By: Raul Rangel
SAN ANTONIO, TX, May 3, 2012 – In June of 2011, Gina Carano made her return to Strikeforce and came out in a fantastic fashion. Oh wait… that didn’t happen at all. As a matter of fact, she has not been in the cage since her loss to Cris “Cyborg” Santos, a fight in which she was dominated and really beaten for the first time in her career.
Ever since then people have been wondering when she would be making her comeback. But after injuries, taking on movie roles, and simply being away from the sport; does it matter if she comes back to MMA?
Gina was the face of women’s MMA. She had the killer charisma in and out of the cage and the looks of a model. In short, she was the star of female MMA. But does the sport still need her?
Since she has left the women’s division has made strides with new fighters, fantastic fights, and one promotion with nothing but female fights.
It’s now been three years since we’ve seen Gina in the cage.
During her time away she has filmed a few movies and tried to plan a comeback, but a medical condition kept her from fighting. When asked about when she would return, Gina hasn’t yet given a definitive answer. Her Hollywood career is taking off to the point where it’s doubtful that she the time to commit as much to training as she’d want to in order to face the elite competition of female fighters that are now in Strikeforce and everyone else in the MMA sport.
After Gina left, Strikeforce’s women’s division was thought to be on the downturn, especially after the release of Marloes Coenen and the suspension of Cristiane “Cyborg.” But two fighters, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, have brought the women’s division to a whole another level with their recent superfight and Rousey in particular looks like a potential transcendent star.
Then there’s up-and-coming fighters like Jordan Gaza, Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis, and more on the way to bolster talent in the division.
The recent Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey card was only the second time a major promotion was headlined by two female fighters and it came out a smashing success with the headlining fight delivering everything it was supposed to. Alexis Davis and Sarah Kaufman also put in their all on the same card with a back-and-forth scrap that set up the next contender for the women’s bantamweight belt now held by Rousey.
Of course, there’s women fighting else as well.
Japanese promotions Valkyrie and JEWELS were both founded in 2008 and have been thriving in a country where your usual male-led promotions, like PRIDE and Dream, have been failing as of late.
More recently, Invicta FC became the first all-female promotion in the United States with their first card held just last week and headlined by Marloes Coenen and Romy Ruyssen. The event was met with success that looks like it will continue on given what promoters Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin have had to say.
In short, it feels good to say the world of Women’s MMA has now safely passed the days of being carried by Gina Carano, not that it was ever a bad thing. It’s just that it can be so much more. As for Gina, surely she’ll still be around but you might have to catch her at the movies.