There is a world of red-blooded male mixed martial arts fans who
would love to date Gina
Carano (Pictures). The rationale is obvious: Carano
is extra-easy on the oculars and almost any hardcore fan can attest
to wishing his own main squeeze was a little more into the sport,
if not a fighter herself.
And how nice it must be to have a girl who doesn't care at all
about her weight.
Snarkiness aside, in spite of an actual fight card which produced
more than a handful of hot topics and discussion points -- as well
as a great performance from Carano herself -- my mind has yet to
fully drift from yet another weigh-in debacle. The fact that such
an event was swept under the rug indicated some kind of
insignificance. Carano missing weight again wasn't just a story
because nothing else interesting happened on Friday; it's an
ongoing issue fight fans should be taking umbrage with.
Her undoubtedly impressive performance against Kaitlin Young (Pictures) this past Saturday night pushed
her career mark to 6-0. For four of those six fights, Carano came
in overweight. Against Julie
Kedzie (Pictures) and Tonya Evinger (Pictures), Carano was a fraction of a pound
over the one-pound allowance for 140-pound contests. Overweight,
yes, but out of line? Debatable. However, this cannot make up for
four and four-and-a-half pounds overweight Carano entered her bouts
with Rosi Sexton and Young,
Together, these fights form a pattern of unprofessionalism which
certainly wouldn't be tolerated for any other female, let alone a
male fighter. Yet, it is a pattern masked by promoters eager to
revamp fights at spur-of-the-moment catch weights and a fan base
fortifying ideas of illegitimacy for females in the sport.
This is not a wholesale conviction of "Conviction." Despite her
weighty indiscretions, Carano is a clearly talented fighter and her
high profile has developed the sphere of female MMA. But when
Carano revealed that she struggled to make weight because of an
abbreviated training camp caused by filming the second season of
American Gladiators, she may be closing in on a forced ultimatum:
film or fight.
Carano has the talent to be something special, but if she wishes to
use MMA as a platform to other pursuits, that's fine. However,
making weight is an essential benchmark of professionalism that all
fighters should be forced to meet. Contracted weights are not
intended to be merely recommendations. Regardless of how much
someone is over, their opponent was still forced to make weight,
enduring the toll of meeting professional expectations. The process
of the weight cut is often every bit as crucial to the unfolding
bout as what happens in the cage. To allow certain prized
individuals leeway in that struggle affords them an unsportsmanlike
Some have opined that bringing Carano up to 145 pounds would limit
opportunities to fight natural 135-pounders, and with a dearth of
heavier-weight female talent, would give MMA's most magnetic female
a lack of notable opponent. While there certainly not the talent
lurking above 135 as there is below that side of scales, Carano
does not exactly fight an iron woman's schedule. Meanwhile,
(Pictures) just destroyed another
overmatched female in Holland this past weekend, looking for
legitimate fights. A gritty Jen
Case (Pictures) and the gamebred Cristiane Cyborg, both Pro
Elite signees, would likely have no problem taking on the
promotion's poster girl as featherweights. And that's without
suggesting that Carano go a little further up the scale to meet the
likes of her fellow American Gladiator Erin Toughill (Pictures), who has lamented the lack of
female competitors to face her.
However, what really makes the situation all the more objectionable
is Gary Shaw's hypocritical history when it comes to scale
"If (Jose Luis) Castillo doesn't want to fight at 135 pounds, then
be man enough and say we can't make the weight. I promise you, this
will not happen again," said Shaw after Castillo waffled the late
Diego Corrales in their September 2005 rematch. When Castillo
failed to make weight for their proposed June 2006 rubber match,
Shaw refused to let his man step into the ring.
"[Diego Corrales] is not going to put his life at risk," said Shaw
after the fight was cancelled. Castillo weighed in at 139.5 pounds,
four-and-a-half pounds over the 135-pound limit. Not terribly
unlike the four-and-a-half pounds overweight that Carano came in at
for her bout with Young.
MMA fans were outraged when Travis Lutter (Pictures) missed weight for his proposed
UFC title bout Anderson
Silva. The fact that Lutter would be cast as Grendel for the
rest of his career while Carano escapes scot-free implicitly
enforces the idea that male MMA is of an inherently greater value
than its female counterpart. The light-hearted reception of
Carano's actions would seem to indicate that much of MMA's fan base
feels that female MMA has no legitimacy in the first place.
Those fans acknowledging female MMA as worthwhile cannot tolerate
this kind of complacency in the future. Silence and tolerance only
affirm the idea that female MMA isn't worth the time, the effort,
or the outrage that characterize our reactions to the same
irresponsibility from male fighters.
Her future on the scale will determine whether or not "Conviction"
is a misnomer for Gina Carano. That same future will let us know
whether Elite XC, Gary Shaw or MMA fans have any conviction of