Onetime UFC bantamweight title challenger Cat Zingano said her decision to pursue a personal project led to a “mutual” decision to leave the promotion.
After MMA Junkie broke the news Zingano had parted with the UFC on Wednesday, ESPN obtained a statement from Zingano which gave her side of the story.
“I didn’t want to take the ultimatum this time,” Zingano stated to ESPN. “So I guess you can say it was mutual. I had a project that was very, very important to me, and to the MMA community and fans, and I needed to put me, my son, my training and that first before I had anything to give to the UFC.
“It’s (expletive) timing, but it happens, and I’m still a fighter and ready to (expletive) (expletive) up,” Zingano continued.
Zingano did not elaborate on the personal project that prompted her to delay her return to the cage, or what the “ultimatum” entailed. Requests for comment to Zingano’s management team were not immediately returned.
MMA Junkie first reported Zingano’s departure, which comes eight months after an unusual loss in the octagon. A fight with former Invicta FC champ Megan Anderson ended in a first-round TKO loss when Anderson’s toe grazed her eye, causing extensive damage that required medical attention for several months.
The pain from her injury was intense, and Zingano said she’d “have a baby 10 times before I’d do that again.” Zingano appealed her loss to Anderson, arguing the definition of eye pokes was not specific enough to address the situation she faced. Her appeal was denied, but the California State Athletic Commission, which regulated the bout at UFC 232, is considering the modification of its regulations as pertains to eye pokes.
Although Zingano has dropped four of her past five bouts, she holds wins over current two-division champion Amanda Nunes, former bantamweight titleholder Miesha Tate, former title challenger Raquel Pennington.