Just a little over a year after the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s(UFC) president, Dana White, stated that there will never be an opportunity for a woman to step foot in a octagon; now woman’s mixed martial arts has jolted the organization like a lightning bolt. Ronda Rousey has coincidentally become the face of the women’s bantamweight division and one of the top draws in the organization. Not many casual fans know though, Rousey was not considered the first pretty face of women’s MMA. The UFC may have just opened the door for that former women’s fighter to make her octagon return, and rumor has it, she may soon enough accept their invitation. Gina Carano was not only one of the most attractive women in MMA, she was also one of the most talented, but then abruptly she just up and disappeared from the sport and brand that she became the face of.
Another door was opened in Carano’s career, acting became the number one priority. Gina accepted supporting roles early in her acting career but landed the lead role in the movie “Haywire” and became one of the co stars in the famed movie series, “Fast & Furious 6.” Her sole claim to fame outside the octagon was not just taking part in movies; she was also named one of the most influential women in 2008, #15 on Maxim’s Hot 100 list in 2009, and also took part in ESPN’s Magazine “The Body” issue in 2009 as well. Carano has not needed organizations like the UFC or her former organization, Strikeforce, to keep notoriety. Despite all of her success outside of the octagon, Gina has expressed her dream to have always wanted to fight for the UFC and may look at this as an opportunity to make her long awaited return to the sport she loves.
In MMA Gina was a highly successful Muay Thai kickboxer, and holds a 7-1 record inside the cage. In August of 2009, Carano took on Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino for the women’s featherweight championship; which wound up being her first defeat in her career; and the last time Gina had stepped foot in a cage since. During Cyborg’s recent spat with the UFC’s current women’s champion, Ronda Rousey; Cyborg had claimed that she retired Carano, and that she would do the same to Rousey if they were ever to fight each other. Their verbal jabs at each other has become somewhat of the story of women’s MMA, overshadowing the possibility of an eventual return by the former face of women’s fighting.
The bantamweight division that Rousey controls is not exactly deep in talent and contenders. Which may be one of the reasons Dana White may be so open to fighters like Cristiane Justino or Gina Carano making their debuts in the UFC. Both fighters may want to act fast, Dana’s revolving door does not stay open for long as the impatient president is constantly looking for fighters to bolster his women’s roster. Gina Carano may not need MMA nor welcome the punishment she may receive competing again, but sometimes just the love for the sport can overpower anything.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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