Beauty, brawn in Strikeforce main event

Ronda Rousey attends the Strikeforce: Tate v Rousey Press Conference on March 1, 2012 in Columbus,...

Ronda Rousey attends the Strikeforce: Tate v Rousey Press Conference on March 1, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Esther Lin/Forza LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jose Rodriguez, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

It really is a double standard.

Not to sound prudish, but two amazingly talented fighters will take to the cage Saturday and everyone from the promoter to the fighters themselves are focused more on their looks than their ability.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that when you cater to an overwhelmingly young male audience, having attractive women in the mix is just smart business.

The UFC features scantily clad Octagon girls who walk around the cage holding up numbered cards between rounds. Some of them are bigger stars than the fighters.

For Strikeforce, those women are inside the cage.

In what’s being billed as the biggest women’s MMA fight since Gina Carano took on Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos more than 2½ years ago, bantamweight champ Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey will headline the Strikeforce event in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

And, yes, much of the talk has revolved around sex appeal.

“When you see two girls that pretty much look like Xena: Warrior Princess going at it, that was a show on TV for a reason. People want to watch it,” says Rousey, a 25-year-old former Olympic judo medallist.

The card will also include Josh Thompson taking on K.J. Noons and Paul Daley fighting Kazuo Misaki.

There has been some controversy over Rousey — who has only been fighting as a pro for a year — getting a title shot this early in her career.

There is little doubt she is lethal. She is undefeated and has won all four of her fights by armbar. Her longest scrap lasted a mere 49 seconds.

The natural top contender is Victoria’s Sarah Kaufman, who has been relegated to the undercard to make room for Rousey, despite sporting a 14-1 record.

Rousey, apparently, makes for a better poster and a more marketable contender because of her looks.

Tate says she reluctantly understands that sex sells.

“I’m not in denial about that,” says the 12-2 champ.

“I understand the logistics behind it and why this fight would want to be put together and how it has the ability to do bigger things than if Sarah Kaufman and I were fighting each other.

“Just the hype, the selling points, the marketing points — I understand all of that, because it’s not just a sport. To me, the sport is the most important part. But honestly, like I said, if nobody wants to watch it, it’s more of a detriment than anything else.”

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said that while the two women are attractive, they’re also lethal.

“The two girls are easy on the eyes,” Coker says. “But these girls are very dangerous, too.”

FIGHTERS BUTT HEADS AT WEIGH-IN

The fight almost started a day early. At Friday’s weigh-ins for Strikeforce Tate vs Rousey, Miesha Tate bumped heads with Ronda Rousey as the two fighters faced off after weigh-ins. Rousey responded with a strong shove before the two were pulled apart. All 18 fighters for the card made weight.

COUTURE JR. HITS CAGE

In the undercard of Saturday’s Strikeforce event will be a familiar name. The last name at least. Randy Couture’s son Ryan will face Conor Heun. Ryan Couture, a 29-year-old lightweight, has a 3-1 record as a pro.

BRUISED BENSON SUSPENDED

Benson Henderson received a six-month medical suspension following his UFC 144 title win over Frankie Edgar. Henderson is suspended for possible hand and foot fractures. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will be sidelined for the same length of time due to knee injury. Edgar, Joe Lauzon, Yushin Okami, Cheick Kongo and Tiequan Zhang all received precautionary suspensions of 45 days.

ULTIMATE GLOBAL GROWTH

UFC president Dana White says Australia, the Philippines and India will be next to host The Ultimate Fighter competitions.


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