Shooto Brazil plans on making history on Dec. 20 when Emerson Falcao takes on Juliana Velasquez at Shooto 45 in a mixed-gender fight.
Yes, you read that right. A man will be competing against a woman in a professional MMA bout.
Shooto President Andre Pederneiras has yet to explain whether any special rules will be in place for this contest. The promotion has been rather active all Tuesday morning promoting the bout via Twitter and Facebook.
Along with UFC champions Jose Aldo and Renan Barao, Falcao trains at Nova Uniao under the tutelage of Pederneiras. He is a bantamweight fighter with a 0-1 professional record. In April, he made his professional debut at Upper Sport Combat 2, where he was submitted in the first round by Benny Blackat.
On Monday night, Falcao posted on his Facebook page (via MMAFighting.com) that he was injured and wouldn’t be able to compete again until next year. But after speaking with Pederneiras, MMAFighting learned that Falcao will still be able to compete on Friday night.
Obviously, there’s a twist: Falcao’s opponent will now be Team Nogueira female Judoka star Velasquez, who will be making her professional MMA debut:
Andre Pederneiras came up with the idea, Velasquez said in an interview with MMAFighting.com. He asked Team Nogueira for a female fighter and my team believes I’m ready, so I accepted the challenge. My expectations are the best. I’m well trained to get there and win.
I’m used to training with man every day. I’m a professional judoka and I know the adrenaline of the competition, I know how to handle this.
It appears that Shooto is prepared to open Pandora’s Box and accept whatever criticism comes its way. This is of course assuming that regular MMA rules are in place. Hopefully, this ends up being some form of a glorified sparring session between two friendly camps.
Anything else has disaster written all over it.