cris Cyborg. Multi-division champ Claressa Shields expressed interest in the fight as well.
Bellator MMA’s Scott Coker also intends to make sure Cyborg remains active in the MMA world as well. While he recently admitted that Cyborg was nearing full free agent status, he was confident in his ability to re-sign her.
“I have every intention to have her on our roster, it’s just we have to sit down and hammer out the deal,” he said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour. “That’s something I feel we will get done when she gets back from Brazil, I think in the middle of the month. But I feel the relationship is solid, and we’ll be in the Cyborg business for many years to come.”
While Bellator has provided a stable home for Cyborg following her ignoble exit from the UFC, they haven’t done a very good job of finding her high profile opponents. Cyborg has gone 5-0 in the promotion against largely unknown opponents.
Women’s featherweight is a shallow division in MMA, and while there aren’t many opponents of equal weight in boxing, there are more women’s boxers willing to give up weight to face a relatively inexperienced opponent who can sell pay-per-views.
What do you think, PENN NATION? Do you want to see Cris Cyborg against bigger names in the boxing world? Or do you think this is all a diversion so Cyborg can avoid a fight against the PFL’s Kayla Harrison? Let us know in the comments!