Photo by Dave Mandel via Sherdog.com
Our own Jonathan Snowden walked right up to the hornet's nest and gave it a big whack yesterday when he opined that, "Sarah Kaufman's Dramatic Knockout (Was) Not Enough for Strikeforce Diva". In the interest of fairness (and of squeezing a little more juice out of the debate) here are some counter views.
First off, Matt Bishop of MMA for Real was about the only writer online who was protesting Kaufman's treatment before the fight:
For a group that is supposed to be the leading national promoter of female mixed martial arts in the United States, they sure are treating the women with disrespect.
To see this, you need look no further than Friday's "Strikeforce Challengers" event in Everett, Wash.
The card, which features a Strikeforce women's welterweight championship fight between Sarah Kaufman and Roxanne Modafferi, is headlined by a heavyweight bout between Shane del Rosario and Lolohea Mahe.
That's right, a fight featuring one of Strikeforce's championships is not going on last, continuing the pattern of disrespect shown by Strikeforce and Showtime to its women's division, and in particular Kaufman, who after winning her title in the main event of a Challengers show, is back defending on a Challengers show and isn't even in the main event.
And afterwards, Bishop joined in Kaufman's post fight celebration:
Relegated to the co-main event on a Challengers show, Sarah Kaufman had no choice but to make a big statement in order to improve her standing on the Strikeforce/Showtime hierarchy.
Friday, she did just that.
Kaufman emphatically knocked out Roxanne Modaffari with a head-smashing slam, retaining her Strikeforce women's welterweight championship at "Strikeforce Challengers 9" in Everett, Wash., and earning her way onto a big Strikeforce show in the future.
It's clear earning a spot on a big show was first-and-foremost on Kaufman's mind during her post-fight interview, as one of the first things out of her mouth was how she now deserves to be on the big show.
And she absolutely does. She deserved it even before this win just for being a world champion if nothing else. Now, she's notched her most impressive win against the No. 1 contender.
The ball's in Strikeforce's court now. Will they continue to enrage Kaufman and spit on their own championship by relegating her to Challengers show? Or will they do the prudent thing? The answer seems simple, but simple often is not simple when talking about Strikeforce.
Donna from Gals Guide to MMA commented:
One of the problems that I see here is the fact that Strikeforce created the welterweight division without the talent to back it up. BUT, they did create the division, so they should be promoting it as they do every other championship fight. By giving this fight a back seat, they're kinda saying that it doesn't matter all that much. If the organization doesn't care about it, why should we?
former BE FanPoster turned Watch Kalib Run front pager Black Lesnar (yes I'm a proud poppa of a brand new blogger!) went straight after Snowden:
As an organization, you show commitment to your champions otherwise your belts become worthless. This is not the first time Scott Coker has shown a lack of brainpower in dealing with championships. We all know his 185 lb champion Jake Shields was allowed to go unsigned, his Women's 145 lb champ "Cyborg" Santos fought a journey-woman fighter with a .500 record, Brett Rogers was allowed to compete for the Heavyweight title after coming off a loss and a catch-weight bout was set up between Babalu Sobral and Robbie Lawler to determine the next contender for two different titles and the winner of the match declined to fight the champion.
In Snowden's quest for page views, he over-analyzes a post-fight interview by a frustrated champion who feels she is being under-appreciated. She isn't "throwing [anyone] under the bus", she just wants to be featured in a way that a champion should. She also knows that her on a bigger card means a) more money in her pocket and b) more eyeballs on the burgeoning sport of Women's MMA. Scott Coker has expressed the sentiment numerous times that he is fully committed to the sport of Women's MMA, well he needs to start acting like it.
Personally, having sat through the entire five round snoozefest that was Kaufman's previous Strikeforce fight, I was just glad to see her get a dramatic win. And as a fan I have to say I was more interested in the Del Rosario fight going in and was happy it was the headliner. But after Kaufman's dramatic slam KO win, I'm much more open to seeing her at the top of a card next time.