Gina Carano. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
Gina Carano isn’t officially set to return to action just yet. Despite Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker’s wishes, he has not yet been able to ink MMA’s biggest female star to a contract. What’s the hold up? Reported interest in Carano by Zuffa.
The UFC isn’t expected to promote any fights involving women anytime in the near future, but the possibility is real, and UFC President Dana White has said so. More feasible seems the option of the WEC adding a women’s division following the folding of it’s light heavyweight, middleweight, and welterweight divisions over the past six months.
So if the choice had to be made, where would Gina go? It seems she’s leaning towards Zuffa:
Let’s just say that you were a real free agent and not tied to any organization. Do you think you would have decided to sign with Zuffa instead of Strikeforce?
I think that I would probably pick Zuffa because that’s the big show, you know? To be a part of that would be amazing, but you know, here comes Strikeforce and they’ve got this CBS and Showtime deal and they are working their way up into being good competition. They have been respectful and haven’t tried to push it too far in terms of being competitors with the UFC. They’ve built their company on some good roots and now they are ready to branch out on Showtime and CBS. But as of right now, the UFC is the big show, and for a female, it would be an amazing opportunity.
Gina also mentions in the interview with Ariel that interest by White and company isn’t the only thing holding up talks with Strikeforce. Should she sign with the UFC or WEC, a potential court battle with Coker and Strikeforce could ensue due to her EliteXC contract being owned by them. On top of that, the chances of a long-awaited fight with Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos would continue to dwindle.
I still maintain that the WEC would be the perfect spot for Zuffa to insert a women’s division or two. Their flyweight class is set to kick off in the next few months but the lightweight division is looking thinner by the minute. With Jamie Varner and a few others likely headed over to the UFC eventually, 135 lb and 145 lb female weight classes would certainly make up for the loss of the lightweight division.
Still, if that’s to happen, it won’t be in place anytime soon. Gina wants the “Cyborg” fight and the fight wants her too. Mix in the other female fighters that Strikeforce has signed recently and it’s looking like a much better option than continuing to sit on the sidelines and see if Zuffa wants to go the female route or not.
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