Strikeforce and Showtime should be ashamed of themselves.
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 Kaufman is not happy, nor should she be. Here's what she wrote at PrettyToughFighter.com:
Cookies and Man Parts ...seem to be the 2 things that will get me on a main Strikeforce card...that and learning how to shake my assets I am currently the Strikeforce Women's Welterweight Champion...yet I fought for the title on a Challengers Card. Now, I am set to defend said title against Roxanne Modafferi in just a few days - again - on a Challengers Card.
I know that it's going to be a fun and challenging fight...and I always welcome that. Roxanne has been around the sport for a long time and will come game to fight; however, I need to take this fight and make a statement.
That statement will be: I deserve to be on a main Strikeforce Card because I am a talented, exciting FEMALE fighter at 135lbs! I will NOT eat a ridiculous amount of cookies to make 145lbs JUST for the opportunity to be on a main card and growing man parts... well that would just be ridiculous :D
Many people, myself included, thought the Cris Cyborg/Gina Carano fight was a turning point for women's MMA in this country. Now, here we are nearly a year later and it turns out the Strikeforce women's division really should've been named the Showtime "Gina Carano Division" because that's what it's turned out to be.Since that fight last August, there's been only two female fights on the televised card of main Strikeforce shows, both Cyborg title defenses. That's it. In that time span, Strikeforce has run six Challengers shows and those featured only a combined four female fights on television.
Just plain pathetic.
Right now, pretty much all Strikeforce belts are meaningless. Kaufman's, unfortunately, means the least of them all. A title that almost nobody knows about that can't even be the main event on the promotion's B-show. I feel sorry for her. All she does is go out and fight her hardest and she's continually crapped on by her employers.
It epitomizes Strikeforce/Showtime's attitude to female MMA.
I wrote following the Cyborg/Carano fight that, "Those who cheered and loved Carano aren't going to hate Cyborg - they are going to love Cyborg. And when she gets back on CBS - the same entity that made her a star in the first place and set up this fight - she will be one of the top 10 most popular fighters in the sport."
Well, that's all fine and dandy except Strikeforce has dropped the ball and she hasn't been featured on either of Strikeforce's CBS shows.
What's the point of either of Strikeforce's women's titles then?
So thank you very much Showtime for apparently bailing out on female MMA after Carano lost. Thank you Strikeforce for not standing up for what is right and prudent. Both of you should be ashamed for taking something that had the chance to be unique and hot and completely extinguishing it by constantly mismanaging it.
Now, all you are is UFC Lite. A promotion with none of the sizzle and none of the steak of the UFC. One that constantly devalues its championships and makes head-scratching decisions seem normal.
It's taken time to learn these lessons, but unfortunately, things like this have become Strikeforce's M.O. It's sad to see a promotion with so much promise to be different than the UFC wash it all away trying to be like the UFC.
The decision by Strikeforce to not make Kaufman/Modafferi the main event of the show, not to mention it even being on a Challengers show in the first place, is insulting to the fighters and the fans. A championship, regardless of its perceived value, deserves respect. I don't care if its the NABF strawweight title in boxing or the MFC middleweight championship in MMA. A title fight should headline a show.
And there's no excuse for Kaufman's title to not headline Challengers. If del Rosario is such a hot prospect, he should be on a main Strikeforce show, the same exact place Kaufman should be defending her championship.
This is just another instance in a long line of ludicrous decisions made by Strikeforce and Showtime.
Sadly, it's par for the course.