Archive for Gina Carano

Cyborg’s Next Test

Posted in MMA with tags , , , on February 18, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

Women’s MMA is Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos’ oyster.  Since conquering Gina Carano last August, the Strikeforce Featherweight Champion continues to improve at an alarming rate.  Cyborg’s recent destruction over submission veteran Marloes Coenen, makes the contender’s list look more like a grocery list for Cyborg to gobble up.  Women’s MMA is still in its infancy stage and the biggest obstacle is the incredibly shallow talent pool.  Coenen was Cyborg’s stiffest challenge to date, but Cyborg still stalked her down and finished her in 3 rounds. Cyborg is a beast and the only question surrounding her is who can challenge her?

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is hoping his latest acquisition and named next-in-line challenger, Erin Toughill, is the one who can actually threaten Cyborg’s title.  Coker would have preferred building Toughill for the American audience but Cyborg’s dominance has forced his hand.  Toughill is a big, strong and experienced fighter in both MMA (10-2-1) as well as boxing (8-2-1).  She is a worthy adversary for the champion and for the 1st time in her career, Cyborg will find her natural advantages taken away from her.  That in itself makes the match up more interesting.

Under normal circumstances, Cyborg is the larger woman in the cage.  Cyborg’s size has often overwhelmed her opponents.  That’s not going to be the case against the former American Gladiator.  The 5’8″ fighting phenom will not have that luxury with the 5’10” Toughill as her dancing partner.  Cyborg has had weight issues in the past.  She has fought a couple of pounds over the 145 lbs limit but never in a contest contracted over the featherweight limit.  Toughill has consistently competed between 160-170lbs and has successfully made the transition to 145lbs.  Cyborg’s bullying tactics will most likely not work on a woman on Toughill’s size.

Taking in account Cyborg’s trademark wild attacking style, it could be thwarted by a larger and patient counter puncher (see Dan Henderson vs. Wanderlei Silva).  Herein lies another obstacle for Cyborg.  Toughill has had her share of encounters with savage females.  She knows how to tackle that situation.  Toughill has also brought her power down with the weight cut.  All of that, along with her boxing background, made it possible to knock out the very same Marloes Coenen in only 1 round.  Toughill should be the crisper and cleaner puncher in the fight.  If she can weather the storm of punches thrown by Cyborg, she maybe be able to find an opening to make the champion pay for being overzealous.  Cyborg has shown a great chin in her fights by walking through her opponents shots, but Toughill does not punch like anyone from Cyborg’s past.  The flip side to that is Toughill has been chin checked and stopped before, but by better and bigger strikers.  Toughill gave Laila Ali a good fight at 168 lbs in one of boxing’s most brutal female matches, but ultimately succumbed to the quicker Ali whose straight right hands have been too much for any female to bear.  Even those with a zero fight IQ know that Ali is a far better puncher than Cyborg.  One of Toughill’s 2 MMA loses came against a 300 lbs+ Russian (the other loss was a disqualification), therefore she has been hit with more than what Cyborg is physically capable of.  It goes without saying that she will be ready for everything in Cyborg’s kitchen sink.

Women’s MMA might not carry the same weight it does when Gina Carano isn’t the headliner, but Cyborg-Toughill should peak any fight fan’s interest.  Knowing that Cyborg will be pushed should be enough reason to tune in, but the main reason you should be excited about this match up is because both these women come to fight.  MMA audiences love striking affairs and both women will be content on keeping the fight standing until one of them goes down.  Both are comfortable on the ground and have notched some impressive wins there, but their strengths and passions are in the striking game.  There is plenty to celebrate when you have two straight ahead warriors like Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Erin Toughill.  MMA is full of dominant champions and the winner will have the goods to join the likes of BJ Penn, GSP and Anderson Silva as dominant division kingpins.  That is something to be appreciated.  The book is already out on Cyborg and now that you know more about Erin Toughill, I hope you pay these two great women the ultimate respect by watching their championship contest.  This one will be a classic for as long as it lasts.

