Women’s MMA Thriving With or Without Gina Carano

December 23, 2011
8 Comments

August 15, 2009.

It’s been over two years since Gina Carano last stepped foot inside an MMA cage, and with the debut of her new film “Haywire” hitting theaters in January 2012, it’s not likely she’ll be fighting anytime soon either.

While Carano and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker have maintained that she will be back at some point in 2012, there are no guarantees, especially with a budding movie career on the horizon.

For several years while under the EliteXC and then Strikeforce banners, Carano was the face of women’s MMA, drawing in huge crowds for both live audiences and viewers tuning in at home.

Despite Carano always shying away from that moniker, she was the biggest star women’s MMA had ever seen.

But with Carano gone for the past two-plus years, the women’s divisions have moved on without her, and to be quite frank, they are thriving without her.

The last opponent to face Carano, Cris “Cyborg” Santos has continued her tornado like destruction of any and every opponent that Strikeforce has put in front of her. Miesha Tate recently claimed the Strikeforce bantamweight women’s title, and has become one of the most recognized faces in the sport.

Add to that the recent injection of former Olympian Ronda Rousey, who may just be the “Chael Sonnen of women’s MMA” along with fighters like Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis, among others, the female divisions seem to be doing just fine without Carano around, and she would be the first one to smile about that.

“Gina will be the first one to tell you this, she’s happy for the success of the female division,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAWeekly Radio. “She told me personally that she wants to keep fighting, this was before the movie was started, but we got her back into the cage for the one fight with Cyborg and she wants to keep promoting female mixed martial arts. She’s a believer and she’s going to continue to support it.”

Carano’s success seemed to be a precursor to the future of the women’s division. Her fights on CBS grossed huge ratings, as well as her fights on Showtime that drew mass audiences. The success has been passed along to other fighters as well.

Marloes Coenen’s 2011 title defense against Liz Carmouche actually spiked higher ratings than the main event between Dan Henderson and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante back in March. The fact is women’s fighting has been proven to be a commodity, and Coker knows it’s a valuable asset with Strikeforce in their new deal with Showtime.

“Gina (Carano) had one of the highest rated showings in the history of Showtime for a mixed martial arts show. We have proven and Showtime has proven that female fighters should be in the cage fighting mixed martial arts. They’re talented, they can draw great ratings, they put on great fights, and that’s going to continue,” said Coker.

“When you have a new girl like Ronda (Rousey), you have Miesha (Tate), you have Cyborg, hopefully Gina will come back at some point after she gets her movie out of the way, and we’re going to have a healthy female division for the fans to tune in and watch on Showtime.”

The hope is obviously for Carano to return to fighting in 2012, but if that doesn’t happen, Strikeforce is confident their women’s division will thrive regardless.

“If you look at the champions and the stars that we’ve built on Showtime since Gina has left and started her movie career,” said Coker, “I think that we’ve proven once again we can keep building new stars, new faces, and great fighters and great talent and continue to get great ratings on Showtime for female mixed martial arts.”


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  • Prodigy815

    Stay in movies Gina. You don’t need to fight that man again =)

  • chuckalugk

    I really don’t think women’s MMA is thriving. Other than Cyborg, there aren’t a lot of great women fighters. Tate is the champ and her fight was very boring.

  • http://www.bloodyfists.net/forums/index.php SHORT_BUS

    Women’s MMA is thriving…… as long as the fighters being featured are attractive.

    I have about as much interest in women’s MMA as I do the WNBA.

  • Mario

    I like the women’s divisions. You guys need to stop being sexist..

    • chuckalugk

      Mario…..it’s not being sexist. It is night and day between watching men’s mma and women’s mma.

      • afk

        lol night and day in the sense that they are essentially the same thing but look different? yes you are right, that is because they are females and have breasts my good friend.

        retards who complain about women’s mma because the talent is lacking is like saying vanilla ice cream is bad because there aren’t enough flavours of ice cream. it’s irrelevant what the overall is. there are a small number of talented women and when they get the opportunity to fight it has the potential to be just as entertaining as any men’s fight.

        if you SEE it differently because they are women, it is quite literally sexism beyond any other definition and you saying it’s not and making an ignorantly stupid metaphor that makes zero sense doesn’t change that lol.

        there are a ton, A TON, of ****** men’s fights every week.

        anyway, bitch on “mma fans”

  • fsunoles09

    gina haha wtf

  • shakejunt

    why is gina carano even being mentioned? she hasn’t fought in over 2 years and only twice in strikeforce