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Gina Carano: ‘Why don’t they realize this is the toughest fight of my life?’

Gina CaranoFollowing a weekend where three of the top pound for pound male fighters were seen in action, we have a bout with arguably the top two pound for pound female mixed martial artists on the planet immediately following. But is it getting the proper attention?

UFC 94 was a show that had been built up for months and was billed as an “Epic Battle of Champions” between B.J. Penn and Georges St-Pierre. Now, I can only speak for myself, but it definitely felt that way too. Dana White had three press conferences as soon as he announced the fight, first in Vegas, then Toronto and finally Honolulu. They also made a three part “UFC Primetime” series on the fight that was a real hit, and the media were all over it for the fact that it was two of the best ever about to collide in their primes.

Coming this weekend, we have a battle between the undefeated Gina “Conviction” Carano and her toughest opponent ever, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. These two are the faces of women’s MMA and are well known by the hardcore MMA community as the best of the best, but some in the media may not be giving this long-awaited battle it’s due.

Flipping through the channels these days it is more and more likely that you will see the face of the former Muay Thai standout, Gina Carano. However, in watching an interview with her, you might not get the right picture as to who she really is. You might think she were a full-time model or a long-time “American Gladiator” or famous for an alleged sex tape with Kit Cope (that doesn’t exist). Thankfully, Gina took some time from her busy fight preparation schedule to clear some of that up.

In a recent interview with RawVegas.TV, Carano spoke on her promotional experiences of late, “You know, I’ve had to deal with a lot for this fight, and I look at people and I’m like, ‘Why don’t they realize this is like the toughest fight of my life?’ And they’re asking me like, you know sex questions and dating questions, and I’m like, ‘Do you have any idea like, what I’m actually going up against right now?’ You know, all that stuff isn’t even on my mind.”

With the fight only days away, Carano might be justifiably frustrated that the fight may not get the hype it deserves, but she is also making note of the fact that it has to do with the respect for female fighters as well, “It’s just crazy, you know, and I had somebody else tell me the other day, ‘You know Gina, it’s gonna be awhile before people take you guys seriously.’ I’m like, ‘What’s not serious about this? I’m stepping into the cage with an amazing athlete, like, you know things can go potentially really bad.”

Having seen many of the interviews she is referring to, it is clear to me that the female side of MMA has a long way to come to gain the type of respect that the men are given.

Is it because of the fact that the pool of top tier fighters is so small in comparison? Maybe so, but does that mean that the top two of the world’s elite are to not get the same respect as Royce Gracie did when he was facing men who were arguably of lesser skill? I don’t think so. You could argue that women’s MMA is further back in evolution when being compared to their male counterparts, but do we not remember the warriors and Champions of the early days of MMA as pioneers and legends that deserve our respect? Absolutely we do, even though those early days showed how much we didn’t know about fighting more than anything.

Gina experiences this lack of knowledge on a daily basis and as being arguably the most popular female MMA fighter, she understandably can get a little frustrated, “It just hurts my heart for the sport that its’ taken this long [for MMA in general], and now the women are trying to go through it.”

She remains optimistic however knowing that the respect will only continue to grow as the sport of MMA and she remains humble knowing that there are many great fighters that are out there right now and many will come after her, “I’m just one fighter. I’m just one female. I just happen to be one of the most recognizable ones out. But there is plenty other females, and women’s MMA is gonna be around if I’m a part of it or not.”

It is clear that there are many people trying to distract the young Carano leading up to her next fight, but she seems to be keeping it all in perspective leading into the undoubted war she will be in on Saturday night. “Everybody’s gotta give it up to Cris. She’s an amazing fighter and it’s really an honour to fight her, because she’s the best. She’s one of the best, and I know whoever is holding that belt at the end is gonna be a good belt holder regardless, and so that makes this fight really cool.” She continues, “I’ve sat down and I’ve watched tape. I’ve watched old tape and I’ve watched new tape and all I know is it’s gonna be a tough fight. I’ve got my game plans but I know anything can happen.”

Those who have followed women’s MMA know that this fight is the most anticipated in its history and likely have been waiting to see it happen for some time now, as I have. One thing is for sure, with all eyes on women’s MMA on Saturday night, I’m sure there couldn’t be two better representatives to go at it than these two. The fans will be treated to an “Epic Battle” of the best female MMA fighters on the planet.

