Will Gina Carano vs Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos Be the Biggest MMA News Event of the Year?

Round5mma-ginacarano-1-200x300_mediumStrikeforce CEO Scott Coker is not second guessing his decision to make the Carano vs Cyborg fight the headliner of Strikeforce's August 15th Showtime event. Despite sharing a bill with lightweight championship between Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez and a heavyweight title defense by Alistair Overeem, the women's bout will be the top fight on the card. Per MMA Junkie:

"The thought process was very simple," Coker told MMAjunkie.com. "If you look at the caliber of this fight, and it being the No. 1 and No. 2 females in the world, it was a no-brainer.

"It's not just the biggest female fight in MMA history," Coker said. "I really believe this is one of the largest combative female fights of all time.

"I follow women's mixed martial arts fights, I follow women's kickboxing, I saw women's boxing for the last 15 years, and I can't remember a time where a fight that has been a women's fight where No. 1 and No. 2 are fighting and that is as relevant in the history of the women's fight league."

MMA Junkie's Dan Stupp twittered yesterday that "This fight'll get more mainstream press than any in '09. Few major news outlets already called us 4 comment."

I wouldn't be surprised if Stupp is correct, although its too early to tell. Carano vs Cyborg will have some big competition in UFC 100, but they do have one ace card: Gina Carano's looks.

Maggie Hendrickss is saying that looks won't matter in the fight, but Zak Woods points out that Carano's looks mean a great deal for the marketing of the fight:

Maggie Hendricks is right, looks have nothing to do with the quality of fighter. But looks are tremendously important when it comes to selling a female athlete (it sucks but it is the truth, listen to our podcast to hear more about this topic). The sad reality is that a majority of sports consumers are men and unfortunately we gravitate to good looking women. On the flip side there are female sports clubs that gravitate to attractive men, the Washington Capitals have one and NBA teams regularly sign Wally Szczerbiak due to his unique fanbase.

Carano gives the Las Vegas Sun her take:

"I don't understand why so much is made about my looks, there are a lot of beautiful girls out there," Carano said. "I've always been able to stay humble and grateful instead of the opposite, which I credit to my dad. He wasn't a huge fan of me fighting at first because he wanted me to get an education and I had to stop going to college because I was getting so many opportunities in fighting. But he's definitely one of my biggest supporters now."

Personally, I think its great that this fight is the headliner of the Strikeforce show. I'm only bummed that its not going to be on CBS. That would definitely be a ratings bonanza, but I can see where the network brass is reluctant to possibly show pretty Gina Carano getting punched in the face on network TV.

On the other hand, if this event really does dramatically outshine UFC 100 in mainstream press attention, it will only show that we are in a very similar predicament to Japan -- fans of a great sport that is driven in the popular mind by spectacle.

Bubbles burst, lets hope that MMA doesn't blow up and pop in the U.S. like it did in Japan.

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