Elena Reid faces new title challenger on 3 day’s notice

Elena "Baby Doll" Reid (4-0) was finalizing her MMA training on Wednesday afternoon, when she got word there was a slight hiccup in her first title defense, which is set to take place on Saturday night in New Town, North Dakota. Originally slated to face King of the Cage veteran Alyx "Miss Luck" Luck (2-2), Reid will now face Muay Thai veteran Catia "Cat Woman" Vitoria (1-0). The change came yesterday, after Luck was suspended for attempting to falsify her pre-fight blood work. This was said to be a repeat offense and Luck was removed from the card. While some believe Luck may have been trying to hide performance enhancing drugs, it is not fair to speculate, because it is also likely that the part-time model from Cheyenne, Wyoming simply did not want to pay for the proper blood work. No matter the reason, as both are completely unacceptable in professional sports, Luck has now been suspended indefinitely.

Reid’s new opponent Vitoria, who she will face at Playboy Fight Night – World Tour 2010, hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2005, Vitoria began her fighting career in Canada, but decided to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006. The move was motivated by her desire to train full-time in a place with more girls to fight. Once in Las Vegas, she began training full-time at Fasi Sports with Master Chan. After a successful amateur Muay Thai career, which includes 5 wins, 1 split, and 0 losses, she decided to go pro. In 2008, she picked up notable Muay Thai wins over Michelle "Karate Hottie" Waterson and Lynn Alvarez in the XFA professional kickboxing organization based out of Las Vegas. She claims she started fighting as an anger management program, then realized that she was good at it. That is when she got the itch for MMA and began training at TapouT Research & Development.

Vitoria’s impressive Muay Thai credentials and promising MMA career helped her get noticed by Bellator Fighting Championships, which is one of the leading MMA organizations that promotes women’s MMA in the United States. Bellator announced in February that they had signed Vitoria to face Felice "Lil Bulldog" Herrig, who had defeated Vitoria’s friend Michele Gutierrez this past November. The bout between Herrig and Vitoria was promoted on the Bellator 14 poster and was set to take place tonight in Chicago, Illinois. Then suddenly, the Illinois Athletic Commission reportedly nixed the fight late last month. It was said that the commission claimed Herrig (1-2) had too much experience for Vitoria. If this is the case, it’s baffling they would replace Vitoria with Jessica Rakoczy. Tonight, Herrig will face Rakoczy, who is a 6-time world champion boxer with a professional boxing record of 31-3 with 1 no contest. She also has two MMA fights to her credit and has fought upwards to 140-pounds during her boxing career.

No matter how confusing the commission’s decision may seem, Vitoria wasn’t about to let that keep her out of action. She had gone through her training camp and was ready to fight Herrig, so when her friend Gutierrez was injured while training for a bout with Tiffany Connell that was set to take place two weeks ago, Vitoria quickly jumped at the chance to step in and take the fight. Vitoria ended up defeating Connell via majority decision at Art of Fighting 7 – Pay Day, which took place on April 3rd in Tampa, Florida. Regardless of the scenario and the domino-effect that panned out, Vitoria has now agreed to step in as a late replacement for a second time this month. This time she will fight Reid for the Sovereign Nations MMA women’s flyweight title, which will be contested at 120-pounds.

Reid herself is no stranger to last minute cancellations. After winning her Sovereign Nations MMA title on October 24th of last year with a third round TKO victory over Japanese MMA veteran Masako Yoshida, Reid was set to go back to her roots of professional boxing in late February. Reid, who is a member of the Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame and has won both the WIBA and IFBA flyweight world titles, was set to challenge Ana María "La Guerrera" Torres for the WBC super-flyweight title in Laredo, Texas. However, the bout was postponed and the venue was changed to California, prompting Torres to demand more money and the fight was called off. That combined with the latest "unlucky" situation surrounding Luck this weekend had Reid experiencing a sudden case of déjà vu. Fortunately, Vitoria jumped at the chance to fight for her first MMA title, giving Reid the much needed ring time she has been longing for in 2010.

That ring time will hopefully come in abundance after this weekend too. Given there aren’t anymore setbacks with promoters changing venues, opponents holding out for more money, opponents providing falsified blood work, or unfortunate injuries, Reid plans on having a busy summer after Saturday night’s fight. On June 5th, she will travel to Lingolsheim, France, where she will challenge for her third world title in boxing. She is set to face French boxer Nadia Hokmi for the WIBF junior bantamweight (115-pound) world title. Then later this summer, Reid will return to MMA. After recently signing with Bellator, she is now scheduled to participate in the first-ever Bellator women’s flyweight (115-pound) tournament, which is set to begin in August. The tournament is also rumored to include the likes of women’s MMA flyweight stars Megumi Fujii, Rosi Sexton, and Jessica Pene.

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