Miesha Tate Takes the High Road in Cristiane Santos’ Steroid Scandal: A Fan’s View

When Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos was stripped of the Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight (145 lb.) Championship belt Jan. 6 after testing positive for an anabolic steroid following her fight last month against Hiroko Yamanaka, the immediate future of women’s MMA immediately fell onto the shoulders of Miesha Tate.

Tate, the 25-year-old women’s bantamweight champion at Strikeforce, will likely take the mantle as the face of women’s MMA with Santos suspended for a full year, but she took the high road when asked about the situation. “B4 we all judge Cris Cyborg Santos too harshly let’s all give her a chance 2 make a statement,” Tate tweeted on Jan. 6.

The following day, Tate pleaded with fans to not pass judgment on Santos until all the facts come out. She tweeted “@IziBoy121 @criscyborg Well I personally choose to hear Cyborg out first, I will wait till she makes her statement to make mine.”

On Jan. 7, Santos finally issued an official statement regarding her steroid use after 24 hours of nonstop grilling from fans and the national media. On her Facebook page, Santos said “I would like to sincerely apologize to StrikeForce, the Zuffa organization, Hiroko Yamanaka and my fans for my failed drug test.”

Santos Explains That A Dietary Supplement Caused Positive Result In Steroid Test

The following is an except from Santos’ official Facebook page: “I am ultimately responsible for everything I put in my body, and at the end of the day, there is no excuse for having a prohibited substance in my system. I do not condone the use of any performance enhancing drugs by myself or any other professional athlete, and willingly accept the penalties and fines that have been handed down to me by the California State Athletic Commission and those of the StrikeForce/Zuffa organization.

While I was preparing myself for my last fight I was having a difficult time cutting weight and used a dietary supplement that I was assured was safe and not prohibited from use in sports competition. It was never my intention to obtain an unfair advantage over Hiroko, mislead Strikeforce, the commission or my fans. I train harder than any fighter in MMA and do not need drugs to win in the cage, and I have proven this time and time again.

My only mistake is not verifying the diet aid with my doctor beforehand, and understanding that it was not approved for use in the ring. Unfortunately in the end I suffer the consequences and must accept the responsibility for my actions.”

Miesha Tate vs Ronda Rousey

As of Jan. 7, several MMA media outlets have reported that Tate will take on Ronda Rousey on March 3rd in Columbus, Ohio, for her first title defense. While the fight is not officially confirmed, Rousey seems confident that she’ll be in the cage with Tate very soon. “It looks pretty for sure that it’s going to happen,” said Rousey in a Jan. 5 Sports Illustrated report. “I can’t say for sure when and where until I actually sign the contract, which we haven’t yet.”

Tate’s title defense was likely going to be against either Rousey, who is less than a year into her pro MMA career, or the veteran striker Sarah Kaufman, who has notable wins over Tate, Liz Carmouche and Shayna Baszler, among others. When Kaufman heard speculation that Strikeforce was leaning towards giving Rousey a title shot over her, she was not pleased at all.

“I put in my time and, being the former champ and having had two fights since the only loss of my career, I’ve definitely earned the right to fight Miesha Tate and fight for the 135-pound title with Strikeforce,” Kaufman noted. “Then there’s Ronda, who’s only been fighting for a year. Granted, she has her judo experience, but she hasn’t fought anyone of a high caliber. She’s fought at 145 pounds — hasn’t even competed at 135 pounds at all — and for her to be given the opportunity to fight for the title, it’s pretty ridiculous.”

Does Kaufman Deserve A Title Shot Before Rousey?

Based on talent alone, Kaufman deserved a title shot first, but the March 3 showdown between Tate and Rousey could be a blessing in disguise for her. She’ll likely get a crack at the winner of that match sometime in late-2012, and that fight would be an even bigger event than if Kaufman was to fight Tate or Rousey in March.

Rousey, who has won each of her fights by way of armbar, has an undefeated record, but her standup game is questionable at best. She opens nearly all of her fights with a Judo throw followed by an armbar once she has her opponents on the ground. Some question the level of competition that Rousey was up against, but a win over Tate would quickly quiet her critics.

Tate on the other hand, is a grizzled veteran and winner of six straight bouts against top-level opponents. She won the women’s bantamweight title on July 30, 2011, with a submission win over Marloes Coenen.

Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC and MMA fan. His favorite current fighters are Miesha Tate and Dan Henderson. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.

www.sherdog.com, Sherdog, fighter stats

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *