Gina Carano in GQ
In just a week, the Steven Soderbergh movie 'Haywire' will be released. Despite initial poor reviews, the movie is being well-received by those that have had the opportunity to view it before the nationwide release. Featuring a cast of Hollywood greats, the spy-thriller's success will determine Gina Carano's future in both MMA and acting.
Carano walked away from MMA after a first round destruction at the hands of Cristiane Santos. Though fans didn't want to admit it at the time, the loss of Carano was a nail in the figurative coffin for women's MMA. While Strikeforce attempted to fill the void with names like Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey, both attractive females in their own right, neither was able to capture the male audience like Gina Carano.
At Strikeforce: Melendez vs Masvidal, Santos successfully defended her featherweight belt against Hiroko Yamanka only to have the decision overturned after a positive test for Stanozolol. Santos became the first major female fighter to test positive for PEDs and her positive test has opened up discussion and discourse over if it will be the death of WMMA.
Thomas Myers of MMA Mania had the opportunity to speak with the former "face of women's MMA" Gina Carano to get her thoughts on Cyborg's positive test and if it changed her opinion on the outcome of their fight. Her response is pretty surprising.
I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't hurt by the whole thing. That fight with her was definitely the biggest moment of my mixed martial arts (MMA) career and at that time I had people around me telling me she was on steroids and everything. But, if there was a chance that she wasn't, I never wanted to take anything away from her [win]. She is a wonderful athlete, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't sting a little. In fact, I could have gone the rest of my life without hearing that. But, at the same time, she's a human being and a phenomenal athlete, so maybe someone around her was telling her she needed to do that when she really didn't. Maybe it was someone around her telling her the wrong things, I don't know. She's going to have a tough enough time getting people to believe in her [after this], so she's going to go through her own problems. I sympathize with her sometimes -- we all make mistakes in life. And, she's going through that very publicly in front of a lot of people who already thought that she [was using steroids]. I kind of feel bad for her.
Emphasis mine. Carano's point of view is the same as most of ours. Going forward Cyborg will have to deal with the fans and media who will doubt her at every turn. Even if all of her subsequent drug tests are passed, she'll still be the female fighter who took steroids.
It also creates an interesting 'parallel universe' scenario where if Cyborg doesn't beat Carano, WMMA continues to grow and thrive on the commercial success of Gina Carano. Instead, the 145 pound title is all but dead and the future is bleak for the women's featherweight division.