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More random ranting: Compustrike and Gina Carano’s weight

I thought I was done ranting this morning but I’m not.

First, I wanted to talk about Compustrike’s recent involvement in scoring UFC fights. Kid Nate over at has a post that highlights two different takes from Fight Linker and Pramit Mohapatra of and the Baltimore Sun.

I wanted to weigh in on the subject and raise the question of Compustrike’s place in MMA. It’s great for boxing but does it really have a place in MMA? Maybe it can add some perspective to certain aspects of the standup game but it’s missing a big piece of the puzzle: the ground game. Why are we going to try and assign points for punching and kicking prowess (wait, does Compustrike even take kicking into account?) and completely neglect Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling, which have established scoring systems of their own?

Why is there a push to provide precise information for punching but nothing to take into account all of the other facets of MMA? This is after all, MIXED martial arts.

People are screaming for better scoring and a more defined scoring system. The issue is you’re doing with a multitude of cultures in MMA. And when I say culture, I’m not speaking about nationalism. I’m referring to the culture of all the different combat sports.

I like the current system employed by my North American mixed martial arts promotions because it doesn’t award points for specific acts. When you start doing that, you start to place a greater importance over one art in comparison to another. Is a three punch combination worth more than a reversal on the ground from bottom position into mount? Is a clean double leg takedown worth more than a Thai-style knee to the ribs? What about clinch work and submission attempts?

With scoring methods such as Compustrike, we start heading down a dangerous path, which is paralysis by analysis. Judging is subjective in nature and there’s always going to be controversy. But my feeling is that the amount of bad decisions in MMA each year are small and that a change to a different scoring system could create more controversies than we have now.

What MMA really needs is a system where judges are held accountable and are evaluated. Everyone sees a fight a different way and a judge isn’t always going to make the right call. But if there’s a judge who is constantly coming up short then he should cease being a judge. The NFL grades its referees and assigns the best officials to work postseason games. I’d love to see an organized body come along in MMA and grade judges so only the best judges worked the biggest fights.

Now that I’ve weighed in on Compustrike and MMA scoring I wanted to weigh-in on Gina Carano’s weight.
Gina_Carano_weighinNow I’ve been critical of Carano in the past because I feel that the face of women’s MMA should be the best female fighter in MMA. Carano is a devastating striker and quickly becoming more versatile. I think on a pound-for-pound scale, she’s without question top five MMA fighter in the world. However, as of now, number one belongs to Tara LaRosa.

But I’m not here to question Carano. I am actually coming to her defense in response to a lot of her critics (a Carano critic calling out Carano critics?) who obsess over the fact that she’s had some issues making weight in her last two fights.
Matt Cava and I delved into the topic a little bit on Inside the Cage Radio over the weekend but I wanted to expound on the topic here and stress how much more difficult it is for a female fighter to cut weight than it is for a male. Female weight cutting and male weight cutting are two totally different balls of wax. The average woman has significantly less water weight than the average man. The less water weight you have the less there is to sweat off.

Making matters more complicated for female fighters is the overall lack of fighters. Women are asked to cut to unrealistic weights just so matches can take place. Amateur female fighters have it the worse because it’s so much harder to find matchups on the amateur level. I went to an amateur Muay Thai card where one female fighter showed up to weigh-ins having worked her ass off to cut to 125 lbs. when her opponent showed up at 138 lbs. and claimed there was a mis-communication. Well, the fighter who cut to 125 lbs. and traveled up from Philly to New York and took time off from work and paid money for hotel and travel expenses (you usually need a hotel because the weigh-ins are almost always the day before). Because it was in NY, which isn’t regulated, she was given the option of either not fighting or taking the fight with the weight disadvantage. She took the fight and ended up winning because she had superior technique. But apparently what took place leading up to the fight isn’t all that uncommon.

So you have that pressure and Carano could be a victim of that pressure. EliteXC has her fighting at 140 lbs. because a lot of the best fighters are in the 135 lbs. – 140 lbs. range. There are a lot of females who fighter over 140 lbs. in Muay Thai, but nowhere near as much in MMA. Has anyone who is critical of Carano considered that maybe that 140 lbs. isn’t her best weight class and that asking her to make 140 lbs. might be the same as asking someone like Matt Hughes (I’m throwing out a random example) to make 155 lbs.?

