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Gina Carano; making her place in an “extreme” male dominated sport.

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Posted 09 January 2011   Articles

Gina Carano; making her place in an “extreme” male dominated sport.

As the freshest face in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), Gina Carano, currently 4-0, is certainly bringing a lot of publicity to the sport. The MMA, which debuted in 1993, was originally an effort to determine which fighting system would be the most effective in an unregulated combat situation and pitted opponents of different fighting styles against each other. While the earlier bouts had minimal rules, today’s competitions have added a few safety precautions while struggling to maintain as much of the original concept as possible.

MMA competitions have grown tremendously over the past ten years and most recently played host to EliteXC, (Elite Extreme Combat) a new MMA promotion that debuted in February and showcased the first female match-up on Showtime. Carano, of course, was featured in that bout and soundly defeated her competitor Julie Kedzie, despite her lack of experience. Carano is currently undefeated and is scheduled to fight again on June 9th
in the second EliteXC promotion.

While the MMA continues to shatter Pay-per-View records, the emergence of women like  Carano in a sport traditionally dominated by men promises to bring not only a wider but also a more diverse audience to the ring. While Carano is definitely not the first woman to fight in the MMA, she is one of the first women to fight for EliteXC and Showtime. She and Leiticia Pestova were the first women to participate in a NSAC-sanctioned female fight and she was the first woman to fight and win for the Strikeforce Promotion in December of 2006.

Despite the fact that her quick move to the top may irritate a few of the more seasoned female fighters in the MMA, Gina seems more concerned with the advancements that she believes she can bring to the sport than the negativity her fame may generate among her fellow competitors. In a recent interview with Mick Hammond of MMA Weekly, Gina said, “I have no idea how they’re going to react. Maybe it’ll be a good thing, maybe it’ll be a bad thing, and honestly, I don’t even really care. I just want to live up to those expectations and do my best to be that or beyond whatever I can be.”

Gina’s transition from Muay Thai to the MMA has been quick but not easy. Gina is currently training 6 days a week and preparations right before a fight can be extremely grueling. She often spends whole days in the gym and a minimum workout is at least four hours long. Possibly the most difficult transition seems to be the length of the bouts in which she is now fighting. While Muay Thai competitions usually consist of either 5 or 3 rounds of three minutes each, an MMA bout is comprised of three 5 minute rounds.

Gina originally began fighting in the 141-145 pound category but dropped to 140 for the fight against Kedzie. She still plans to drop a few more pounds and would actually like to compete at 135 pounds. One of the reasons she dropped a weight class was that a greater number of women fighters compete in the 135-140 category than in the higher class. At 5’8 inches tall, Carano is extremely attractive and is already fending off questions from reporters about a possible acting career. While she’s not ruling it out in the future, she is adamant about continuing the work she believes she has ahead of her in the MMA. It’s quite likely that we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future