Women get 5-minute rounds in Strikeforce

After receiving approval from the Washington and California State Athletic Commissions, the next two scheduled female MMA bouts on Strikeforce cards, taking place respectively on June 19 and Aug. 15,  will be contested in five-minute rounds according to a press release PRO MMA (promma.info) received from the promotion on Tuesday.

Until now, three-minute rounds were the norm for most female fights in the United States. Strikeforce Rules Director Cory Schafer explained where the three-minute rounds for women came from, “…limiting each round to three minutes in duration was designed (by state athletic commissions) as a safety measure for the protection of less experienced fighters, with no designation for gender. It was never intended as a gender bias against female professionals…”

Schafer also talked about the importance of longer rounds when it comes to fighters’ strategy, “Use of this standard will level the playing field for (the) female athletes in providing them with the time necessary to develop and execute their striking and grappling strategies in each round.”

The ladies have been clamoring for five-minute rounds for a long time and finally they will get their wish. This Friday, June 19, Shayna Baszler (9-5) will take on Sarah Kaufman (8-0) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington as part of the Strikeforce Challengers event which will air on Showtime. They will be the first women who get to take advantage of the new extended time limit.

Kaufman spoke about this milestone for women’s MMA, “This is a great opportunity for Shayna (Baszler) and me to have this happen before our fight.  I am always ready to go five-minute rounds and I know Shayna will also be ready. More importantly, this is long-awaited recognition that we are competing at the highest level of the sport.”

The next female MMA bout who will get to the opportunity to fight with Strikeforce’s new five-minute rounds will actually  be the most anticipated female fight in MMA history, Gina “Conviction” Carano (7-0) vs. Cris “Cyborg” Santos (7-1).

“Carano vs. Santos”, which will take place on August 15, will be for the very first Strikeforce Women’s Championship and will have a time limit of five, five-minute rounds. Not only that, but it will be the first ever female MMA fight to headline a major fight card (filled with men). “Strikeforce: Carano vs. Santos” will air live on Showtime from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Carano spoke about the standard Strikeforce is setting for women’s MMA, “It is great that the largest stage females have in MMA is setting a solid foundation in implementing five-minute rounds. I feel Strikeforce is taking female fighters seriously, which means we will be seeing some amazing fights in the future and I am honored to be a part of it.”

By:  Jack Bratcher