The strawweight match between Pearl Gonzalez and Cynthia Calvillo was temporarily pulled from upcoming UFC 210 because Gonzalez has breast implants which violates an existing New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) regulation put in place prior to mixed martial arts being made legal in New York last year.
Gonzalez, who successfully weighed in for the fight this morning, was only told afterwards, less than 30 hours from match time, that she would not be eligible to fight in her UFC debut.
The regulation regarding breast implants was put in place to regulate boxing in New York state, for fear that female boxers fighting with breast implants might suffer a rupture due to repeated blows to the chest. The document, which states that female boxers who have undergone breast reduction surgery CAN compete, was last updated on December 9th of 2014, well before MMA's legalization in NY.
After less than 12 hours, Gonzalez was reinstated and the fight resurrected after UFC officials stepped in to moderate the situation. The situation, while hectic, has been cleared up and UFC fans will still get to see the full cards' worth of fights tomorrow night. However, the situation does shine light onto a very interesting issue.
How many times have professional athletes returned to the game after suffering enormous physical blows, hits to the head and broken bones? How many times have we applauded when they did so, praising their toughness and commitment to victory? How many times have we marvelled at their willingness - completely aware of their injury - to risk themselves in order to compete?
Is this an overstep by the NYSAC? Is it an understandable concern for anyone BUT the fighter herself? Does anyone think that Pearl Gonzalez forget she has breast implants? Does anyone think that Gonzalez isn't completely aware of the risks involved with participating in such a physically demanding AND punishing sport? Does anyone think she doesn't realize the possibility of complications due to her breast augmentation surgery?
And since there has to be some kind of contract or document that states she IS aware and absolves the state and organization from any obligation to her in case of an injury sustained to her breasts in the course of the fight - most importantly - shouldn't we allow her to make the decision to fight for herself?