FiveKnuckles.com: Are you ready to go for your next fight? When will it be... I've been hearing some buzz about it.
Erin Toughill: I don't know. I don't know anything. When I pulled out in November 2009, I said I'd be ready to fight in January. And you know what they told me? I might not fight for SIX MONTHS. SIX MONTHS? So that is why I asked to fight for another promotion (still being under contract with Strikeforce) and the let me fight for FCF in late January. And you know, that did not work out either. Some people with Strikeforce were holding up the process for weeks. It was basic stuff that could have been handled, but it was put off for weeks. So by the time it got closer to a fight, then it got harder and harder to find an opponent. Potential opponents were still given four/five weeks to train, and seven people STILL said no. So I trained six weeks (again) for another fight that did not go through.
I was not fighting for money, because if people knew what I was getting paid they would be blown away. I was fighting because this is a passion of mine and I NEED to stay busy as a fighter. Then I still get flack because people are questioning my "level" of opponents that were being asked lol. All these women had experience; all these women has several fights or more; and several of the women we asked were in the TOP TEN in particular weight classes. I find this sport to be more and more disappointing because lots of women "say" they wanna fight...but they don't really want to.
For those who do NOT know, Showtime has the final say for Strikeforce, so they pulled me again for this April card in Nashville, TN. So I had done ANOTHER FIVE WEEK camp, and then I'm told (again) I might not be fighting. This was the THIRD time this happened with Strikeforce, and this is what prompted me to "pull out" completely from Strikeforce because I could not handle this anymore. So I plan to fight in the coming months, but I cannot say who it will be for, because I do not know. And frankly, I do not care; just want to FIGHT. People just really need to stop coming down on me, especially for this most recent April fight. It goes all the way back to Gina vs. Cyborg undercard! I was ON the website, on the card... Toughill vs. TBA. They never sent me a bout agreement because they decided not to use me. Then I was a "stand in" for that card; I was never sent an agreement of any kind.
In November 2009, I pulled out for a LEGIT INJURY. In January, I was stopped from fighting for the THIRD time. The final one was this April Strikeforce card. In late February, I was told I was going to fight... then weeks before? Once again, told I was "not fighting." But when I pulled out completely, they said they had an opponent. They did not have one at that time and my representative was not informing me correctly, which once again, led to miscommunication and me not fighting for the FOURTH time. What people need to know, is Scott Coker does not make these decisions - it is SHOWTIME. So Showtime has basically pulled me from all these cards, yet people are wondering "WHY" I could not take it anymore? LOL
How can someone train for nine months straight, have FIVE fights fall through, put their whole life on hold and just train... and not make a single dime? I could not keep going; I needed a break. I was financially, emotionally and physically tapped out. So perhaps people can open their eyes and realize if I could snap a finger and have a fight - I would. But I do not have control of this nor does Scott. SHOWTIME decides. This is also "why" they barely have any females on their roster and "why" we are barely on any cards. A lot of fighters are going through the same thing as I am, and it's really unfortunate.
FiveKnuckles.com: How do you feel about female fighters posing for Playboy? Do you think it hurts the legitimacy of the sport and what female fighters are trying to accomplish? Or is the attention good for women's MMA?
Erin Toughill: I have no problem with it, actually. I have done "sexy" shoots over the years and if people like that, I have no problem with it and if it gets me more exposure and draws more fans, great. My skills can back it up, so hopefully they will open their eyes to that as well. Women can be sexy, smart and talented, and still be great fighters. I don't think it hurts the sport; I think women are beautiful and they have a lot to offer, along with their fighting. Women who are attractive will always get more exposure and more attention than lesser attractive ones; it's nothing new in the world. If I have an issue, it's only with the women who do NOT have the skill set or technical ability and they rely SOLELY on their looks; I have a problem with that. But in the end, it always catches up to them. they can only use their looks as a facade for so long... and then they get exposed. It always happens.
FiveKnuckles.com: Which fighter do you feel is representing the sport the strongest?
Erin Toughill: Well, mainstream people do not know a lot of the women who are in this sport, so it's hard to say. But if I had to pick, it would be Gina Carano. She has done amazing things for MMA and helped it SO much. Many women were jealous of her, but that's the way the ball rolls. She had some amazing, amazing fights and the crowds loved her. She is a beautiful girl who can fight; and it's very enticing to people to see that dichotomy. So I'd have to say Gina.
FiveKnuckles.com: Last year you spoke out against Kim Couture's legitimacy in the sport, which you said was predicated on her ex-husband's legacy. Has anything changed between the two of you since then?
Erin Toughill: Changed between us? I don't know what that means, but I am not "friends" with her. Look, Kerry Vera has a famous husband and having Vera as her last name has no doubt helped her get exposure. But the MAIN difference is.... Kerry CAN FIGHT. She is very polite and humble and has worked her BUTT off to get where she is and she has also proven that she is great fighter with tons of potential. You can use someone's name to get somewhere, but you have to have the skill set to back it up; and Kerry does. She is one of my favorites as well.
Kim is another story. IMO she cannot fight. For as much as she talks about her training and how great she is? I have not seen that displayed in any of her fights. The issue I had was when this woman had ONE FIGHT, and she was calling herself the next "ICON" in women's MMA after Gina Carano. That is one of the more reserved things she has said about herself. If the girl could fight? It'd be great because we'd have another great addition to women's MMA, famous last name or not, but she can't. I know that Strikeforce has let her go from their roster, so I think that's best for her and the sport. If she works hard and can improve on her fighting, then wonderful, I'm all for it.
Erin Toughill: I wanted to thank my husband, Neil Melanson. Visit his site neilmelanson.com. My site is erintoughill.com. It has been down since last year because I have been going through lots of career and location changes, and it'll be up shortly. I'd like to thank my sponsor, Roy and his company; www.ActionSportsHub.com. I'd like to thank Randy Couture and his son, Ryan Couture. They have welcomed me with open arms at XC and have a great connection with them. I'd like to thank Ray Sefo; he is one of my coaches and mentors. I'd also like to thank his brother, Brice Ritani. One of my sparring partners and a great guy. I enjoy our gym and love all the guys there; it's a great environment. I am currently training a few male and female fighters out of the gym, so I encourage any woman who's in the Las Vegas area to come train with me. I do one-on-one personal training as well as group training.