The idea that Gina Carano could come out of a five year retirement, which began after she was decimated by Cyborg Santos, and get a shot at dominant champion Ronda Rousey has upset many in the MMA community. While Dana White has defended the idea, suggesting that Carano signing a contract is imminent and a fight with Rousey would take place in December, the layoff combined with the fact that Carano hasn't made 135 pounds since 2006 has some wondering what kind of message the decision would send.
Holly Holm, the former boxing champ turned 7-0 MMA fighter who recently inked a UFC deal, discussed the situation with ESPN and seems perfectly fine with the idea of a Carano vs. Rousey title fight.
"Carano has been on the big show before, so she can handle the pressure. There are a lot of girls who have been working hard for a shot who might deserve it a little more than someone who has been out that long, but Carano has put a lot of time in before," Holm said. "She's earned her spot in certain ways. Who am I to say Carano is undeserving of an opportunity? I'll let the promoter make those decisions."
ESPN's Brett Okamoto summed the situation up much more simply, "If Rousey is going to run through opponents anyway, she might as well do it against someone who can help her sell the fight."
I recently answered some questions from "casual fans" at a party about the situation. When asked why the UFC would "risk sending a bad message" about the legitimacy of the title, the best I can offer is that with Carano's having gotten older and with the sport having evolved to a much more compelling and deep roster of female fighters the UFC may simply need to do the immediate rematch or else they run the risk of bringing Carano back to lose a less marketable fight as a "tune-up."
With a PPV market that is down significantly from previous years, the UFC may just not be willing to leave that kind of money on the table.