Do you remember when Cristiane Justino (formerly Cristiane Santos) used to sit atop the totem pole of women's mixed martial arts (WMMA)? It's not like we're talking about ancient history, but it almost feels that way, these days.
For almost five years, "Cyborg" was undefeated, and she wasn't just winning, she was ruthlessly destroying each every woman who dared to enter into the cage with her.
To say she was dominant would be drastically understating matters.
But everything got turned upside down when "Cyborg" tested positive for steroids after defeating Hiroko Yamanaka at Strikeforce: "Melendez vs. Masvidal" in San Diego, Calif. on Dec. 17, 2011. (The win was overturned after her positive test.)
In the very same month, "Cyborg" also split up with her husband of six years, Evangelista Santos, who also fights for Strikeforce.
Justino, who is in currently in the middle of a one-year suspension, sat down with "Inside MMA," along with her translator, to answer a few questions about her positive steroid test, as well as her future in the sport of MMA:
"The product she took was simply to lose weight. She had no idea there was any steroids in it. Her main problem was losing weight, so she did take something to lose weight. She had no idea what was in it. She would never put her career to risk. A person she knew, in Brazil, for a long time, in the camp she was training, offered it to her to lose weight, and that's how she accepted it, and how she found out what happened."
If "Cyborg" is to be believed, she really had no idea the substance contained illegal ingredients. But is that good enough? With all the flack the sport of MMA has taken recently for fighters using performance enhancing drugs (PED), you'd think every fighter would be a lot more careful about using anything at all.
Still, she continued to stick to the script:
"It was a mistake that she made. She totally trusted this person, and this person probably didn't even know what was in that medicine, as well. So, she was totally innocent of what was taking place. She thought she was taking something just to lose weight."
Justino was then asked if she thought the penalty for her transgression was too harsh. Like most of the questions, her answer was circuitous, but she wisely avoided going after the Commission:
"She was saddened, of course, by what took place. She's training very hard, and she hopes after paying the one year that she already did, that she will be able to get in other shows, and that she will be ready to fight."
So what does the future hold for "Cyborg?" For now, she plans on focusing on training hard and competing in whatever events are allowable under the rules of her suspension:
"She's gonna do jiu-jitsu competitions and amateur competitions for a while. Before the event, she had no adversary at all, when this took place. There was nobody for her to fight. She was already without a fight for a year and a half, before this took place."
Only time will tell what the history books will say about "Cyborg." Regardless of the circumstances, she has certainly let down her fans and is part of an unfortunate blemish on the entire sport.
For more on her recent suspension click here.