49 COMMENTS
  • metalmulisha says:

    Gina says “do you have any idea what I’m up against right now.”

    Well apparently the odds makers do because every line I’ve seen for this fight she’s a pretty healthy underdog.

  • Yeah, everyone fully expects Cyborg to steamroll the talented but protected Carano.

    Who is the “they” she’s referring to??

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    Anyways,

    I’ll be watching a replay of UFC 100 on Spike this night, as well as 3 undercard fights they didn’t show.

    Much more interested in Coleman / Bonnar & Jon Jones fight that anything they have to offer. Just my $.02

  • metalmulisha says:

    I imagine you don’t have Showtime either if you’re gonna watch replays of fights you know the outcome of and the snoozefest which was Coleman/Bonnar.

    Oh sorry I forgot for a second who I was replying to.

  • RoadsideGraphix says:

    I said this before and I am sticking to it… I WILL NEVER PAY FOR ANOTHER UFC PPV.

    I would rather wait a week and watch it on SPIKE. This is the same reason I stopped getting boxing PPVs…They are usually on HBO a week later.

    Viva La Strikeforce!

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    Oh wow!! Great comeback. You’re such an ass.

    There were a few fights I’d like to watch that weren’t aired. Sorry your precious commodity is getting countered.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    As much as I like the ufc it does annoy me that I pay $55 to watch ufc 100, then get it for free just so they can try to stick it to strikeforce, but really they are letting all the ppv buyers know they wasted thier money, wait unti somebody else airs a fight and then we will give our fans something for free.

  • metalmulisha says:

    “Sorry your precious commodity is getting countered”

    WTF?

  • Sorry but live MMA is my drug and I’m jonesing for a fix.

    I might change it over to Spike to see what’s going on but honestly, nothing gets me pumped more than a live event.

  • Angry Mike says:

    She’s an athlete who also happens to be attractive. She’s going to get questions about her personal life, especially the way she’s been marketed. It’s part of the game, and she’ll just have to learn to cope.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Has she even watched the showtime bits on her, the most prominent questions are what is your most feminin quality(her breasts) and would you ever pose for playboy(no). If she is unhappy with this treatment and I think rightly so dont answer stupid questions like that, she is a great fighter and can dictate what kind of questions she answers.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    You’re not getting the whole card, as you’re not going to see GSP’s domination of Alves. I’d rather watch a fight the night of, rather than later anyway. I don’t think you’re wasting your money to see a card the day of, just to wait a month or 2 later to watch only certain fights off the card, and it being jacked full of commercials.

    Jon Jones and Jake O’Brien is a nice addition as well.

    As far as the comment towards you, Mulisha, I agree with a lot of what you say, most of the time. I’ve agreed with you a few times today, if you look at some of the other posts you’ve left. I put at the end of my comment above “just mt $.02” I don’t need to hear “Oh I forgot who I was replying to”

    I’ve said time and time again I’ll take quality over quantity. That’s MY opinion.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I will admit that before I heard about the fight I wanted to see Bonner Coleman go at it. And I would bet that we will be able to see Jon Jones on the main card fron now on.

  • metalmulisha says:

    “I’ve said time and time again I’ll take quality over quantity. That’s MY opinion.”

    Like the quality of Coleman and Bonnar over Mousasi and Babalu? LMFAO!

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    Uhhhh, no.

    Like a big KO from Henderson?

    FAIL

  • metalmulisha says:

    No ozz you failed miserably.

    And you’re making it worse by continuing with this argument.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    Bottom line

    Do what you want. Be different. Watch it. I’ll tune in for that fight, of fvcking course. But I’m not going to watch over half the shit they put on this card.

    It’s been dismantled and rebuilt like fvcking Frankenstein. It doesnt take an astrophysicist to see that.

  • danw84 says:

    I just paid the $2 or whatever it costs to download the undercards I wanted to see after UFC 100 was over that night. I think it’s cool they do that. Good quality video too. I agree it’s pretty lame they replay the fights for free so shortly after we paid so much for them, but then again you’re paying to see it live and watch the results as they happen. That’s why I don’t buy PPVs that happen in Europe. How they can justify charging $45 for a tape delayed broadcast is beyond me. Yes I’m aware you can watch it live, but who wants to get up and watch a UFC at 9AM?

