Cristiane Santos and The Cyborg in The Room

The heavy jaw. The thick neck. The broad, muscular shoulders. The fearsome aggression and overwhelming power. It has always been obvious to observers that Cris 'Cyborg' Santos had a little bit more male in her than other women. This little advantage was parlayed into a fearsome fighting reputation and 11-fight winning streak, which left her decimated opponents strewn in her wake and marinating in the bile of defeat. But now, they may be having the last laugh, as Cris has been revealed to be nothing more than a steroid-enhanced drug cheat.

Many are shocked, but few are surprised. Cyborg's masculinity has always been plain to see. However, most people consciously or unconsciously assumed she was just genetically lucky, like Olympian javelin hurler Fatima Whitbread, or World Champion runner Caster Semenya, two other female athletes with pronounced masculine traits and invincible athletic prowess. But now that we know Cris's ferocity was Stanozolol-derived (the drug results in virilization and masculinuzation even at small doses), the big unanswered question- the elephant (or cyborg) in the room- is, how long has this been going on, and does it discredit every fight Santos has ever won?



Cris Santos wasn't always so dominant. Despite exploding into the match with her characteristic aggression, she lost her first professional fight by submission to Erica Paes in less than two minutes:

Her second fight was not typical of her later symphonies of destruction either. She was knocked down by the significantly smaller Vanessa Porto less than 30 seconds into the fight (see at 0:44 in the video below) and put into a rear choke. Despite dominating the rest of the fight, Santos was unable to knock out or submit the diminutive Vanessa, relying on her superior size and aggression to bully her smaller opponent over three rounds.

Cris's supporters argue that she was a young, inexperienced fighter at the time, just warming up for the orgy of destruction that was to come. Perhaps. Or perhaps, maybe she was just beginning, or had not yet begun, the extended diet of anabolic steroids that was to transform her into something half man, half machine and barely woman. Whatever the case, after the Vanessa Portos fight, she won only one of her subsequent ten fights by decision: everyone else was beaten into submission within the distance.

If you believe Santos' cheating was a recent phenomenon, as evinced by the fact that she hasn't failed a drug test until now, you would have to be arguing that her phenomenal physical gifts are purely the result of genetics and training. However, now that we know she has had some chemical enhancement, it is hard not to suspect that her earlier performances were pharmacologically-boosted. Her first five fights were in Brazil, and while I wouldn't want to impugn the country as a whole, it has had its share of doping scandals. Also, athletes who cheat don't start doing so when they're already at the top of their game- they don't need to. They do it to get to the top in the first place. This logic would suggest that Santos has been juicing for a long time. And when someone gives the ridiculous and overused "my trainers gave me a dietary supplement I was told was ok" defense, the old bullshit radar starts buzzing loudly.

I admit this line of reasoning is speculative and circumstantial, and we will never fully know the truth. She may indeed have been juicing all along, but remained one step ahead of the testing regimes, calculating that the benefits of cheating outweighed the risks of getting caught. Many famous cheats, like Ben Johnson and Marion Jones, evaded detection for extended periods. This would raise the uncomfortable question: if her appearance and performance are drug-enhanced, how could she have been allowed to get away with such blatantly obvious cheating for so long?

On the other hand, she may have been clean, and succumbed to the Devil's prompting just this one time, being caught during her first offence. All we are left with is our opinions. I personally believe she has been cheating for a long time. Her dominance was driven not by superior technique, but by superior strength and aggression- the very things that Stanolozol delivers, being a synthetic testosterone. Testosterone is the reason most of the world's violent crime is committed by men. And I mean- just look at her.

Whatever the case, I bet Gina Carano is feeling very smugly vindicated right now. Schadenfreude- it's the best revenge.

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