2009 Female Fighter of the Year: Gina Carano

Posted in MMA with tags , , , on December 31, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

Gina Carano was the cornerstone for women's MMA in 2009.

The 1st thing that comes to mind when reading this is how can I say Gina Carano is the Female Fighter of the Year when she lost her only fight in 2009 to Cris “Cyborg” Santos?  The answer is simple.  I chose Carano as the best 2009 had to offer is because she was women’s MMA in 2009. Also for the victory that it was for the women, to headline a major MMA event, could have never been realized without Carano.   As one of the biggest MMA success stories in ’09, Strikeforce:  Carano vs. Cyborg, it was easily one of  the most historical events in history as well .  She didn’t have the best year in the cage but her contributions outweigh anything else her peers accomplished this year.

Gina Carano made women fighters marketable to corporate America with her Pepsi endorsement which aired on Superbowl Sunday.

Thanks to Gina Carano, women’s MMA reached the pinnacle of the sport and it came at a heavy price.  Facing a beast of an opponent,  Carano willingly sacrificed valuable training time by enduring the smothering exposure that came from a heavy promotion built almost exclusively on her own star power.  No athlete in the world meant as much to their gender’s success in sport like Gina Carano. She dealt with unforeseen and astronomical pressure in making her title fight with Cyborg a success.  Until her Elite XC debut in 2007, no one cared or fully accepted women’s MMA until she broke into the spotlight.  The stark contrast in the two women was media bliss but it was Carano who sold the fight with a perfect blend of uncanny skill, tons of charisma and of course her movie star looks.  Had she had nothing to offer as an athlete it would have been declared a desperate novelty act, but Carano was as good as her billing and when it mattered most Carano delivered on all fronts.

Carano had the championship within her grasp against Cyborg.

Carano had the championship within her grasp against Cyborg.

A back-and-forth battle derived that had a packed house at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA standing on their feet for the bout’s entirety.  It was an all-action fight thatprovided more action than most of the guys did in their own encounters. Had a quick knockout occurred then the sport would have died right there and then, but now women like Erin Toughill, Marloes Coenen and champion Cyborg Santos now have the opportunity to showcase their skills to grander audiences without fear of repercussion. Carano put up a good fight and could have beaten her stellar opponent proving that she was not the next Anna Kournikova.  She is championship material and the world fully accepted women’s MMA due to her brave performance.  Paving the path for future stars is the greatest courtesy one can execute for their sport.  When considered what has transpired for women’s MMA it’s hard not to mention Carano’s name.  It’s an superlative achievement and justifying her as the best of 2009.

5 Reasons To Watch Fedor vs. Rogers

Posted in MMA with tags , , , , , , , on November 5, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

Dana White would have you believe that nothing in MMA exists outside of the UFC.  He has crushed every rival promotion that dare attempt to take a slice of the MMA pie.  Little experience and overspending have exhausted upstart promotions such as Elite XC and Affliction, but in Strikeforce/M-1 Global the UFC will see that this telecast will be different.

White knows it too.  He’s countering Strikeforce’s card with his own collaboration broadcast of main event fights from recent pay-per-view events.  It’s a colossal line up sure to put up a good fight against a quality card.  Sure to White’s displeasure, here are 5 reasons you should watch Strikeforce – Fedor vs. Rogers.

5) Women’s MMA

Just because Dana White didn’t want women fighting under the UFC banner doesn’t mean they don’t belong in the sport.  Make no mistake about it, these female warriors put on a good show.  In most cases their fights are more compelling than those of their male counterparts.  Carano vs. Cyborg was a massive success and even though women’s MMA is “The Gina Carano Show” this is an excellent opportunity to see the other capable women in the sport not named either Gina Carano or Cris Cyborg.  Roxanne Modaferri vs. Marloes Coenen should be an entertaining scrap and also help paint a picture of potential challenger(s) for Cris Cyborg.

