Toughill has a walk-around weight between 160 and 165 pounds and was well on her way to her contracted weight limit of 145 pounds before a medical issue arose.
One month ago, she began experiencing several abdominal pains during training and went to a doctor to get checked out. After several tests, doctors told her she had ovarian cysts that had ruptured during training.
“It’s a common occurrence for women to have this issue,” she said. “But there’s four or five different levels of the medical issue I have. It could go anywhere from benign, which is what I have, to cancerous. The type of thing I have is exacerbated by me taking hits to my body and throwing and doing very intense training.”
Toughill said she has medical documentation to prove her condition.
The Nov. 7 event was originally scheduled to feature a 145-pound title bout between Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Coenen on the main card, but Santos was forced to withdraw due to injury. Weeks later, Toughill signed a new seven-fight contract with Strikeforce and agreed to face Coenen, whom she had defeated in 2004 by knockout, on the swing bout of the suburban Chicago event.
Toughill said she was 12 pounds away from making the 145-pound weight limit, aided in part by her lack of appetite after the problem arose.
“If anything, a situation like this would make it easier for me to lose weight because I wasn’t eating and I was training very hard,” she said.
Doctors told her that continued training or fighting could cause further complications to her reproductive system including internal bleeding and infection. Weighed against the risks, she chose to halt her camp and pull out of the fight.
“Could I have probably pushed through it and fought and been in pain and bleeding? I’m sure I could have,” she said. “But why would I risk something like that when it’s not worth it to me. Fighting is a part of my life and I love it and I still have fights left in me. But it doesn’t rule my life and define who I am.”
Toughill said she would be out of action for a month before being able to train again. She stressed that she still wanted to fight, though she understood if Strikeforce was upset with her.
“It’s their prerogative,” she said. “I imagine they will, because they only have – I couldn’t even count on my one hand who they have in their 145-pound division.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been doing this sport longer than most of the men involved in this sport, and for normal things not to happen to a woman’s body. I’m 33 years of age and I’ve been fighting since I was 21.”