    I’m pumped for this Strikeforce. I think Gina vs Cyborg will be a great fight.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    I want to say if you order the PPV through UFC.com or yahoo you get them for free. I don’t know if that was a one time thing or not though, so don’t quote me

  • shotokai_ says:

    “I’ve said time and time again I’ll take quality over quantity.”

    Ozz maybe you could consider applying this philosophy to your comment posting on this site.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    maybe i should

  • hindsightufuk says:

    personally ima download everything and watch as much as i can. i cant be scheduling sht to watch on tv. i’d watch every single mma event if i could download that much.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    Jesus Christ guys!

    White flag, white flag!!

    shotokai WTF?

  • edub says:

    Havent read the whole article yet or even passed the first paragraph but i just have to say one thing.

    I dont put either of these women in my top 4 pfp for women. Maybe Cyborg at 5 but neither of them above Mega Megu, Larosa, and a couple others that slip my mind right now.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    so i get to watch the jon jones fight and clomen vs bonner and hendo smash the count again???? SWEET since i dont get showtime….unless what channel is it on starchoice in canada?????

  • danw84 says:

    “Havent read the whole article yet or even passed the first paragraph but i just have to say one thing.

    I dont put either of these women in my top 4 pfp for women. Maybe Cyborg at 5 but neither of them above Mega Megu, Larosa, and a couple others that slip my mind right now.”

    Maybe so, but are any of them as nice to look at as Gina? (Haha horrible reason to watch a fight).

  • danw84 says:

    moosebaby, I could be totally wrong here, but as far as I know Showtime isn’t available in Canada. At least it wasn’t when I lived there anyway.

  • edub says:

    Dan Ill give it to u there none of them are as hot as Cyborg.

    HAAAA!

  • mac wilson says:

    Fair opinion edub….it would help if we had an organization gather these fighters together so we could answer some of these questions.

    I’d like to have a real tough division where we can watch fighters move up and down in rank…..as it is right now these top fighters are spread out too much in my opinion.

    I gotta admitt, even though it is important competition, the UFC model of gobbling up the best of the best would definately help the women gain some more attention. And of course answer the “top female fighter” debate right away.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    i didnt think so. thanks danw84. is there any other way of getting this in canada???

  • danw84 says:

    Well there’s always live streams…

  • submit662266 says:

    It is hard for me to watch the women fight. I try to be fair and treat all people equally, but from a standpoint of personal preference, I don’t enjoy watching the women as much. Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying that women SHOULDN’T fight. It is a free country (for the most part) and the women should fight if they want to. I’m only expressing a preference that I don’t enjoy watching them as much as the men. I wonder if other people feel the same discomfort? Maybe this is one reason women’s mma is having a harder time gaining a larger following.

  • edub says:

    Makes a lot of sense Submit. Womens sports continue to get much lower ratings when comparede to their male sport counterpart( In America the difference might be small when considering soccer and Tennis but in the rest of the world the difference is just like the NBA and WNBA).

    It also might from a fighting standpoint that you could have some men watch the fight and say “Oh thats cool that their fighting, but they’re girls and any guy off the street could take them).That isnt how I think but it could be one of the hurdles they face.

    I for one will watch because it is on a pretty good card of fights. However, I stand by my claim from a while back when I say that this shouldnt be the main event.

  • submit662266 says:

    I’m not trying take away from their talent. I’ll be honest here: Gina would beat my a$$ in a fight. She’s a trained professional: I used to pick on my little brother 20 years ago. She’s a fighter, I’m not a fighter. My hang-up is that I feel uncomfortable watching 2 women hit each other. I am a HUGE fan of watching the guys beat each other sense-less, but can’t get on board with the women’s side of the sport.

    From what I’ve seen and read, Gina is a great ambassador of the sport. I will watch the fights b/c I love the sport. I don’t care which promotion hosts the fights: I have tremendous respect for anyone brave enough to step in and give it a go. It is truly compelling.

  • GetItOn says:

    “Like the quality of Coleman and Bonnar over Mousasi and Babalu? LMFAO!”

    Yes I will take Mousasi vs Babalu over watching either Coleman or Bonnar fight anyone. Even my Grandma without her dentures in.

  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    I never said I wouldn’t watch that fight, for the record. I said it will be nice to see some of the undercards on TV that we didn’t get with the PPV.

    Thanks for the support though.