I’ve read where some have called Carano irresponsible because she’s come in a 1/4 pound over in her past two fights. But how is she being irresponsible? Did she not show up to both her EliteXC fights in great shape? Did you see a region of her body where it was obvious she could have lost the weight? I sure didn’t. There’s a growing climate in MMA and Muay Thai (in the U.S.) where highly-conditioned female fighters are being asked to cut to weights their bodies simply aren’t meant to be at. We’re going to turn the female fighting industry into the modeling industry where females develop eating disorders and body dismorphia.

People also freaked out because Carano indicated she had her period during the time leading up to weigh-ins. She wasn’t being crude, she was being candid. It’s an issue female fighters have to deal with that male fighters obviously will never encounter. If we want to treat female MMA with the respect it deserves then we can’t giggle or cringe when a fighter brings that issue up. If you ask Travis Lutter why he didn’t make weight against Anderson Silva then whether you bought his answer or not, you at least wanted to hear his explanation. When Gina had a few minor issues, she gave her explanation. Women get periods. Deal with it. But if the industry keeps placing unrealistic weight demands on females then some of them will stop having periods because they’ll become unhealthy trying to use improper dieting techniques to make weights they have no business fighting at.

Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer also made a good point in a recent print edition, which was that the amount of clothes Gina has worn for her last two weigh-ins more than accounted for the 1/4 pound she was over. For males who are over, they can put a towel up and they can strip down. But Meltzer points out that if a female strips down, then it becomes a spectacle.

So we have to ask ourselves, what do we want from female MMA? Sport or spectacle?

  • Evan says:

    I suppose they need to have a weight station behind closed doors with a female official and perhaps a broader weight allowance. Perhaps 2 lbs? The time of the months is a legit concern and one that will simply come up over and over again.

  • 140 is a catch weight. If she can’t make it, then fight at another weight.

    The reason Carano should take heat for the deal with Tonya Evinger is that Evinger was led to believe, according to Josh Gross, that there was no pound-over provision for the 140 target. Look at boxing – if a guy fails to make weight, a commission like Nevada will either substantially fine the fighter in violation or the fight will be canceled. Forget the fines – not making weight certainly could be a breach of contract and subject to lawsuit.

    Evinger, of course, was stuck in a crappy position. Where else was she going to make money fighting? If she rejected the fight and sued, it would cost her a lot of money. She had no leverage going into that situation, whereas Carano had the name power and the backing of the promotion.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Evinger was indeed in a bad situation, but why blame Gina? I think EliteXC is at fault for asking her to make 140. If 140 is a catch weight then why not make the catch weight 142 lbs. and let her perspective opponents to have the option to go up in weight or refuse to accept the terms.

  • It’s discouraging to me that Carano’s own promoters make such a big deal out of her appearance, referring to her in press releases as “sexy Gina Carano.”

    I agree with #1 that women’s physiology should be taken into account – maybe broader, different weight classes would be best for women’s fighting.

  • Don says:

    Granted it’s very hard to rank the females, Sam, but how on earth do you figure Gina is top 5 p4p? She hasn’t come close to being tested enough to validate that claim. LaRosa has fought competition on such a different level that practically any opponent who’s made her break a sweat has more of a claim to the top 5 than Gina does. Not to mention lighter fighters and all the talent in Japan…

    It’s unfortunate that that there aren’t enough females who compete a bit closer to Gina’s natural weight, so I do have more sympathy for her than for most guys who have trouble making weight. But it’s not like there’s absolutely no opponents for her at higher weights. She’s being protected due to marketability (i.e. looks) by matchmaking that has her walking into the ring far bigger than her opponents. I have to assume if she was willing to fight people her own size, EliteXC would raise the catch weight, which seems to have been set especially for her (just like the 3-minute rounds designed to keep her standing more).

  • Sam Caplan says:


    I definitely could be wrong about Gina’s ranking. I will be honest in letting everyone know that I consider my biggest weakness when it comes to MMA knowledge is the Japanese MMA scene outside of K-1. I’m not familiar with most Japanese female fighters and I’m working on trying to learn more about Shooto and DEEP because I realize that’s where a lot of the top talent is at 135 lbs. and 145 lbs in the male divisions.

    I feel like I could tell you about a lot of obscure fighters fighting in California, the Midwest, and the Northeast, but I’m weak when it comes to the smaller promotions in Japan. I am working though on watching YouTube footage of Shooto and DEEP and trying to reach as much as I can.

