Former champ remains suspended until December
Former Strikeforce women's featherweight champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos lost her appeal in front of the California State Athletic Commission on Monday.
Cyborg was attempting to get her current yearlong steroids suspension reduced to six months. The Brazilian fighter tested positive for steroids in December following her 16-second win over Hiroko Yamanaka at Strikeforce's San Diego event on Dec. 17. That win was overturned to a no contest and Cyborg subsequently was stripped of her title by Strikeforce.
In her appeal, Cyborg cited the public service announcement she recently gave in a video interview with MMAPrime.tv, her past history of never testing positive, her acceptance and responsibility for the positive test (though she maintains she took a supplement she didn't know had the banned steroid in it) and her apology as reasons her suspension should be reduced from one year to six months.
But ultimately, the CSAC voted to leave its initial ruling intact, keeping Cyborg on the shelf at least until Dec. 16. Whether or not she will be welcomed back to Strikeforce remains to be seen. Prior to her fight with Yamanaka, Cyborg was on the sidelines for nearly 18 months, in part due to a purported contract dispute. If she were to return shortly after her suspension is lifted in December, it would mean that she would have just 16 seconds of cage time – the fight against Yamanaka – in roughly a 30-month span.
But perhaps the most intriguing item to come from Monday's hearing was the disclosure that a fight against current Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was in the works for this summer. According to court documents, part of Cyborg's hope of getting the suspension reduced to six months was that "she anticipates engaging in a bout" with Rousey "in late June or early July." Rousey won the bantamweight belt against Miesha Tate last month in her first fight at 135 pounds after dropping down from 145, where Santos fights. It is not known if a Rousey-Cyborg fight would have been for Rousey's bantamweight title, or perhaps for the 145-pound belt that Cyborg was stripped of after her positive test.
Cyborg reached out to fans on her Facebook page following the CSAC's Monday decision, thanking them for their support.
"I want to thank all my fans, friends, coaches, Legal Counsel, sponsors, who are with me. Unfortunately we could not reduce my penalty. I'm sad ... But after a storm in the morning see the sun shine. Nothing like a day after another day .. Soon will come back better than ever I promise," Cyborg posted.
In her PSA last month, Cyborg also pledged to keep training and to return stronger.
"I have eliminated certain people from my training camp," Cyborg said. "I am taking monthly drug tests at the same laboratory that the CSAC uses to show I do not take steroids. And I am publicly acknowledging my responsibility and want to educate other fighters and the general public on the dangers of steroid use. I believe that everything I did in MMA can be deleted by one mistake. I believe I made a mistake and now is the time to press through the problem and work to make sure it never happens again. … I'm still training. I'm never going to stop. Everything I did for MMA is not going to stop here. I will be back."
Cyborg has not lost a fight, the no contest in December notwithstanding, since her pro debut nearly seven years ago. Since that opening loss, she had gone 10-0 leading into the fight with Yamanaka, with eight of those wins stoppages by knockout or TKO. Her Strikeforce run had been utterly dominant, with a win over Gina Carano to win the featherweight title, then defenses against Marloes Coenen and Jan Finney.
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