4) Gegard Mousasi

"The Dream Catcher" lived up to his moniker by putting Babalu to sleep for the middleweight championship.

"The Dream Catcher" lived up to his moniker by putting Babalu to sleep for the middleweight championship.

Mousasi is arguably the most talented light heavyweight not in the UFC.  He has devastating skills and his impressive KO of former UFC champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral in his Strikefore debut opened many eyes.  His title is not on the line but keep in mind he’s the #7 ranked light heavyweight in the world regardless of promotion according to Sherdog.  Whenever a fighter is mentioned in the same breath as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida & Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, then that fighter deserves a look.  He shouldn’t disappoint.

3) Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Jake Shields

"Mayhem" is a lunatic and crazy guys are always entertaining.

"Mayhem" is a lunatic and crazy guys are always entertaining.

The Strikeforce Middleweight Championship fight is a lock for “Fight of the Night”.  “Mayhem” Miller should bring millions of fresh fans to the event thanks to his hosting gig on MTV’s “Bully Beatdown”.  Those who knew him before MTV know him for his flamboyant style and balls out fighting style.  Jake Shields is a beast that is vastly skilled and matches up well against Miller.  Shields is a heavy favorite but Miller doesn’t lat down for anybody and has promised to “beat the piss out of Jake Shields”.  You can bet the farm that both Miller and Shields will make this an instant classic.

2) Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor

Move over Mr. Rogers, this is Fedor's neighborhood.

The Russian Sambo king looks more like the neighborhood bus driver than the world’s top heavyweight, but his impressive record illustrates he’s butchered a murderer’s row of legendary heavyweights including a few former UFC champions.  Forget the language barrier because Fedor does his talking violently with his fists.  The next one in line looking to crush the folklore of Fedor is heavy-hitting Brett Rogers.  Rogers is a big and scary heavyweight who can end the fight in an instant.   At 6’5″ and 265lbs he is a monster of man who is living up the “Rocky” role leading up to the fight.  Fedor is no stranger to larger opponents and has dismantled them with the slightest window open for destruction.  This one is not going the distance and will be fun while it lasts.  If you love knockouts then this is a fight you’re not going to want to miss.

1) It’s Free

Strikeforce is exhibiting every MMA fan’s dream.  They are airing a PPV quality card for free on a major network.  The UFC has put on similar shows for free on Spike but believe it or not, not everyone has cable.  All you need is a television and you can watch Fedor vs. Rogers.

Competition is good and in this case the fans are the beneficiaries.  Pro wrestling was at its peak when Ted Turner’s WCW went head-to-head against Vince McMahon’s WWE (formerly WWF).  Competition raises the bar and forces one to boost their brand.  UFC105 is airing live on Spike and it’s not because Dana White wants to throw you a bone.

MMA Has Mainstream Acceptance

Posted in MMA with tags , , , , on October 14, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
Rampage has the howl down pat but we’re all anxious to see how he does with “I pity the fool”.

Rampage has the howl down pat but we’re all anxious to see how he does with “I pity the fool”.

Dana White was recently interviewed by Jim Rome on his show “Rome Is Burning”.  In the interview White says that MMA continues to fight for respect. While that is true when he compares ESPN’s decision to air ping-pong over MMA, it does not necessarily ring true as far as mainstream acceptance overall.

MMA has made it.  It is accepted by mainstream audiences.  There are a few detractors but even they cannot downplay the recent strides achieved by the sport. 

Go ahead and say it because it’s true.  MMA stars are cashing in on their sport’s popularity.  Many high profile fighters will be out of action for better paying gigs in Hollywood. From rap stars to reality stars, everybody wants to be in the movies. 

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is looking to channel his inner Mr. T as “B.A. Baracus” in the “A-Team” remake.  The movie already has a built in audience and they could have gone another way, but they chose Jackson instead of going for a more established actor or an unknown.  The studio realizes the added element he brings to the film and they cast him for it.

