Promoted from the Fan Posts by Kid Nate.
On April 11, 2009, Christiane "Cyborg" Santos fought Hitomi "Girlfight Monster" Akano in a women’s mixed martial arts contest. Both women displayed an impressive skill set and Akano was stopped in the third round. This was the first Strikeforce card to be aired live on Showtime. A small step for mixed martial arts, a giant leap for female MMA. Too bad it was a total joke.
We watched as Santos dominated the fight. She threw Akano around the ring, fearlessly flurried her with punches and treated her to more than a little ground and pound. When Akano wasn’t desperately trying to take Santos down, she was running backwards. She worked constantly to isolate an arm or a leg in a vain effort to secure a submission. Akano displayed heart and grit and an ability to survive two and a half rounds of punishment from one of the worlds most repected MMA fighters.
It was the outcome everyone expected and no one wanted to see. At the weigh-in one day earlier, Santos tipped the scales at 152 pounds for the scheduled 145 pound contest. Akano was 143 pounds. The fight was nearly called off, but Santos managed to sweat off 1.5 pounds and behind the scenes Strikeforce sweetened the deal for Akano, who is a natural 135 pound fighter.
These women deserve better. At what could be the peak of her career, Santos deserves a proper challenge. Akano, presently at the tail-end of her trailblazing career, deserves a fair fight. If Strikeforce wishes to include female fighters on their roster, then they owe it to them to treat their matchmaking with care. I understand that it is likely difficult to find big, skilled, female mixed martial artists willing to face the likes of Cyborg. But to just pluck a star from overseas and try to cram them into a ridiculous matchup is an insult to the fighters and mixed martial arts in general.
So, thank you, Strikeforce. People like me who care about women’s MMA wish to see talented women involved in televised events. These same people also need to take a closer look at the problems with the organization, promotion and politics of the sport. Now we know what needs to change. The question is, does anyone care enough to change it?