I just wanted to take a few moments to discuss Gina Carano as the face of female MMA. As Jake mentioned on Tuesday, Gina essentially denounced the title saying that she no longer wanted to be known as that. More has now been said on the subject during another media call for October 4th, where she tried to clarify that she’s just didn’t want the label to overshadow her individualism.
But there’s a bigger issue beyond that point, one thing that’s bugged me for a while that I’ve finally pinned down. Gina reaps all the rewards of being the biggest name in female MMA, yet she hasn’t put much work into advancing the female cause in the sport. Sure, just showing up with a smile and kicking ass helps a lot. Without Gina there probably wouldn’t be a female division in EliteXC at all. But am I being greedy for expecting more?
I remember seeing Gina doing the in-ring interviews at a Fatal Femmes Fighting event and thought that was a really cool way to give back and help draw people to an event that was all about the girls. Perhaps Gina is doing other stuff like this on a regular basis? If she is, I’m not hearing about it and neither is anyone else.
There’s a good amount of animosity in the women’s MMA scene towards Gina, and while many see it as jealousy, I’ve heard differently. Many just feel like Gina has been lifted up to this higher level, and she’s simply not doing all that much to turn around and help others up as well. Women’s MMA is a tight knit group, and everyone helps everyone out whenever they can, even if they’re fighting or have already fought. So it sticks out pretty plain when someone isn’t part of ‘the team’.
A rising tide is supposed to raise all ships, but as it stands it seems like women’s MMA is stagnating. Zuffa is sticking with it’s pigheaded view that women have no place in the UFC or WEC. EliteXC’s division is closer to a Gina division than a true women’s division. And women’s participation in smaller leagues is going down instead of up! If there was ever a time where women needed a true face of MMA to stand out and bang the drum for them, it’s now.
I can’t accuse or demand too much of Carano. She is who she is and by many accounts she’s a shy person who’s still coming to grips with her own fame, let alone the pressures of carrying the hopes of an entire gender on her back. I can understand why she wouldn’t want the pressures of being ‘the face of women’s MMA’. But that’s where she is, and she’s been happy enough cashing the checks off it. She might wish it was someone else, but it’s not. So what is she going to do about it?