Joe Riggs on tomorrow night’s Strikeforce women’s tournament, as quoted in a Strikeforce press release sent out last night: “It’s great. They are always exciting. I saw Miesha (Tate) fight up in Minnesota when I was up there fighting last year and she’s very exciting…That tournament style is hard. I’ve done it and it’s no picnic. You come out with just an hour’s rest a little banged up and you feel injuries you didn’t even know you had during the fight. My hat’s off to them."
Joe Riggs on women’s MMA, as quoted in an SB Nation interview published yesterday: "I don’t know what that girl [Sarah Kaufman] is talking about. She’s lucky to even be on TV…As long as they don’t say things like they don’t want to be on the Challengers card and they want to be main events than they’re good. We’re the show. The men are what people are here to see."
Just as Strikeforce’s last Challengers card featured a relatively meaningless heavyweight bout as the "main event" even though Sarah Kaufman was defending her 135-pound title that night, tomorrow night’s card is officially headlined by Joe Riggs vs. Louis Taylor. We can accept the fact that fight promotion is a sexist business, and you can’t headline a card with a women’s fight (or the finals of a women’s tournament) unless Gina Carano is involved. Fine. And yes, in general, men are "the show" in this sport.
But seriously, Joe? The only reason this particular card is getting any buzz at all is because of that four-woman tournament, and your "as long as those girls know their place" attitude is frankly offensive. Saturday morning, we’ll be talking about the winner of the tournament — the gutsiness of having to beat two opponents on the same night, another milestone for women’s MMA on television. Meanwhile, Riggs will have to do something spectacular to get any attention whatsoever after the show. That’s the reality. MMA fans focus on men, but we also appreciate novelty. Riggs vs. Taylor is just another fight. But Damm vs. Tate vs. Kujala vs. Akano? Now that’s something special.