Gina Carano: the Danica Patrick of women’s mixed martial arts?
Hey, Gina Carano lost her match with Christiane “Cyborg” Santos the other day.
In case you don’t follow MMA, Gina Carano was considered to be one of the world’s top female fighters – still is, I suppose, but now that Santos has the championship belt, Carano will have to work her way back to the top.
Carano is also hot: she came in at #16 on Maxim’s “Hottest Women” list earlier this year.
Before the fight, Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole wrote:
If Carano quit fighting tomorrow, though, she’d take women’s MMA down with her. She’s in the main event Saturday and has received superstar treatment, but there wouldn’t be a women’s fight on television, let alone headlining the card, if Carano weren’t involved.
Star power. After the fight, Dave Meltzer wrote:
Where will the women’s sport wind up when its top fighter is a non-English speaking Brazilian who looks like she’s right off the pages of Flex Magazine instead of an American like Carano, who finished No. 16 in Maxim’s list of hottest women on the planet?
On the one hand, that’s kind of unfortunate: surely, they’re not saying the sport can’t be popular without a supermodel headlining the events?
I’ve been trying to come to some conclusion about that – why, I ask again, do male beach volleyball players wear baggy shorts and tank tops to play, while their female counterparts wear bikinis? – but I’m just not getting there. So I’ll settle for this.
This is Gina Carano:
She’s gorgeous. It’s true. Now, here’s Christiane “Cyborg” Santos:
Not exactly Danica Patrick, or Maria Sharapova, or Natalie Gulbis.
But then, neither is Carano.
And dare I ask: is there any reason Santos can’t be? Get her into Maxim, GQ, Sports Illustrated. Put her under the lights, with the makeup and the Photoshop. Add a stylist to her retinue. Buy some slinky dresses for the red carpet.
Bam! Glamorous superstar. See? It’s all in the packaging.
For whatever reason – so far, at least – Santos has chosen not to package herself that way. Which is fine: if she’d rather be rich and famous solely for her athletic skills, hey, more power to her.
But the whole reason columnists are wondering where the sport goes without Carano at its top is that she was in Maxim. She does the modeling shoots. She wears the slinky dresses. And, yes, she’s good at her sport, just like Patrick, and Sharapova, and Gulbis.
Thing is, athletes are naturally sexy. So as long as a few of them are willing to do the packaging – and, by the way, earn the paychecks that come with those photo shoots – there’ll always be another glamorous superstar on the way.
Sexist? Maybe. I still want to make some important point, here, about some women’s sports being just as much fun to watch as the men’s or something like that. Or maybe that…hey, becoming a swimsuit model isn’t even an option for a male athlete, who might otherwise be a little-known also-ran like Anna Kournikova.
But, ah, the heck with it.