  • VENOM says:

    The Coleman and Bonnar fight wasn’t that great! I actually left my seat in the 2nd round to get a beer. Yes, I was THAT bored. Jones and O’Brien was a good fight though. It was a nice quick one.

  • edub says:

    Youll be alright Ozz. If we dish it out we gotta take it some times man.

  • madheartmma says:

    ozz..you sound like you need your diaper changed, do you live on this site ? $50 says you dont train, do you even have a Y chromosome? HA! Ha! breaking balls, or I’ll rephrase for you..busting chops..

  • danw84 says:

    Who cares if someone trains? Do you hold a belt? No? Don’t comment then.

    It’s a dumb argument.

  • mu_shin says:

    There is some merit to acknowledging the disparate quality of men’s and women’s sports, specifically looking at NBA/WNBA, or professional golf, but there are many sports where women compete at just as high a level. Men’s and women’s tennis are different games, but I don’t think most fans would site a huge difference in quality when watching the Williams sisters as compared to top level men’s tennis. Beach volleyball is another sport where men and women both play at a very high level.

    It must be aknowledged as well that there are fight fans who are uncomfortable watching women in combat sports. It would seem to me the argument is similar to the general sentiment regarding MMA in total: if you don’t dig it, don’t watch it.

    Specifically in terms of women’s MMA, I’ve seen several fights that were excellent, with well trained athletes who really went for it. Cristiane Santos is one of those fighters. Also saw some good women’s matches in Bodog fights. Where things get thin in women’s MMA is the depth of the competitors available to field interesting matches. Beyond the first tier of experienced, seasoned fighters who really know the game, there are just not that many female athletes who have trained long enough or hard enough to make watching them in the ring in any way compelling or entertaining.

    Forgetting for a moment that Gina Carano is hot, she can fight. Check out pictures of Cyborg Santos, and you’re looking at a seriously ripped muscular woman, who can punch and go to the ground, having trained muy thai and BJJ, predominantly with men. These two will be raising the profile of women’s MMA with their title bout, but what remains to be seen is if there are other quality matches out there that fans will be interested in seeing, as well as enough depth of field to make women’s MMA a going concern in any promotion.

  • JollyDV says:

    Bravo Mu_shin, I agree exactly. It is often hard to watch the women fight. I compare it to a car wreck, you can’t help but keep watching to see how it ends up. As I was more and more female MMA fights it gets easier with each one.

    I will have my TV tuned into Showtime to watch this card. I am pulling for Cyborg. I have several reasons , the main being she scares the shit out of me. Also, she is a strong woman and is well rounded. I don’t think we really know who good either woman is. Their competition as of yet is lackluster at best. Neither has been pushed to their limits. I am hoping to see that on this fight.

  • MMApride19 says:

    In my opinion, we should welcome women MMA as much as mens MMA. If mma wants to be recognised as a ‘sport’ then it needs to be an activity which ALL sexes and ALL ages can take part in. There are proper rules and regulations within MMA promotions nowadays, there is nothing to worry about at all. I would not even be disgusted or less inclined to watch, if i saw a couple of children aged 6 – 12 going at it. I mean with younger ages, yes they should wear the necassary protection – head guards, shin guards and then the obvious gum shields and gloves. But with fully grown women? Why should they not get exactly the same treatment as a male fighter?

    I mean that in the sense of inside the cage, and outside the cage. I think it is totally unnacceptable when i read disrespectful comments about womens MMA, about how they are no where near the level of men MMA fighters and because of that they should not take part – they are not to the same level maybe.. but that is mainly due to the lack of exposure, which means less fights and less experience and less hardcore training. As womens MMA grows, so will the skill level of the fighters. Just as mens MMA has grown, so has the skill level of the fighters…. I read the other day, how it lowered someones opinion of a female because she was a fighter… Now that IMO is disgusting. If we, as real MMA fans want this sport, to be RECOGNISED as a sport… Then women MMA or just women martial arts in general, needs to be televised more – but in a positive light. In a positive press. For MMA to expand, it needs to be recognised as a sport with proper rules and regulations, that is safe to take part in for ALL ages and sexes – because the competitors are looked after, as they would be in any other sport.

    I will definetly be tuning in to watch the Strikeforce event. The fact that Carano vs Cyborg is a main event over a fight like Babalu vs Mousassi is a major breakthrough in womens MMA and just MMA in general, I think it is more than needed to expand this sport. I respect anyone who chooses to step in that octagon and fight, women or men. And so should everybody else.