  • ilostmydog says:

    Why blame the org? Gina is a professional, yet she continues to accept fights at a weight that she must know she can’t make. She’s missed weight more times in her professional career than she’s made it, and the whole Rosi Sexton debacle was just about the most infuriating moment ever in women’s MMA. Anyways, I’ve found a post where Amanda Buckner comments on this issue:

    Amanda Buckner:

    It’s irrelevant that Gina was willing to fight someone heavier, that’s her own choice. She had already fought Elaina and was obviously comfortable with how her strength and size compared. I’m unclear at this point if she weighs 140 or 145 but if she’s close to 140 she should have had no problem making the weight for the Kedzie fight and if she’s 145 she shouldn’t be taking fights at 135 unless she knows she can make the weight which she obviously couldn’t in the case of Rosi. The Rosi situation sucked in my opinion because Rosi is small, (I’m small for 135 and she’s even smaller than me), and I’m sure was under weight. For Gina to cut and only be able to make 139 means she was between five and ten pounds heavier by the time they fought. Gina is skilled and it’s crazy to think that wouldn’t make a difference. I’m not even saying that it changed the outcome of the fight because I haven’t seen it and have no idea what it looked like. Rosi is a game fighter and of course she was going to choose to fight, but is sucks that she was put in the position of having to make that choice. In my mind it’s very clear cut, agree to a weight and then make the weight. Obvioulsy most people are going to give you the extra if you don’t make it but it’s disrespectful to make them have to do it.
    Rick – there is one small thing you said that I just have to address. You made a comment that said obviously other fighters were going to want their shot at Gina now before her ground game catches up. I think you are doing a huge disservice to alot of the women in the fighting community and greatly underestimating the fighting spirit, for lack of a better term, of alot of the women fighters to assume that people are wanting to fight her before she gets to good. I for one would rather fight her once she has trained the ground for a longer period of time because if we fight and I happen to catch her in a submission I wouldn’t want to hear any crap about how she’s newer to the ground game. I would want her at her best and I know most of the top tier women probably feel the same.

    The only other thing I have to say on this topic is that the three minute rounds in the Kedzie/Carano were bullshit no matter how you look at it. Either they did it because they are women which is crap or they did it because Carano is a striker and it is common knowledge that shorter rounds favor strikers. We’ll never know if it had an effect in this fight or not , Kedzie was in trouble at the end of round one but Carano was on the bottom of a solid side control at the end of round two. But like I said, it’s crap that their fight was the only one on the card that was three minute rounds.

    I don’t want anyone to misinterpret anything I’m saying to be negative about Gina. I think she is an amazing addition to womens mma and if strikers of her level are getting interested in mma it makes me hopeful that others will follow which will elevate the womens scene to a whole new level.

  • Adam Morgan says:

    Gina’s hot as hell. End of story.

  • Don says:

    Sam, that kind of candor about not having perfect knowledge about everything, and always wanting to learn, is one of the many things I love about your coverage of MMA. I’m also far from an expert on female fighters, but I don’t need to be one to observe Gina is nowhere near top 5 :)

    btw The women’s division is the one area I feel Bodog deserves the most credit, both bringing in top talent and treating them with respect. EliteXC should emulate them but instead appear content with their sideshow Carano showcase division.

  • […] wygl?da?a jak ?mier? na wa?eniu przed EliteXC: Uprising? 5oz wyja?nia, ?e wycinka u kobiet jest znacznie trudniejsza, poniewa? facet ma wi?cej wody w organi?mie. Dodatkowo Gina mia?a okres. Efekt i tak by? […]

  • kentyman says:

    I want Breen to chime in and debate with Sam…

  • Gina has failed to make weight in FOUR fights, not two.


  • Sam: thanks for mentioning CompuStrike in your Sept. 26 blog. I just wanted to comment on a few of your observations. The CompuStrike program, still evolving, counts leg strikes thrown and landed (leg strikes being kicks and knees), so I’m confused by your comment “does CompuStrike even take kicking into account)?..also the CompuStrike program, and I can’t emphasize this point enough, is in no way (as mentioned in Mr. Mohapatra’s column) designed to score a MMA fight. The stats are just a barometer of a fighter’s activity. The CompuStrike program takes into account wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills by tabulating takedowns and submission attempts We are currently enhancing the CompuStrike program to distinguish “clinch strikes landed” from “power strikes landed”, that is strikes landed while not in a clinch. We’d welcome any suggestions you, or anyone in the MMA community may have as to how we can improve the CompuStrike program..

    Bob Canobbio

  • VJ says:

    Gina Carano signed a fight agreement well in advance of today’s weigh in. Professional fighters make weight.

  • jen says:

    I want to see mandy fuck up gina’s face. then we’ll see how marketable she is. mandy (buckner) is a solid fighter, and makes her name by doing just that. she doesn’t have to shake her ass and get breast implants to build her likeability.


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