Strikeforce Confirms Visa Issues for Carina Damm

Just two weeks before its first women's tournament, Strikeforce might be losing one of its competitors.

There have been reports that Carina Damm, of Brazil, is having a hard time getting her visa secured so she can travel to Phoenix for the Aug. 13 welterweight (135 pounds) tournament, and Strikeforce spokesman Mike Afromowitz confirmed that speculation on Wednesday night in an e-mail to members of the media.

Damm is scheduled to be one of four participants in the tournament, which will be held at Phoenix's Dodge Theatre as part of a Strikeforce Challengers event that will air live on Showtime. The main event of the card is a 182-pound catchweight bout between Joe Riggs and Louis Taylor.

Damm (15-3) hasn't fought outside her native Brazil in more than two years. She has a 10-fight winning streak.

Miesha Tate, Hitomi Akano and Maiju Kujala are the three other women booked for the tournament, which Strikeforce expects to determine the No. 2 contender for Sarah Kaufman's title. Kaufman defended her belt with a knockout slam against Roxanne Modafferi last week and will next defend her title against top contender Marloes Coenen.

In his e-mail, Afromowitz said the show will go on without Damm if necessary.

"Strikeforce is working diligently to help Carina secure a visa in time to make the trip for next month's event," Afromowitz said. "In the event that she is unable to acquire a visa, however, we have identified a qualified replacement for the tournament and will release her name if Carina is officially forced to withdraw from the event. This prospective replacement has been in training camp for several weeks and is prepared to take on the task at hand."

Strikeforce will hold a blind draw the night of the weigh-ins to determine the semifinal bouts and the tournament fights will be three 3-minute rounds.

In a release, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said recently the purpose of the tournament was to quickly determine the next top contender – after Coenen – for the 135-pound title.

"We are going to fast-track these four talented prospects in a quest to determine the best in this deep women's division," Coker said in the release. "Having all four women square off on one night with the chance to separate themselves from the pack is what Strikeforce Challengers is all about."

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