Cyborg Stripped of Strikeforce Title; Future of Division in Doubt


Strikeforce champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos will lose her 145-pound title after testing positive for a banned substance on Dec. 16, UFC President Dana White said during a radio interview on Friday.

White also acknowledged that the development has left the future of the Strikeforce women’s featherweight division in doubt.

“We were going to hold that division and just do fights with Cyborg whenever there was a new contender,” White told ESPN 1100 Las Vegas. “She’s getting stripped of the of the title. This pretty much kills the division.”

Santos tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol, also known as Winstrol, in a drug test taken the day before her successful Dec. 17 title defense against Hiroko Yamanaka in San Diego. The California State Athletic Commission learned of the positive test on Dec. 23 and suspended Santos for one year, retroactive to Dec. 16, and fined her $2,500. In addition, the result of her bout with Yamanaka was changed to a “no decision.”

On Saturday, Santos released a statement on her personal website.

“I would sincerely like to apologize to Strikeforce, the Zuffa organization, Hiroko Yamanaka and my fans for my failed drug test,” she said. “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 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.”

Santos did not admit to using stanozolol, however, instead blaming the results of the positive test on a supplement she used to aid with her weight cut.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Since losing her mixed martial arts debut in 2005, Cyborg had reeled off 10 consecutive victories leading up to her meeting with Yamanaka. The Curitiba, Brazil, native hadn’t fought in the 18 months prior due to contractual issues as well as a lack of quality opponents. Cyborg had been dominant under the Strikeforce banner, earning one-sided victories against Hitomi Akano, Gina Carano, Marloes Coenen and Jan Finney since joining the promotion in 2009.

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