Why Women’s MMA Needs the Next Gina Carano: ASAP

Posted: November 18, 2010 in Bellator, Local MMA, Marketing, PR, Strikeforce

As you can tell from reading this blog, I love Mixed Martial Arts.  I love every aspect of the sport, the training behind it and the various skills (in and out of the ring) you need to succeed in it.  What I love most about this sport is the fact that it is built for everyone: men, women, and children (supervised of course.)

(Before I get a barrage of Mom’s arguing the merits of MMA and kids: with children you teach basic self defense,confidence and how to work both in teams and on their own.) Now back to the subject of this post,  men at this stage seem to have the MMA market cornered.  There are countless organizations, stars and promoters.  Women, however, have yet to really break though – and not for lack of trying.  There are plenty of people with an opinion on women’s MMA, mine is that it simply needs a few marketable fighters to help raise its profile.

The hardest thing for women’s MMA was the loss of Gina Carano.  Love her, or hate her – she was a marketing juggernaut.  To many she was labeled the “face” of women’s MMA (sorry Cyborg) and to me, she was another Rich Franklin (PR Goldmine).   Let’s look at the numbers and the facts:

Photo from Sherdog.com

MMA Record*:
7 – 1 – 0
Wins: 3 (T)KOs, 1 Submission, and 3 Decisions

In the Ring:

  • Carano started her career in the sport of Muay Thai. After achieving a Muay Thai record of 12-1-1, Carano received an offer to participate in the first-ever sanctioned female MMA bout in Nevada.
  • She had competed in both EliteXC and STRIKEFORCE; in most cases on main cards

Out of the Ring:

  • Carano starred in the cult film Ring Girls.] Based on true events, Ring Girls is a fast-paced story about five American women from Las Vegas who take on the ultimate challenge of fighting the best female Muay Thai fighters in the world.
  • She served as a mentor to aspiring female fighters in the Oxygen reality series Fight Girls.
  • Carano appeared as “Crush” on the NBC show American Gladiators.
  • She was featured in the Michael Jai White film Blood and Bone.
  • Carano also appeared in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 as Natasha,a purchasable hero unit, portraying the Soviet sniper/commando in various cutscenes.

In the Media:

  • She was profiled in a feature story for the ESPN series E:60, and was voted “Hottest Woman In America” by Big Biz Magazine in the Spring 2008 issue.
  • On May 13, 2008, “Gina Carano” was the fastest-rising search on Google and third most searched person on Yahoo
  • Carano was ranked as #5 on the “Top Ten Influential Women of 2008” list on Yahoo!
  • In May 2009, it was announced that Carano was ranked #16 in Maxim’s Hot 100 list.
  • Carano was one of the cover athletes for the  2009 edition of ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue.

As you can see here, there was almost nothing Gina Carano could do wrong. (Well, except beat Cyborg for the title…)  Now, I know what many of you are thinking and yes, having model-esque looks certainly helped Carano. However, I’m not saying we need an army of models fighting in MMA.  Just look at the men, these aren’t all GQ cover shots we’re talking about.  What we need are dynamic personalities and brands willing to take a stand and put more marketing dollars behind the atheletes.  C’mon guys, let’s make this happen. I don’t want to have Women’s MMA become the WNBA: a half-assed venture with enough money to keep it alive, but not enough to market it and tell people it still has a pulse…

*Stats from Sherdog.com

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elisabeth Nuesser, Babes of MMA. Babes of MMA said: RT @FIGHTCHIX: Why Women's MMA Needs the Next Gina Carano: ASAP « Mixed Marketing … http://bit.ly/cxJI5Z […]

  2. With a national rank of #1, a world rank of #2, and undefeated in no-gi grappling I feel I am one of the best-kept secrets as I enter into MMA in 2011.

    Laura “Lady Ram” Ramsey

  3. […] Why Women’s MMA Needs the Next Gina Carano: ASAP! […]

  4. […] Carano has returned to MMA!  Finally, I’m glad someone listens to me.  I think the sport definitely needs her and her presence will indeed inspire some other athletes […]

  5. […] is the long-awaited movie that Gina Carano put her MMA career on hold for.  I’ll be honest, I was expecting it to be another American Gladiators choice in her […]

  6. […] If anyone may feel vindicated by this news and feel it is time to shake the cage cobwebs off it is Gina Carano.  A return now would be a marketing bomb with Haywire hitting theaters […]

  7. […] smack talk, submitting Miesha Tate to win the Strikeforce bantamweight championship on March 3.  (Perhaps we finally have the next big female MMA Star?) And Martin Kampman continued his streak for ruining evenings by defeating Thiago Alves via […]

  8. […] There are very talented women in BJJ and MMA waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. I repeat – PLEASE will the next Gina Carano please stand up? […]

  9. […] Ronda show.  Now, if you read this blog you’re probably confused.  “Haven’t you been asking for the next Gina Carano?” you ask. Yes. I have. In fact, I’ve pleaded several times on this blog for the next […]

  10. […] What is the one question I ask on a semi regular basis? (Ok, beyond the question of when MMA will be completely mainstream…)  The answer: when will we see the next Gina Carano? […]

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