When Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos demolished her opponent Hiroko Yamanaka in less than a quarter of a minute this last December, it seemed that she turned a corner.
She was seen as the saviour for Women's MMA and the person who would eventually lead it to being taken seriously.
Now that she has been busted for steroids, that isn't going to happen. No matter what she does after this, she will be seen as a dirty fighter who used drugs to get an edge in her fights. The skills she might have had go into question now that fans know it was a drug that helped her win her last match.
And that isn't the only thing fans are going to mull over.
Every single win that Santos has had up until this point is going to be called into question.
Did she really beat Gina Carano, or did she have help?
Was she really able to crush all those other competitors so easily, or was it steroids that made it happen?
Fight fans are fickle. If the smallest discrepancy pops up, then they will scrutinize a fighter's every achievement.
Now it's Santos' turn. She has had her last win overturned and is going to have the ones before it questioned as well.
Did she find a way to get through those drug screenings?
Did how many times did she win on steroids?
What would happen in a rematch with Carano?
These are some of the questions Santos will be faced with when she returns.
Worst is that is damages women's MMA.
She became the face of women's MMA when she beat Gina Carano and then continued to win fights after that. She was changing the perception fans had of what a female fighter needed to be. Instead of needing to be a model who could fight, a woman could just be a fighter.
Some male fans dismissed her, but those were the shallow ones who never watched women's MMA for the skill.
She was making waves and starting to get a buzz for herself and females as fighters in general.
Now, not only has she tarnished that image, but because no one beat her before she did, there is no one else to turn to. There isn't another fighter in women's MMA who has even close to as much impact as she did.
Even if fighters like Ronda Rousey succeed, they can't make the same changes that Santos did.
That is because Rousey is attractive. As painful as it is to admit, it will take a female fighter who isn't considered "attractive" by most of the male demographic to move women's MMA from a sideshow to the pedestal it deserves.
It could have been Santos' legacy.
Instead, it's just another "what if" in the annals of MMA.
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