Doggy Bag: A Different Standard

Different Standard

By Staff May 10, 2009
Everyone answers to somebody, so we, the staff at, have decided to defer to our readers.

“The Doggy Bag” gives you the opportunity to speak about what’s on your mind from time to time.

Our reporters, columnists, radio hosts, and editors will chime in with our answers and thoughts, so keep the emails coming.

This week, readers weigh-in on a wide range of topics, including weigh-in woes, Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida and the greatest “live” fight Greg Savage has ever seen.

Are female fighters being held to a different standard when it comes to making weight for a fight? First off, people let Gina Carano off the hook for never making weight, and then “Cyborg” [Cristiane Santos] doesn't even bother trying to hit her contracted weight at the last Strikeforce. What gives? We would never accept this repeated lack of respect from male fighters. But since Carano and Cyborg are female, and deal with "female issues,” we let them slide. Don't get me wrong, they are both great fighters, but I feel bad for their opponents who did what they had to do to make weight. Why don't promoters schedule these female fights for when the fighters won't be on their period?
-- Mike

Loretta Hunt, news editor: Mike, I find myself in a unique position to comment on this email because I’m a female. One of my male co-employees urged that I don’t get to graphic, but I don’t think I need to get my points across.

First, I think the reaction to Cyborg’s inability to make weight before her April 11 contest against Hitomi Akano for Strikeforce was in direct relation with Gina Carano’s three missed weight-cutting attempts since September 2007. I think Cyborg got the brunt of the public’s frustration with females missing weight repeatedly, though, in reality, she was matched against a much lighter opponent, one who was going to move down a weight division in her next fight regardless. Also, keep in mind that this was the first time Cyborg missed weight (and I suspect the last.)

That being said, I think all fighters –- male or female –- have a responsibility to take their weight requirements seriously. They have signed a contract. This is a part of their job, and they are certainly letting their employer, the fans and the sport down if they can’t comply for whatever reason.

But here’s where it gets tricky. A female’s body does not run the same way that a man’s body does. Without a change in diet or workout habits, women can gain anywhere from a couple to 10 or 15 pounds in a matter of days. Women’s bodies retain water much easier, making weight loss that much harder. In fact, I doubt any female can lose weight as quickly and efficiently the way a man can dehydrate himself in the last few hours before a weigh-in. Our bodies aren’t constructed to do this, plain and simple.

That said, when a female fighter is offered a fight, she has to think ahead. Will she be able to make weight that weekend? If there is doubt, maybe she should turn that date down and discreetly let the promoter know why. I doubt a promoter would hold this against a fighter and not re-book her. On the other side of the coin, the female fighter should want to be at her best and there are certain times when she isn’t for reasons out of her control.

Promoters can’t book their shows around female fighters, just as they can’t do so with the men to a certain degree. Promoters have to contend with other factors, including venue and pay-per-view/TV broadcast dates. However, they can check in with female fighters and I think it’s reasonable to expect some sense of responsibility and honesty from them.

As more women enter the world of fighting, there will be a larger pool of femme fatales to choose from and I think this problem will work itself out. Until then, it’s up to the handful of lucky female participants to set a good example.
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