The position of Ryan at Fight Linker is fairly easy to explain. He believes Couture's inclusion on the televised portion of the May event is "complete bullshit." Ryan points out that she's there as a name and doesn't deserve to be elevated above other female fighters who have more experience and more advanced sets of skills. Another writer from Fight Linker, Shawn, has a different take on Couture and female MMA as a whole:
What we all need to remember is that until women’s MMA gains some traction here in the states, Strikeforce is going to continue the EliteXC model of promoting women — and rightfully so. They’ll focus on women who are are hot (Michelle Waterson), can kick the shit out of people (Cyborg Santos), or have both of those qualities (Gina Carano). This isn’t different from how we promote male fighters — or how Hollywood promotes celebrities. Looking at it another way, you are either incredibly talented at your craft (Cyborg), you might be fairly average at your craft but have some other quality that makes you valuable (Waterson), or, ideally, you possess the best of both (Gina). When it comes down to it, you need to stand out.
That’s why all the fuss about Kaitlin Young not getting her contract bought out was unwarranted. She got a ton of exposure fighting on CBS and, despite the loss, she put up a helluva fight. She’ll be able to get fights when she’s good and ready. Despite that, with a 4-2 record, fairly average skills, and nothing entirely spectacular about her that would be overly valuable to a promoter, Strikeforce passed. Kim Couture, on the other hand, has serious name value and, if she can start winning, the audience will grow attached to her and want to see her evolve. Think Forrest Griffin coming off of TUF1.
The argument could be made that the girl should get more experience in a prelim fight or two before she gets back on TV, but in a time when Strikeforce is desperate for some name value, putting her right back in the spotlight makes sense. Despite that, it will be complete bullshit if she gets matched up with somebody else who doesn’t want to be in the cage with her. But is the simple fact of Kim Couture getting TV time bullshit? No. It’s good business. And who knows — maybe this time she’s involved in an exciting fight.
Both points of view have their merits. Although, I don't agree with the analysis of Kaitlin Young. The problem, however, with rewarding name recognition over talent is that it doesn't foster the development skilled fighters. Most female fighters are at a distinct disadvantage to Kim Couture. They have virtually no current celebrity appeal, and it could be argued that many aren't as blessed in terms of attractiveness. Obviously, MMA doesn't exist in a vacuum. Appearance and celebrity do, and probably always will, help advance the causes of some over those of the majority. Putting a somewhat popular, attractive fighter with one win and one loss on the televised portion of your show relays some sort of message about your promotion.
The message is clear to me. Strikeforce has inked some great fighters, but not many of them can carry an event. Lawler versus Shields as the main event is a stop-gap measure, and the inclusion of Kim Couture on the main card can be better termed as an act of necessity rather than "good business."
My question is, long-term goals of Strikeforce's female division(s) aside, are fight fans interested in a Kim Couture fight? You know what's next.