Viewers have grown accustomed to a certain level of production from MMA telecasts. How can we forget the reaction shot of UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva when Chael Sonnen cut a pro wrestling promo and challenged “The Spider”, to what was essentially a “loser leaves town” match, at UFC 136? This sort of production was missing this passed weekend when Ronda Rousey went on her anti-“Cyborg” diatribe after submitting Sarah Kaufman in the Strikeforce cage. While no one really questioned as to why the Chute Boxe fighter, who was shown in the crowd earlier, was not put on screen, it turns out the reason is far more than a simple deviation from the customs of presentation.
According to the former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion, the California State Athletic Commission actually forced her to leave her seat. She told Tatame;
“I watched all fights but the last one, Ronda’s, a woman working the event came to tell me I had to leave because the commission doesn’t accept suspended athletes on the shows. My manager talked to the guys at the commission and there’s really a law that says that. I was upset for the way they treated me. They could’ve pulled me on a corner and told me, not in front of the fans. I was taking pictures and they interrupted me, saying I had to go. It was very disrespectful. I believe a champion deserves to be treated with respect. Everyone knows an athlete’s life isn’t easy, so all fighters deserve respect. When I was in Brazil, I watched UFC and there was no problem.”
This seems unprecedented. Typically, those who have been deemed persona non grata at an event are simply not shown on camera. While it was obviously too late for that, as Strikeforce was pumping up the beef between Rousey and “Cyborg”, one would be hard-pressed to find reports of a fighter being barred from the building because of a suspension, especially when they are simply playing the role of a fan for the night.