Not to worry Gina-holics.  She’ll return to the cage in due time so she can pound the crap out of someone for our enjoyment.

Not to worry Gina-holics. She’ll return to the cage in due time so she can pound the crap out of someone for our enjoyment.

Gina Carano was awarded most exceptional role ever offered to a mixed martial artist, male or female.  She has the leading role in Steven Sodenberg’s next project, “Knockout”.  Previously, films starring MMA fighters were straight-to-DVD quality, with the obvious exception of the forthcoming “A-Team” remake, but “Knockout” will be an honest-to-God Hollywood picture with the trademark Sodenberg thriller trimmings.  A Sodenberg film is nothing to scoff at.  It’s about as big as it gets in Hollywood.  Carano continues to break barriers for the sport with her latest epic accomplishment.

“El Matador” Roger Huerta is latest on a growing list of MMA stars that would rather sip latte in a trailer on set than hit the heavy bag in a gym.

“El Matador” Roger Huerta is latest on a growing list of MMA stars that would rather sip latte in a trailer on set than hit the heavy bag in a gym.

Roger Huerta decided to see their single films and raise them a career.  Jackson and Carano will eventually return to the sport that made them famous, but Huerta on the other hand said “adios.”

Cung Le has made so many movie appearances he has failed to defend the middleweight title he won 2 years ago.

Chuck Liddell was a guest star on HBO’s Emmy Award winning “Entourage” and also had a recent stint on “Dancing With the Stars”.  Then Elite XC airs on CBS, and in the near future so will Strikeforce.  Hell, even Marge Simpson is scheduled to rain elbows on the Ultimate Punching Championship in an upcoming episode of “The Simpsons”!

With that being said, it’s apparent that MMA is now accepted by mainstream standards.  Movies and television are the biggest proof of “making it” in the eyes of the public. 

So the obstacle is now conquered and the quality of the projects being offered is respectable.  Fighters love it.  Promoters hate it, but breakthrough success is never easy and always at a high price.  It’s a price well worth it though as MMA continues to push forward as a major sport.

Your Opinion: Who’s The Hottest?

Posted in MMA with tags , , on October 12, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

Looking at Gina Carano’s stunning cover shot of ESPN the Magazine’s “Body Issue” it became clear that we should see who is the hottest woman in sports.  Without further adieu here are your choices:

 

Danica Patrick – the Go Daddy pitchwoman drives around the guys on the track and drives them crazy off it

danica-patrick

Jennie Fitch – the pitching ace with a very pretty face

Jenny Fitch

Gina Carano the caged beauty that can kick your face in and make you love it

Gina The body

Heather Mitts – the double-threat heir apparent to Mia Hamm in US Women’s Soccer

Heather Mitts

Maria Sharapova – makes her dog sweat and babble in her commercials plus she’s a tennis champion

Maria_Sharapova

Mia St. John – another tough customer who has knockout power in her hands and in her looks

mia stjohn

Carano Scores a “Knockout” With Hollywood

Posted in MMA with tags , , , on September 9, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
Gina Carano’s next fight is to become Hollywood’s next big action star.

Gina Carano’s next fight is to become Hollywood’s next big action star.

I don’t claim to know everything, and I’ve been wrong a lot of times in my life, but the first time I laid eyes on Gina Carano I knew immediately that she was a star.  Regardless of whether it would be either in the cage or another platform I knew she had that special something that eludes most people.  So special in fact that her unquestioned star power continues to shine brighter despite suffering her first professional loss.  She’s a knockout for sure and Hollywood thinks so too.  The first real superstar of women’s MMA can lay claim to another first for female martial artists.  Variety Magazine reports that Hollywood directing stud Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven) has cast Carano for the lead role in the upcoming spy action thriller “Knockout” that is scheduled to being filming in January 2010.  The story is a played out one but still a classic where a talented nonconformist is granted restitution by to using her special talents for the greater good.   “Knockout” will most likely be “XXX” without the Y-chromosome.  Carano’s absence from MMA in early 2010 will undoubtedly postpone her much awaited comeback but opportunity doesn’t come knocking everyday and I couldn’t be happier for Carano.

