Sorry fight fans – it’s looking more and more like the UFC’s desire to book Ronda Rousey against Gina Carano in a superfight of women’s MMA standouts won’t be happening this year. Carano’s manager Scott Karp told Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting that Carano is booked to film two movies before the end of the year, including one in October along with Robert DeNiro and on again/off again WWE star Dave Bautista.
UFC president Dana White seemed resigned to the fight not happening any time soon, calling Carano “the hardest human being we’ve ever dealt with” thanks to her Hollywood management team. The fight probably doesn’t make a lot of sense from Carano’s point of view – she has a reasonably successful movie career, hasn’t fought in five years, and simply doesn’t need to hop back into the MMA scene to stay relevant.
The fight not happening sucks for the UFC from a marketing point of view. During Rousey’s UFC tenure, they could simply put her on a card against whoever they wanted and be confident in Rousey’s ability to sell the fight and pick up buyers for the pay-per-view. But with Carano, there would be more than just “Rousey versus random opponent number eleven”. There’s actually name value with Carano, and the UFC could actually promote Rousey’s opponent in addition to the champion.
But from the perspective of a fight fan, this is great news. While Carano once was a solid fighter, it’s a question as to whether or not she can even compete at that level after years away from the sport. Rousey has already beaten third-ranked Sara McMann, fourth-ranked Alexis Davis, fifth-ranked Miesha Tate (twice), and sixth-ranked Sarah Kaufman, but second-ranked Cat Zingano (who fights Amanda Nunes tonight), ninth-ranked Bethe Correia, and Cris “Cyborg” Justino all remain marketable options for Rousey. All three would also probably end up giving her more of an entertaining fight than Carano, and the war of words between Rousey and Cyborg (who will be making her 135 debut in December at Invicta show, streamed on UFC Fight Pass) would create one hell of a rivalry heading into the fight.
So while the inability to make a Carano fight sucks for the UFC, it’ll probably end up working out better for us as fans. Rousey’s next fight hasn’t been announced yet, and I’d imagine Zingano would be next in line assuming she wins tonight. If Rousey gets past her and Justino makes weight and looks good in December, the grudge match we’ve all been waiting for could be on tap for either Memorial Day weekend or 4th of July weekend. That’s way more appealing than seeing Rousey take Carano down and rip her arm off in the span of two minutes.