  • mac wilson says:

    Excellent post MMApride and I agree 100%……as the popularity grows, so will the competition.

    It may be awkward in training to spar with a woman or to think of fighting a woman if you are a man. But two women fighting has nothing to do with anything except the technical skills displayed and the heart and desire it takes to compete in such a sport.

    Not only do MMA fighters IN GENERAL deserve our respect for the type of sport they compete in……but isn’t this the greatest sport in the world, with the greatest athletes? They should be respected in that way.

  • edub says:

    MmaPride and Mac Wilson:

    The problem i see in your posts is your treating womens mma as a charity case. “We should welcome womens mma just as much as mens”. We can welcome it but i think were gonna have to realize that womens mma is never gonna be as big as a draw as mens. Just because the competition and skill level grows doesnt necessarily mean hihger ratings. Mma is a spectator sport. I think we overlook that fact a little too much.

  • mac wilson says:

    I think once people get the exposure to the women athletes, they will reolize that the women can put on just as exciting of a fight, and then the demand will go up.

    Women have been very supportive of the sport as fans of it as well and I think there is just as much interest in who is the best woman in the world because they are still pushing the limits of thier bodies to the max just like the men do.

    But you don’t see as much female MMA out there as a casual fan, you often have to look for it. If the women arn’t on the cards that everybody (including the men) are watching, then how are we (and ultimately the “cringing” men)supposed to watch it……

    You CAN however, have female fights mixed with male fights on a card. It isn’t like the WNBA or LPGA where it has to be 100% women. All somebody has to do is give these women fights on good cards…..And of course collect all the top female fighters as I suggested earlier. I think they just need a chance and they can develop thier side of the sport quite a bit.

    But of course ultimately the fact is that male fighters will always be considered more dangerous in comparison pound for pound, but who knows maybe one day a certain woman will crush those perceptions. We might one day see the top 145lb woman face off against the top 145lb man for example. I don’t know if that will ever/should ever happen though. THAT makes me uncomfortable.

  • edub says:

    Theres the problem in my eyes. That comparisonwould always arise ijn the back of peoples minds. Could your really see Cyborg( I say her because I think shes gonna pwn Gina) being even competitive with sayyy Jameel Massouh.

    Ok let me readdress… I dont wanna call it a problem because I love mma. And Im all for womens competition. So Im down to see two badass women beat the crap out of each other.

    I just dont see the reason to “PUSH” womens mma into the spotlight. If the casual fan accepts it(besides just Ginas fights) than great. If not itll still have a spot in the mma world.

  • mac wilson says:

    Well to be fair, with that logic I could argue that as a Rampage Jackson fan, I’m not interested in seeing Chuck vs Wanderlei 2 because I know Rampage would beat the winner anyways.

    Why watch MMA at all? Might as well just watch the guys who never lose. As long as the fights are exciting and competitive and of high technical skill, then who cares?

    The casual MMA fan may not care…..the guy who buys the pay per view for the single main event…..sure I see your point. But to me, I wanna see all the fights. I want to see a full card top to bottom packed with great shows of technique, stragey, excitment, and heart…..and the only way to do that is to pack a card with a variety of matchups…..If you value each of those fights and believe it has a story to tell….then there is no reason why you shouldn’t like womens MMA.

    I don’t watch Gina cause shes good looking….I watch her because shes a great fighter. There is nothing attractive about seeing a pretty girl get punched in the face….If you think so, you might need your head examined lol.

    But if you want to look at pretty girls pick up a Maxim or check out the ring girls between rounds. It’s a fight.

    That’s what I think about it….If you can watch a fight objectively and watch it as if you were in class at the dojo….then you can do it. If you are picturing a street fight or two girls fighting at a party….sure that is offputting.

  • edub says:

    “Well to be fair, with that logic I could argue that as a Rampage Jackson fan, I’m not interested in seeing Chuck vs Wanderlei 2 because I know Rampage would beat the winner anyways.”

    Well I completely disagree with that being the same logic but this is an old post so Im not gonna worry about it.

    “I don’t watch Gina cause shes good looking….I watch her because shes a great fighter.”

    The problem now is a lot of casual fans did. And that fight with Cyborg made her look like a second rate fighter in a lot of peoples eyes(IMO Gina fought hard and did ok).

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