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What happens to the women?

I’m still coming to terms with the death of ProElite … some parts of me – such as the part of me that covered all the sketchy shit they did – are happy, but other parts of me are sad, namely the part of me that loves women’s MMA and wants to see it grow. For better or worse, ProElite was the home of women’s MMA, and despite the mismanagement that went on to propagate a ‘Gina division’ attitude in the company, they still ended up showing a lot of people what women bring to the table in terms of mixed martial arts. Now what’s next for them? MMA Fanhouse ponders the question:

If Affliction is smart, it will act quickly to sign Carano vs. Cyborg for its scheduled show in early 2009. Carano and Cyborg are recognizable names who come on the cheap (Carano made $25,000 for her last fight and Cyborg significantly less), which means they’re perfect for a Fedor Emelianenko undercard.

I also think it’s time for UFC President Dana White to reconsider his opposition to women’s MMA. White has said categorically that women will not fight in the UFC, but I would propose that Zuffa, UFC’s parent company, should add women’s MMA to WEC, its smaller organization. If WEC signed Carano, it would do a great deal to draw attention to its other top fighters, including Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres.

The bottom line is that Carano is a real star of the sport, and now she’s a star without a home. Let’s hope that isn’t the case for long.

Personally I really don’t want Affliction coming in and grabbing up Gina Carano. They’re barely able to develop any division past their heavyweight division, let alone a properly functioning women’s division. If Affliction locks up Gina Carano’s services, then women’s MMA as a whole really will become the Gina Carano show. All love to Gina and such, but that’s not the cause I signed up for.

I’m all for women in the WEC … it makes perfect sense to me and half the other sportswriters out there. The women bang, the women draw, and with Gina Carano on top you’ve suddenly got a division and belt that will carry any event way better than a Faber vs Dude who isn’t fit to hold Faber’s jockstrap match. Past that point, it just makes sense for the UFC to fill the hole before another promotion picks up the ball and runs with it. I know they’ve already written Affliction off (and honestly, I don’t see them surviving to throw a third show either), but there will always be new challengers on the horizon.

Speaking of that, another home for women that hasn’t been discussed much is Strikeforce. They were the ones that ‘discovered’ Gina Carano and they’re still showing some small interest in developing a women’s division. Sure, a lot of the shit that I hated about the way EliteXC ran their division is the same in Strikeforce – a la booking women with good looks but non-existent records – but beggars can’t be choosers. Regardless, I have more faith in Scott Coker’s ability to develop a legitimate women’s division than I ever could for EliteXC.

Suffice to say, there’s a decent number of ways this could play out. I think I speak for us all when I say the best possible outcome to this would be for the WEC to scoop up Gina and get cracking on creating an awesome home for her and other female athletes. Past that, Strikeforce could fill the status quo that EliteXC left behind nicely enough, and I’m sure Affliction will be sniffing around Carano vs Cyborg if no one else bites.