You might want to grab an eraser for the November 3 date you marked on your calendar. STRIKEFORCE announced an Oklahoma City fight card at the end of July.
Since then the card and promotion jumped in the proverbial hand basket and headed south. Several fighters pulled out due to injury. Showtime in conjunction with STRIKEFORCE cancelled the event on October 12.
No one asked but here is what STRIKEFORCE should do to make it up to fight fans in Oklahoma and across the nation. Find Daniel Cormier a headline worthy opponent, move the event to the BOK Center and stack the card with local fighters.
The official press release cancelling the event made mention of the next big fight card being held in January. However, no city or venue was mentioned. Seems like a Tulsarrific time for our city to make a move.
A popular local fighter STRIKEFORCE could call is Tulsa's sensational Nicdali "The Night Queen" Rivera-Calanoc (8-6). However, Nicdali has her sights set on a specific belt and not a STRIKEFORCE fight at this time.
"My goal is to have the 105-pound Invicta World Title belt," said Rivera-Calanoc. "They are the only promotion that has a world title for my weight class."
Invicta Fighting Championships is a relatively new promotion. Their fight cards feature all-female professional fights. They are based out of Kansas City and seem to have found a nice niche.
"I say in two more fights I will be ready to fight Jessica (Penne)," said Nicdali of the newly crowned atom weight champion. Invicta is the only promotion offering fights to females in the 105-pound weight class.
She has a 1-1 record so far in the new promotion. Her last fight was a decision victory back in July. She looked outstanding. The next Invicta card is set for January and she hopes to be part of it. She has one fight left on her contract.
Born, but not necessarily raised, in Chihuahua, Mexico, she split her high school years between Jenks and Union. Her family moved to Tulsa when she was five.
Athletics have always been a huge part of her life. The diminutive (5'3'') fighter was once a promising point guard. "I was this height in fifth grade," she said. "Everyone thought I was going to be tall."
Her aspirations of playing college ball were over. She quit the team her senior year at Union. Her coach was pissed because she was penciled in as the starter or the sixth man coming off the bench.
Fighting is her passion. She is a hairstylist by day. However, she loves helping young aspiring athletes to this day.
Ultimate Performance Complex, 10909 East 56th St., specializes in strength, conditioning, speed and agility for athletes of all ages. They also offer mixed martial arts classes. It is her home gym as well.
The manager is Travis Calanoc. Her husband, coach and all-around rock once had a promising MMA future as well until double hernia surgery shelved his career last year.
"He has been doing martial arts since he was five," she said. "He has done continuous education. He is studying all the time. It is great for me because I always get the benefit of everything he learns. It has helped me grow as a fighter and as an athlete."
The one drawback? Fight talk is off-limits in the home. They do not even watch fights at home. "We have a rule because it is overkill sometimes."
If you have not noticed by now, Nicdali is a female -- a striking female at that. Striking, of course, having a double meaning in this case.
There is something about two females fighting that illicit responses the men never deal with. You know the standard "cat fight" or "cat call" rhetoric.
"It is more accepted but people still give me crazy looks when I tell them what I do," she said of women's MMA in general. Co-workers refer to her as a nonconformist.
In the combat sports realm, warriors like her best friend Miesha Tate have been giving credibility to all female fighters. The headline bouts on STRIKEFORCE and Invicta have provided the platform for the ladies to showcase their skills.
No matter how hard they fight there will always be a segment of society that dismisses their profession.
"In everyday regular life I don't think it ever will be accepted," she said. "Maybe in 50 or 100 years -- yes. I don't see it changing anytime soon because of the way society views women and violence.
"A lot of people, not people I hang out with, but other people are like 'Oh, you fight? Why would you do that?'"
The simple answer is: Why not? She is talented. She has an appetite to compete. Her looks, as she explained, can be a positive and a negative.
Babes of MMA is her main sponsor. Sponsorship dollars and equipment is vital to all fighters. In this case her looks opened a door for her.
On the other hand it can take away from her actual in-cage performance. She fought Felice Herrig in a competitive, high-level bout. The only attention garnered was of the "epic" stare down at the weigh-ins. Some of the forum comments were NSFW and would make Andrew Dice Clay blush.
"I'm like, did you watch the fight?" she said. "It hurt my feelings a little bit but if we are getting attention then whatever. They will eventually pay attention to my fighting which they have now. I guess I got over it."
She is over it and ready to battle. Invicta atom weights; you are officially on notice.
The Night Queen is on the prowl.
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