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Overview (4)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameErin Young Toughill
Nickname Steel
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Erin Toughill was active in sports when she was young, and felt she good enough to receive scholarships but ended up on the "wrong path". Toughill was born in Chicago, and her parents divorced when she was 5. Erin was a troubled teenager who got into numerous fights, attended 5 high schools in 3 years, and started living by herself at age 17. Toughill decided to train in combat sports at someone's suggestion to focus her aggression. She started kick-boxing at age 18 and followed up with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

There were sparse opponents and opportunities in the still new sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the United States, especially for women . Toughill first competed in 1999 at an Aruba event named World Vale Tudo Championships 9, fighting the more experienced Irma Verhoeff to a draw in a 15-minute round. Toughill made her professional boxing debut in 2000, competing over 6 years in between MMA fights, and ending with a record of 7 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw, and 1 no contest. Her most famous bout was with Laila Ali in 2005, whom she fought for the WIBA super middleweight and WBC female super middleweight titles, losing by a 3rd round technical knockout. Toughill's last win in boxing was a unanimous decision over Laura Ramirez in 2006. Toughill last boxing bout was against Ramirez again that year, days after her father's death, losing after being knocked through the ring's ropes.

The few American promotions which promoted women's MMA were focused on lighter weight classes, while Toughill is a naturally large woman who cuts weight. Toughill competed in Japan where huge weight differences between competitors are allowed. Toughill, who has weighed between 150 and 170 pounds, fought Russian heavyweight (almost 230 pounds) Irina Rodina at ReMix World Cup 2000, winning by split decision after two rounds. Toughill advanced to fight another Russian, Svetlana Goundarenko, at the same event. Goundarenko was a super-heavyweight at 330 pounds, and overwhelmed Toughill who submitted while underneath her.

Toughill returned to ReMix in 2001 and submitted 'Megumi Yabushita' in round 2 by arm-bar. Toughill fought in another Japanese promotion, W-Fusion, and won a decision over Kaoru Ito. She returned to ReMix in 2002 and beat Miwako Ishihara in a 3-round decision. They fought at the Smackgirl World Remix 2004 tournament. Ishihara's corner staff threw in a towel after 27 seconds in response to Toughill's punches. Toughill advanced to the semi-finals against Dutch fighter Marloes Coenen,whom she punched and knocked down 5 minutes into the bout. The rules allowed the referee to intervene and administer a count. Coenen stood up and the referee waved off the fight, ruling it a knock-out. Toughill made it to the finals against Megumi Yabushita. When Yabushita illegally held Toughill's glove, she retaliated with an illegal elbow to Yabushita's back, hurting her and resulted in Toughill's disqualification.

A few weeks after her last boxing match, Toughill defeated Jen Case in round 2 for Valor Fighting. She retired from combat sports in 2006, citing a difficulty in getting fights. Motivated by the growth of MMA, and getting attention as "Steel" on the 2nd season of the newer version of American Gladiators (2008), Toughill returned in November 2008. She fought at Palace Fighting Championship 11 (PFC), getting a unanimous win over Jan Finney. In February 2009, Toughill was victorious at PFC's "Best of Both Worlds" Mixed Martial Arts/Boxing event, with a first round technical knockout of Karen Williams. In May, Toughill competed for PFC a 3rd time, winning a unanimous decision over Emily Thompson in May, then a month later signed a 7-fight deal with Strikeforce (2009).

Strikeforce booked Toughill for Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg (2009), where Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg (Cristiane Justino) fought for the inaugural featherweight championship. Marloes Coenen would have been her opponent, but Toughill withdrew due to contract issues. She was later scheduled to fight Coenen for the right to challenge the champion, Justino. Toughill and Coenen were booked for CBS Strikeforce M-1 Global Saturday Night Fights (2009). Toughill canceled due to medical issues later reported to be ruptured ovarian cysts. Roxanne Modafferi replaced her, and lost to Coenen by submission.

Toughill was permitted to compete at Freestyle Cage Fighting (FCF) 39 in January 2010. Seven possible opponents reportedly were contacted and declined to fight her. On the same night Toughill was to have fought in FCF against French fighter Romy Ruyssen, Justino defeated Coenen at Strikeforce: Miami (2010). Toughill announced in March 2010 that she was leaving Strikeforce and considering retirement from MMA due to not getting fights. She changed her mind soon after, alluding to communication problems between Strikeforce and her team. Shannon Knapp, a fighter liaison for Strikeforce, was reportedly involved in bringing parties together.

Before CBS Strikeforce Saturday Night Fights (2010) took place in Nashville, Shana Olsen was presented as a possible opponent for Toughill. Toughill and Olsen were later scheduled for Strikeforce: Houston (2010). Toughill said she wouldn't be able to cut to featherweight (145 pounds) and withdrew. She offered Olsen to fight at 150 pounds, which Olsen declined. Toughill criticized Olsen's refusal to fight at the higher weight, leading to exchanges of words through online media. The outspoken Toughill started getting a reputation among some MMA fans as one who talks but does not compete. Toughill has said that more opponents have canceled fights against her than she has against them.

Strikeforce's Chief Executive Officer, Scott Coker , spoke of rescheduling Toughill/Olsen to allow time for her to make weight. She was given the choice of competing outside of Strikeforce to earn a title opportunity against Justino if she won. Toughill was booked for a lightweight (155 pounds) fight in Singapore's Martial Combat, versus China's Bao Yu Dan. Two days before the bout, Toughill withdrew, citing a broken clavicle. Toughill never competed in Strikeforce. She last fought in April of 2011, losing a 3-round decision to Ashley Sanchez in Freestyle Cage Fighting. Toughill blamed her performance on a kidney infection she contracted weeks before, and not being fully recovered. In August 2013, Toughill revealed her retirement from MMA.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: invictorious

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