Bellator has drawn some criticism over its perceived snub of women’s strawweight champion Zoila Gurgel (formerly Frausto). Gurgel returns to action this Friday after over a year off due to a knee injury. Despite being the Bellator strawweight champion, Gurgel finds herself on the undercard of Friday’s card. The move drew a great deal of criticism from the women’s MMA community but Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney defended the move in an email to MMAFighting.
“Zoila’s been plagued by injury after injury over the last 19 months, having not fought since March, 2011,” he wrote. “We felt that the best road back for her did not include rushing her into a major fight against one of the top-ranked women in the world. This is not a world title fight as it’s made significantly north of the 115 weight limit where she holds our title. Depending on how Zoila feels and performs on Friday, we can then determine the next appropriate step back.”
Gurgel will face Casey Nolan this Friday at Bellator 78. The preliminary card will air on Spike.com.