Many of you who saw the dominant performance of Santos over Akano on Strikeforce’s first Showtime event this past Saturday, will likely remember Josh Barnett cornering the Japanese fighter. He’s now taken to the Internet via his MySpace blog and crafted a note to all, in defense of Hitomi and against “Cyborg” Santos’ lack of professionalism.
Now, while Josh has not exuded his own aura of clean-cut professionalism in the past (particularly in Kenny Florian’s direction), his defense of Akano and hits several truthful notes which shed light on yet-to-be-discussed aspects of women’s MMA.
Mixed martial arts in general is still young and growing, but it is the women’s matches that are beginning to, and will continue to require better regulation by both the commissions and promotions holding the matches.
Josh’s blog entry in full…
With the menstrual cycle excuse firmly in hand and an unwillingness to do any more than bare minimum, Chris Cyborg stepped on that scale Friday with no intention of making weight I assume. I heard blame on a scale at a gym they used, the period (as explained to me by saying, “Blood” in a Portuguese accent and making a whooshing effect with his hands from the crotch area.), and the fact that Gremlins didn’t enter the picture is surprising.
It would be one thing if Hitomi had cut too but this issue is compounded by the fact that she gained weight to make this fight already, accepting she would be out sized….but accepting it from a weight of 146, not 150lbs. By the time any deals were made, Cyborg hit a scale at 1 am and was 158lbs. This was post pizza, which we saw her eat after just making weight enough to close the gap in weight difference which the commission needed just to even allow a fight to happen. She had until 8pm to cut. She could have worked to insure a bout by trying to make 146 as was agreed. But she did just enough and hoped we would accept the fight. They wouldn’t reject a fight this big and on TV of things…of course not!
Hitomi did at first and I supported her in doing so. But when she decided to fight anyways, I had to support that as well. By the time Hitomi had agreed to fight there had been many attempts to make the fight happen and her mind had not changed. Each time Shannon [Hooper], [Akano’s manager] Shu [Hirata] and I would present the offer and let her know, any choice she makes is OK by us. Each time she said no. When 2 am rolled around and Cyborg’s camp was A-OK with anything that didn’t involve cutting any weight and the deal was lofty…Hitomi eventually agreed. I don’t think money or anything like that was what changed her mind though. Hitomi and [Abe Ani Combat Club teammate] Megumi [Fujii] talked things over and the decision was made.
The fight went on and we all deeply hoped Hitomi would make cyborg pay in the cage. In the end the weight difference was much too much. Hitomi lacked the size and strength to effectively use her techniques and I believe that that is the main and deciding reason why Cyborg won that fight. Cyborg was gassed half-way through the 2nd and if she had had to make 146, I think she would have fainted from lack of 02..or maybe cramps would have been the excuse.
Her victory is hollow and her turning a blind eye to her lack of professionalism is deplorable. Never once was an apology uttered. Never once did I see one act of accountability. I don’t know how to say it in Portuguese but, Cyborg is deserving of no respect and no praise. If you were ever a fan, I’d find someone of better character and better heart.