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Weighting Over, Cyborg vs. Akano is On Tonight

Written by Tom Ngo
April 11th, 2009
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After initially missing her required weight limit of 146 pounds, female MMA superstar Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos will indeed be taking on Hitomi Akano  tonight at “Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz.” Although, the controversy continues.

Surprisingly, when Santos first stepped on the scales with all of the other contestants, she weighed in at 152 pounds, an astounding six pounds over the limit. Akano checked in at 143.5 pounds.

Cyborg was immediately fined 20% of her purse. Akono and the California State Athletic Commission are each 10% richer because of her monstrous error.

The Commission granted the Chute Boxe fighter until 8PM PDT on Friday to cut down to 149.5 pounds. Under CSAC rules, a catch-weight bout can not take place if the heavier fighter outweighs  the smaller competitor by more than six pounds.

If Cyborg was unable to sweat out the rest of the water, the Commission would be forced to scrap the bout.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned after it was discovered the best Cyborg could do was 150 pounds, which then required Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker to work his magic with not only the CSAC, but with Akono and Co as well.

They negotiated into the wee hours of Saturday morning.

“All I can say is that Strikeforce and Mr. Coker offered her something very reasonable and we appreciate his effort as well,” said Hirata at the conclusion of negotiations at 2AM PST. “Of course as a fighter she always wants to fight but she wanted to get the right conditions to make that happen, that’s all.”

Surprisingly, the toughest part was not to convince the Commission to sanction the bout at 150 pounds, it was Akano and her camp insisting on being properly compensated for taking a fight in which she will be at a clear disadvantage.

“We felt that maybe fans and [the] public should know what really happened, and by her fighting it relayed more of a message to the public and also gives her credit for having the heart of a warrior, because she will step in even though it is a big disadvantage now,” stated Akano’s manager. “I asked Mr. Coker to do that and he promised it will be addressed on the broadcast and I think it’s important to tell the story behind it.”

So they will fight on, however resentment towards Cyborg still resides in Akano’s camp. They are convinced that Cyborg never intended to cut the extra weight, believing that they and Strikeforce would eventually be forced to fold their hand and allow the fight to continue regardless of her weight.

“I hope from this instance people understand that making weight is very, very important,” stated the disgruntled Hirata. “That is one of the professional rules you are going to have to follow to be a professional fighter.”

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