As if the Cyborg / Akano fight itself wasn’t surreal enough as it was, it only got stranger once the ref decided Akano had gotten enough of a beating. Cyborg got on the mic and, through her interpreters, blamed her weight issues on ‘girl problems’. No, not getting paid less for the same work, although that is another kind of girl problem. I’m talking about her PERIOD.
Since learning that, everyone has shut their mouths about Cyborg missing weight, as if bringing it up now means having to deal with the mental image of her quivering menstrual flow. Perhaps it’s that or perhaps we were all waiting for someone educated in such things to look up whether she was pulling our leg or not. Now here’s MMA Junkie’s resident MD, Johnny Benjamin, with the answer:
In a physiological sense, the female body was created primarily to bear and sustain life (child birth), not to battle. Female physiology produces hormones that promote reproduction and appear to have a deleterious effect on aggressive and/or explosive physical performance. (Review of the literature reveals limited medical research to provide definitive answers to this specific topic.)
The rhythmic levels of estrogen and progesterone that regulate the menstrual cycle cause fluctuations in weight primarily via fluid retention. Also the effects of oral-contraceptive use can lead to further weight gain. For these reasons (and others), simple exercise-related weight-cutting techniques (“sweating it off”) commonly employed by men due not produce the same magnitude of effect in women.
Also, fat reduction in women is difficult since a certain percentage of fat is necessary for normal ovarian hormonal production. Women that fall below a certain fat percentage will temporarily lose their menstrual cycle, which is a condition commonly seen in elite female endurance athletes and gymnasts. Physiologically the female body will not give up the ability to reproduce without a serious fight. So as a female MMA athlete is attempting to cut weight to make her number, her body is fighting against her (not to mention the lost training days, and strength and stamina associated with routine menstrual blood loss).
So there’s two solutions: Strikeforce can start planning events around Cris Cyborg’s menstrual cycle or she can maybe try to keep her weight closer to what she’s contractually booked for in the future. Or here’s a shocking idea: how about people recognize that there are some women fighters who aren’t 135 pounds or 145 pounds. I know a women’s fight at 155 sounds like a porker showdown but guess what: that’s how much some women weigh, and that’s fucking normal. Well, okay … Cyborg isn’t really normal but you get my point.
Anyways, I’m not trying to give Cyborg a pass here. But I’ve started to take more of the attitude that everyone needs to stop trying to jam Gina and Cyborg into lower weight classes like fat feet into a size six shoe. So long as that keeps happening, you’re going to keep seeing them miss weight, and you’re going to keep seeing them fight undersized opponents. So how about we deal with everything at once and just lock them in at 155, please?