MMAFighting.com is reporting that the California State Athletic Commission has suspended Strikeforce 145 lb champion on the ladies side, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos for the use of steroids. Santos was widely considered the top women’s mixed martial artist in the world, so the news is being viewed by some observers as quite a blow. Women’s MMA is in a state of limbo currently, with the UFC not committing to it, leaving Strikeforce as the leading brand for the ladies. Well, Strikeforce is putting on a 7 fight show tonite, without a single women’s fight. Many are seeing the news of Cyborg’s positive test as a possible killing blow to the already shaky women’s divisions. I don’t think that will be the case, however. Here is why…
To keep it simple, the UFC has taken a patient approach to developing the bantamweight, featherweight and flyweight divisions, and they will do the same with the women’s league. It’s about the money.
Yes I think that a women’s league can survive and thrive. Since April of 2002, when the first ever all women’s MMA event on American soil was run by Indiana’s HOOKnSHOOT, the women have developed very well. Currently in the United States, Bellator FC and Strikeforce have both continually booked women’s fights and the fights have been compelling, and though many are now defunct, there has been a large number of organizations in the last decade that have presented women’s MMA. The skill level of the fighters has continually risen, and the fact is that because of the differences between men and women in strength and flexibility, women have displayed a lot more technical MMA than on the men’s side.
Then along comes a ‘Cyborg’ who just clobbers people. Be honest with yourselves, who among us has not had the thought or uttered a sentence that associated ‘Cyborg’ with steroids? As one of my favorite comedians would say “I’ll wait” while you mull that one over. The answer is none of us! My point is that the talent is deep enough among the women, that ‘Cyborg’ is not needed. Suspend her a year, who cares?
It was on the Overeem-Lesnar UFC broadcast, and it was barely noticeable , but they mentioned Gina Carrano, named her one of the top Women’s MMA artists during the plug. I don’t remember what it was for, but in a tightly controlled ship like the UFC, I think the mention was a good sign for the future of women’s MMA.
Women now compete in Judo, Boxing, BJJ and probably an entire world full of other combat sports, and they will succeed in MMA today.
The UFC will likely wait a few years, and allow the women to continue developing on the other shows. At some point, a superfight will develop and the UFC will step in. I think a natural to help the women along would be to feature them in a future season of TUF. That is how it should start….