Gina Carano signing with the UFC seems to be a foregone conclusion. That’s according to the boss himself, Dana White.
The UFC president told ESPN.com on Friday that he and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta are flying to Los Angeles next week to hammer out a deal with women’s MMA pioneer and current Hollywood actress Gina Carano. How confident is White that Carano will be soon fighting in the UFC?
"I’m going to meet with Gina next week and get that f***ing thing done," White said.
White said last weekend after UFC 175 that the hold up with Carano was her "Hollywood lawyer" making things difficult. He seems to think meeting face-to-face with the "Haywire" actress’ team will make a big difference. And usually he’s correct.
I’m going to meet with Gina next week and get that f***ing thing done.
Does White’s new-found perseverance to sign Carano have anything to do with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey decimating Alexis Davis last week in just 16 seconds? It’s probably no coincidence that the UFC hammered out a deal with former championship boxer Holly Holm on Thursday and now seems hell-bent on inking Carano. It’s probably only a matter of time before Cris Cyborg enters the picture, too.
Rousey (10-0), a former Olympic judo bronze medalist, has finished all of her fights and there doesn’t seem to be a woman currently in the UFC who could even be competitive with her. Holm and Carano might not be either at this juncture, but those fights make financial sense. At the box office, a Rousey-Carano title fight would do big money. Mainstream media would eat up two attractive movie stars going toe-to-toe in the Octagon. Rousey’s first major film role comes this summer in "The Expendables 3."
Rousey is taking some time off to fix up her lacerated hand and get knee surgery. She wants to be back for the UFC’s big annual year-end card, which seems to be targeted right now for Jan. 3 in Las Vegas. Could Carano be her opponent? It’s certainly a decent possibility.
Carano has not fought in five years and conventional wisdom would have her working her way toward a title shot by fighting someone ranked in the UFC’s official contender rankings. But the UFC still skews toward entertainment and a Rousey-Carano fight would lose all its juice if Carano lost to a women’s fighter no one has ever heard of.
Both Rousey and White have publicly said on multiple occasions that they believe Carano deserves an immediate title shot. Hearing it from their mouths basically makes it an inevitability.
"I think it would be the best thing for women’s MMA," Rousey said in May. "I think it would be the highest profile fight that could be done. I don’t think it would make sense for her to come back and fight somebody else and take the risk of maybe losing and not being able to capitalize on the fight between me and her. I think it would make more sense to go straight to a title fight."
It might not be competitive, but the UFC doesn’t pass up a golden business opportunity like this one. Davis couldn’t hang with Rousey either and she did work her way up the ladder.