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Cyborg Tested Positive for Steroids. Now What?

posted by Wombat Sports
Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 2:03pm EST

Wombat sports is dedicated to women in combat sports. Former news editor of “Fightergirls” MarQ Piocos has been covering Women’s MMA for over three years, having picked up coverage of wrestling, boxing, and grappling. It is his vision to bring some of the best coverage to help bring and promote the ever expanding popularity of women’s MMA, wrestling, and martial arts with some of the best writers and athletes.

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Cyborg vs. Yamanaka - SI.com

The big story in MMA Friday was the California State Athletic Commission suspending Strikeforce champion Cris “Cyborg” Santos for one year and fining her $2500 for testing positive for steroids after her match with Hiroko Yamanaka.

Some of the immediate results are that her match with Yamanaka is now a no-contest, and Cyborg will be stripped her #1 spot on the Unified Rankings in February; giving that spot to the afore mentioned Yamanaka.

This is only the second time in the women’s divisions in which someone tested positive for steroids. (Carina Damm was the first in 2008.) We have yet to hear from Cyborg’s camp; which has a lot of fighters undecided on what to think. Strikeforce is also cautious about what to say, but did put out a statement:

“Strikeforce has not seen the test results regarding Ms. Santos. However, we have a consistent and strong stance against any use of performance-enhancing drugs. We also have a long history of supporting effective drug testing of athletes by authorized regulatory bodies.”

“Therefore, we will closely monitor the matter and will work with the California State Athletic Commission regarding any information we may be asked to provide. We also recognize that Ms. Santos has administrative process rights under California law and we hope that she is not prejudged before she has the opportunity to exercise such rights.”

A lot of websites have been making this a bigger deal in what this means for all of the women’s MMA divisions thenh they really should. According to Michael David Smith of MMAFight.com -

“This is bad news for Cyborg, Strikeforce, Showtiime and for all of women’s mixed martial arts.”

“Women’s MMA, which is struggling just to survive, just saw one of its highest-profile fighters get a major black eye.”

I disagree with Smith’s statement as other fighters are picking up the slack with Gina Carano’s absence from the sport and now Cyborg’s suspension. The media has been over-reactive whenever a major story hits when it comes to women’s MMA. When Carano lost, the media was stating that women’s MMA wouldn’t survive. When Strikeforce was bought by Zuffa, again, it looked like dooms day for WMMA. In both cases, it survived. It will survive without Cyborg for a year.

In terms of popularity, Ronda Rousey and Strikeforce champ Miesha Tate are proving they can draw just as good as the big boys. The media are already starting the call Rousey “The Face of Women’s MMA”. Just because you lost one major player doesn’t mean there aren’t others ready to make that jump into the spotlight.

Some more fallout comes from Zuffa co-head Dana White, who stated that Cyborg would be stripped of her 145 belt and ending the Strikeforce 145 pound division. This isn’t huge news seeing that White had made it clear that Cyborg was “the division” in a statemnent a month ago talking about Strikeforce’s renewal with Showtime. This just gave White an excuse to drop it all together.

If there is a silver lining to all of this; it’s that the 135 pound division will have that much more focus in 2012. With the ever deepening pool of fighters dropping from 145 to 135, the division is becoming the one to focus on this year.

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but female fighting is here to stay. Just because one major fighter test positive for steroids doesn’t mean the end of a whole sport. Male fighters test positive all the time, and this is only the second time a female MMA fighter ever has. That says something.

So stop over-reacting.


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There is 1 comment on this post. Join the discussion!

madiq says:

I do think it is bad for women's MMA that one of the top female names, and the most dominating figure in the women's side of the ledger tested positive for steroids. Female athletes constantly deal with the perception that they are less "feminine" than they should be, and in MMA, none have personified this more than Cyborg. Now that she is linked to steroids, these attacks can be shrouded within the pretextual rubric of being "tough on PEDs." Her muscled frame can now be derided as "manly" with concerns about steroids being the cover. Her wins can now be dismissed as "women fighting a man," or some other nonsense, and the NEXT Cyborg should expect the same kind of scrutiny and derision. Given that the women's divisions could use an infusion of new talent, anything that may deter that talent from joining the sport should be lamented.

Furthermore, allowing Strikeforce to consolidate its female talent under 135 will make it simpler for Zuffa to procure and develop contenders within the division. But losing one of its most visible female stars through suspension right after a protracted layoff related not to health but due to a contract dispute will likely result in Strikeforce severing ties with her permanently. After all, Marloes Coenan was collateral damage from Zuffa's issue with Golden Glory. Why wouldn't Dana White and Co use this as a PR-friendly way to exile an "uppity" female talent, regardless of whether she returns from her suspension capable of making 135 pounds? And again, the slur of "roider" is sufficient deterrent for any other promoter who would consider signing the star. Like it or not, she is now "damaged goods," and in a way, so is women's MMA. Not "dead," just "damaged."

Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 11:52am EST

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