With or without Cyborg: Scott Coker on future of Strikeforce women's 145-pound division

If you're a mixed martial arts (MMA) fan and haven't been living under a rock, you've surely heard the news regarding the failed drug test by Strikeforce women's 145-pound champion "Cyborg" Cristiane Santos.

After years of looking of looking invincible while mowing down her opposition, a fairly major hit was taken by the former champion when it was revealed that she had tested positive for steroids. According to Santos, she was taking some kind of dietary supplement and was unaware of any illegal substances therein.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker joined the guys at "Inside MMA" (via telephone interview) this evening to react to all of the events of the past few days.

Hear what he had to say after the jump:

"She's (Santos is) gonna be stripped of her belt and her title. And, you know we're gonna let the California State Athletic Commission do their due process. But you know, like, when little situations like that happen, when fighters were caught using steroids, they're (usually) gonna be out for a year. In that time, we're gonna be looking for another 145-pound title holder, and I think we're gonna move on. If she's out for a year, it might mean she's out for a year and four months. It might mean she's out for a year and six months before she can come back and fight. She will lose her belt. It's a penalty you pay and she's gotta be held accountable. I think she feels bad about what happened, and most likely, the situation that she's saying, she took the supplements and she didn't know she was taking (steroids), but at this point, you have to look at what the California State or Nevada State Athletic Commission says is not legal and a fighter has to abide by those rules and regulations like everybody else."

Coker was asked by "Inside MMA's" Bas Rutten about whether or not he felt the penalty for a failed drug test was stiff enough.

Though he didn't directly answer the question, he voiced his opinion that fighters who do get busted for steroids certainly are punished for their misdeeds.

"If it's the first time and you didn't know, well, it's a one-year penalty. Not fighting for a year. You guys know: That means a lot of money in the MMA world. 'Cyborg' is gonna be without pay for a year. By the time she comes back, it could be a year and six months before she can fight again. That's gonna cost her a lot of money. Who knows, in endorsements, what that might cost the athlete. I think a year is good, but maybe there should be a bigger fine. If you get caught again, I think the situation would be a ban for a while. I'm not sure what that ruling is, but I'm pretty sure it's hefty to get caught one more time. It's why I always encourage the fighters to stay off the supplements."

One thing Coker did not equivocate on was the fact that Santos should have known better. While he feels bad for his former champion, he's puzzled as to how she could have made the mistake:

"That's the way I understand it and they're very clear. I think you can even go on the website and you can look up every supplement and see what's illegal. I don't think you can even take caffeine, before your fight. They're very tricky about their rules and supplements and anything that's a stimulant. They consider ephedrine or anything that's a fat burner or weight loss product -- they consider that a stimulant."

Directly after Santos' positive drug test, there was immediate speculation of a possible dissolution of the women's featherweight division.

Coker went on record as saying that he disagrees with this move and that he believes the division can successfully go on without her:

"You know what? We're gonna talk to Sean (Shelby) and the guys and talk this whole thing over. This all happened so quickly over the weekend. We were focused on our event. I think by the end of the week, we'll probably have some gameplan of what we're gonna do. I do know there's some fighters at that weight class, at 145, that can compete at a very high level. Finding girls to compete at 145 from all over the world, that's not gonna be a problem. I think it's just gonna be a conversation with the guys from Vegas and just see what they wanna do."

Should the Strikeforce 145-pound division keep on trucking without "Cyborg?" At this point, does it even matter to you?

Opinions, please.

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