What other Hollywood actress can actually do this?  Answer:  None.

What other Hollywood actress can actually do this? Answer: None.

With so many other stars taking up a new trade in film then it’s only fitting in my eyes that the biggest draw in Strikeforce history is awarded the same liberties.  People will begin to bitch about it but by the time Cung Lee finishes filming his current film, “Pandorum” starring Dennis Quaid, it will be over 2 years since he won the belt from Frank Shamrock. Yet we still talk about and recognize him as a legitimate champion.  So before you begin to pick apart Gina “Conviction” Carano, remember that there is no pension plan for fighters in any sport.  It has been a sad story told all too often when fighters end up broke and destitute. This is Carano’s God-given right to take this massive opportunity and to open new doors in her career. Taking faux punches to the head for more money is not rocket science when considering the alternative.  So who’s to blame her?  I’m not saying that Soderbergh is going to neither turn Carano into an Academy Award winning actress nor the next female box office champ, but we can all feel good that someone who actually deserves it is getting the chance to do film and represent the sport honorably.  Hell she just might be the only “real” female action star in Hollywood and she’s taking the right steps to avoid becoming another depressing statistic or the next Christy Martin.  There’s no condemning that.

Women’s MMA is ‘The Gina Carano Show’

Posted in MMA with tags , , , on August 26, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
Gina Carano can smile knowing the best has yet to come for her and her young career.

Gina Carano can smile knowing the best has yet to come for her and her young career.

In the aftermath of her historic fight against newly crowned Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Champion Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos, Carano may become a bigger star than she was in the build up of her championship bout with Santos.  A promotional error on Strikeforce’s part was the decision not to feature more potential opponents on the card as well as not signing more talent prior to the match, like newly recruited Erin Toughill, to showcase as a contender for the winner who ultimately became Santos.  It is clear to me that since the official announcement of the overall success of Carano vs. Cyborg was the biggest event in the company’s history, including Frank Shamrock’s highly touted loss to middleweight champion Cung Le, the most intriguing storyline the company can possibly pitch is the comeback of Gina Carano.   Almost the entire event of Carano vs. Cyborg was pushed on Carano’s star power.  She is a proven draw and the Nielsen Ratings System proves that.  Now Strikeforce is basically grasping at straws trying to find a opponent for Cyborg in the meantime while Carano picks up the pieces all the while preserving the vastly skilled, yet virtually unknown, 10-year veteran Toughill as a later attraction.

Toughill (10-2-1) is a likely opponent for both Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg.

Toughill (10-2-1) is a likely opponent for both Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg.

The fight itself received mixed reviews regarding the quality of technique involved but no one can deny the excitement the duel brought.  Carano can receive credit for that too for putting up a much better fight than what was predicted.  In doing so Carano also showed she has the ability to win but as Toughill claims, was unable to capitalize on good opportunities to win the fight due to nerves due for the enormous pressure Carano faced in the moments building up the fight.  With that being said this writer believes that knowing what to expect from Cyborg will make the rematch that much more interesting.  With each fight working her way back up to an eventual rematch against Cyborg people will be glued to see it all unfold.  Throwing Toughill into the division gives Strikeforce the Ali, Frazier & Foreman of women’s MMA with Carano mirroring Ali as the people’s champion.  Like Ali, even without the belt Carano will be the star attraction for the sport.    Gina Carano may no longer need to single-handedly carry the sport of women’s MMA but she will because she is that big of a star.  Her one million watt smile will light up people’s tv screens but when they do they’ll see her exceed her much hyped expectations.  That is the make of the people’s champion and that is Gina ‘Conviction’ Carano.