Kevin Iole calles Gina Carano the lifeblood of women's MMA, and writes the following statement:
Santos is, by far, the most dangerous woman she’s ever faced, yet Carano exudes cool. The pressure on her in Saturday’s nationally televised bout is immense. There is no athlete in any sport, male or female, who is more important to the success of that sport than Carano is to women’s mixed martial arts.
I agree with those sentiments, because she's been the most successful female on the largest stage in regards to women's MMA. Carano downplays her importance with the following statements:
"I don’t have to be there for the sport to be successful," Carano said. "I’m doing the best with this opportunity to represent the sport. I’m doing everything I can do. But the sport is awesome. It’ll make it by itself. They don’t need me for it to be successful. I’m being given the chance right now for a period of time and there will be another person with the chance next."
I don't know if I can agree with her on this one. The ratings she was able to garner on CBS last year are indicative of her drawing power. I'm not sure there's another female fighter out there right now that would have the same appeal without tons of marketing behind her. Which is something Strikeforce doesn't seem to be able to do right now. Actually, if she were to lose to Cris Cyborg this weekend, that would be a great measuring stick to see just where women's MMA is in the grand scheme of things. Cris Cyborg would be someone you could market, but just exactly how I'm not sure. However, there would always be the possibility of a re-match down the road I suppose. What happens to women's MMA if Gina Carano loses to Cris Cyborg this weekend?