A Ronda Rousey–Cris Cyborg Superfight: Will Drama Keep It from Happening?

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Medicine, MMA, Steroids, Strikeforce, UFC, WMMA
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Here’s some more news on the proposed women’s mixed martial arts (WMMA) superfight between current Strikeforce bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, and suspended former Strikeforce featherweight champion, Cris “Cyborg” Santos.

Random Drug Testing and Follicle Testing

Some of the buzz making its way through the MMA internet comes from Darin Harvey, manager for Ronda Rousey. Harvey is making it clear that any contract establishing a fight between his client and Cris “Cyborg” Santos will have to include some fairly strict drug testing requirements if they expect to get Ronda to sign it. Here’s a story by Mike Chiappetta spelling out Harvey’s demands, which include both random testing during the training process, and follicle testing, which would determine whether Santos has been doping during her suspension.

How Heavy?

Another controversy is whether the fight will occur at Rousey’s current division of bantamweight (135 lbs.), Santos’s current division of featherweight (145 lbs.), or at a compromise catchweight of 140 lbs. Rousey is adamant that, as champion, she shouldn’t have to cater to her challenger, so Santos should come to her. Santos responds that Ronda has competed in judo in two different weight classes, Ronda started WMMA at featherweight, and Santos has always had trouble making 145 lbs. In total, asking Santos to reach 135 lbs. is Ronda’s means of ducking the fight she knows she can’t win.

This is all, of course, hype. Santos is currently considering fighting in InvictaFC because there’s no one at 145 lbs. worth fighting in Strikeforce. Her prior claim that Ronda ran to 135 lbs. to duck her would seem hypocritical. Ronda had no reason to stay at 145 lbs. once Santos was suspended. However, Ronda is also making a demand that’s designed to screw with Santos’s mind. Ronda can fight at 145 lbs., but Santos might not be able to fight at 135 lbs. It’s a tactical demand designed to improve Ronda’s chances at wining.

Whose demand should be met? Ronda’s, because she’s the champ, and Santos has every responsibility to come to Ronda for the fight. When and if Santos moves to InvictaFC, right or wrong, she will be perceived as the one that’s running from a fight.

Putting Them Together

Seeing the connection between these two issues shouldn’t require a huge intellectual leap. Santos has had trouble making 145 lbs., but the accusation is that she’s been taking steroids for quite some time now, having only recently been caught. If her weight troubles were the result of her steroids use – something that we don’t know and would be unfair to assume – then a clean Santos might not have problems making 135 lbs. Of course, if the truth is that she’s be doping all along, that truth will never come out, so Santos could avoid 135 lbs. by continuing to claim that doctors have told her not to make the weight cut.


Chiappetta’s article raises another interesting point, though only in passing: The possibility of the fight appearing on a pay-per-view (PPV) event. Whether this would be a Strikeforce PPV or an Ultimate Fighting Championship PPV is an interesting question. Personally, I just want to see the fight; however, Zuffa knows that Ronda is sure to sell PPVs and, the fight would generate mainstream media coverage that Zuffa doesn’t generally get. From Zuffa’s perspective, the smart move might be to have the “Strikeforce” women’s bantamweight title headline a UFC card. This could give a title fight to a card that otherwise wouldn’t have one, improving an otherwise dismal PPV draw.

Just my 2¢.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Strikeforce on Twitter @Strikeforce
Follow Ronda Rousey on Twitter @RondaRousey
Follow Cris “Cyborg” Santos on Twitter @criscyborg
Follow Mike Chiappetta on Twitter @MikeChiappetta


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