For the first time in history, two females will be headlining a major MMA fight card. The woman known as the “face of women’s MMA,” Gina “Conviction” Carano (7-0) will square off with rival powerhouse Cris “Cyborg” Santos (7-1) in what is considered the most anticipated female fight of all time.
Not only will it be the first female fight to headline a major event, it will be the first female title fight for any major MMA promotion as the two battle for the Strikeforce 145-pound Female Championship. The card will take place on August 15, 2009 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA. and will air live on SHOWTIME beginning at 10:30 PM ET/PT.
Carano’s popularity is astounding, In a Yahoo! online poll that named the “Top 10 Influential Women of 2008,” Carano ranked fifth, placing ahead of First Lady Michelle Obama and famed journalists Katie Couric and Barbara Walters.
Cyborg is a member of Brazil’s famed Chute Boxe fight squad and trains alongside her husband and fellow Strikeforce competitor, Evangelista Santos (who is also nicknamed “Cyborg”).
Cris Cyborg is on a seven-fight win streak; she lost in her 2005 pro debut and has not lost a bout since. Her last fight was a total domination and TKO victory over the Japanese “Girlfight Monster” Hitomi Akano back in April.
Both Carano and Cyborg have had trouble making their weight limits in the past. Due to this, Strikeforce will be implementing unprecedented monitoring of both ladies’ weight throughout the weeks leading up to their August 15 bout.
Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz was a guest Monday night on THE INFO, the official podcast of PRO MMA (promma.info), and he had this to say about their decision to monitor the weight of Carano and Cyborg, “Yeah, we are definitely going to be monitoring their weight closely. It is a critical fight and it is in our best interest.”
Because it is such an important fight not only for Carano, Santos, and Strikeforce, but for female MMA as a whole, Afromowitz believes the two ladies will remain focused and making weight will not be a problem like it has in the past, “For a big fight like this, we are confident both fighters will make weight. And we are going to watch closely.”
Unquestionably, Carano vs. Cyborg headlining a major Strikeforce event with an undercard filled with men on Showtime is a milestone for women’s MMA. It is proof that women’s MMA is just as exciting and they are just as tough as the men. It is the equality female MMA has been seeking for a long time. Now if they could just get five minute rounds.
(Editor’s Note: Afromowitz hinted at top female MMA fighter Erin Toughill possibly competing on the mid-August card as well. No opponent was named but it seems likely the American Gladiator veteran will be fighting. – For the complete interview with Mike Afromowitz check out the latest episode of THE INFO.)
By: Jack Bratcher/Eddie Constantine