Cat Zingano admits she’s in an ‘awkward situation’ with Bellator division, Cris Cyborg uncertainties
Cat Zingano is in unusual territory.
Currently No. 1 in the official Bellator women’s featherweight rankings, Zingano (13-4 MMA, 3-4 BMMA) doesn’t really know where she stands beyond the fight that’s in front of her at Bellator 293.
“I was told the last couple fights I was going to be fighting for the title,” Zingano recently told MMA Junkie. “I believe (Cris) Cyborg’s contract went out, so she’s not signed to Bellator anymore. Technically, she’s a free agent. I want to say there’s something going on there because she left and went to boxing. She was doing all these other things where they weren’t sure what the next step was going to be in the division. I know she was negotiating with other companies. So I was kind of left wondering when it was going to start. I thought it was going to be against her.”
Zingano, 40, will fight Leah McCourt (7-2 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) in a title eliminator Friday at Bellator 293. The event takes place at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, Calif.. The main card airs on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.
The bout will be the three-round co-main event, but Zingano revealed the initial plan was to fight for an interim title.
“I think I was told after my last fight, even at that press conference, that I was going to fight before the holidays last year,” Zingano said. “Then, they kind of came and went without a plan. Then, I was told the fights were done for the year and to wait for January. January was going to be the plan and then January didn’t happen. So then it was February. And here we are, end of March, so I can’t care. It is what it is. I would prefer for it to be shorter in between but what can you do? Sometimes, the schedule doesn’t work out or matchmaking doesn’t work out.
“I’m ready and here for March 31. This is what I have on my hands. I just want to know if I’m training for a three-round fight or a five-round fight. Right now, it’s regular three rounds. There’s only so much you can control about it, so I was just told what I was told and here I am.”
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With Cyborg’s negotiations looming large over the Bellator women’s featherweight division, the future of the division as a whole is uncertain. According to Scott Coker, the promotion has some contractual ties to Cyborg until August, though the exact extent of those terms is unknown. Both parties have publicly expressed interest in continuing to work with each other going forward, but a deal has not been done since Cyborg most recently fought in MMA in April 2022.
As Zingano said, all she’s focused on is what she can control – even if most of the x-factors at the current moment are outside of it.
“It’s just an awkward situation, on one hand, to be getting called out and saying I’m dodging someone, even though I’ve worked my way up to be (champion),” Zingano said. “Meanwhile, that person is not even with the promotion. It’s just odd and awkward and seems like a little bit crazy. We’re going through the motions. I’m excited about this fight coming up. I can’t care about anything else. I’m 10 days out from fighting this girl I have respect for and that I think is going to be a great fight. That’s all that matters right now.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 293.