High-profile women’s mixed martial arts bouts are few and far between these days, this past weekend we got one when Miesha Tate was dominated by Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey.
Rousey joined Strikeforce in their 145-pound ranks last August and wasted no time snatching armbars and the public’s attention – Her combination of beauty and trash-talking made her a twitter sensation and a must-see entity.
Now days removed from her 25th birthday the judoka is the ruler of the Strikeforce bantamweight division which could be the only class for the girls to play in down the line.
The women’s featherweight division came to a screeching halt when Brazilian muay-thai striker Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos tested positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid – In return receiving a twelve-month ban from competition and the removal of her title.
Santos took the inaugural title from promotional poster-girl Gina Carano in 2009 making her the highest-profile woman in the sport but without competition the 145-pound division soon turned into a feeding ground for the behemoth.
The positive test is just another black eye to women’s MMA and another reason for UFC figurehead Dana White to wipe his hands with women’s fights in the future.
Before it was safely protected under the Strikeforce umbrella but with Zuffa LLC, the parent company to the UFC’s purchase of the number-two ranked organization it casts a cloud of uncertainty.
Strikeforce were the first major promotion to feature a women’s fight in North America dating back to 2006 and made girls a consistent feature of their events moving forward nabbing some of the top talents in the industry.
Figures have not been release yet on how many peeked the headlining title bout from this past Saturday night at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio but moving forward these are how we will determine the future of women’s MMA.
Strikeforce got a second wind in the closing stages of last year when they came to terms with Showtime Sports to promote up to eight events in 2012 with a contractual option to continue the relationship after that point.
With Dana White voicing his frustrations towards Showtime declining his input after agreeing to have a hands-on involvement in the production of the San Jose based organization it’s just another factor working against Strikeforce and women’s MMA.
The saving grace for women at this point and time might be Rousey, she has a certain magnetism that draws eyeballs in an instant and a professional wrestling influenced promo ability that’s unmatched on the female side of things.
Rousey brings all the tools to the table that Carano did and then some, she has beauty on her side but also brings high-level excitement in the hexagonal cage with natural athleticism, great submissions chops and she displayed overwhelming dominance against the top 135-pound woman the world has to offer.
For the most part women’s fights on Showtime have proven to be a success drawing the third highest number for a television event in Strikeforce history for the aforementioned Carano-Santos fight that peaked with an average of 576,000.
Additionally, Santos would prove as a drawing card moving forward topping 500,000 viewers on two more occasions defending her title and pound-for-pound rank.
The chances of the UFC adding a women’s division to their already bloated roster with eight separate weight-classes is a longshot and best case scenario years from materializing but if Rousey can prove to be a hit over the next few months she could take the organization off life support.
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