What Did Carano vs. Cyborg Do for Women's MMA?

Ivan BliminseCorrespondent IAugust 16, 2009

One aspect of last night's event that should not be overlooked is: what did the fight do for women's mixed martial arts? The fight was ground breaking. It was full of action. But, did it benefit the sport in the long run?

I am not one to say that because Gina Carano lost that the women's MMA is dead [I actually laugh at that notion], but I don't think Cyborg's victory does anything for the big picture of the sport.

Carano was the face of the sport, yes her looks had a lot to do with it, but so did her skill and personality. I would imagine Strikeforce was pulling for a Carano victory. Not only was she the fighter they were hyping, but she is far more marketable.

If an organization is to succeed they need big personalities, they need people that the crowd can relate to and get excited about. It is a show, it isn't just a sport.

Dana White understands this fully and it is why the UFC has so much success. While a guy like Anderson Silva is the most exciting fighter on the planet, he isn't necessarily the biggest pay-per view draw.

The guys like Brock Lesnar, Forrest Griffin, and Rampage Jackson pull in the big viewing numbers. They have the perfect mix of skill and personality for the business.

When you look at the women's division there doesn't seem to be anyone on Chris Cyborg's level, which could be bad for the sport, but it won't kill it. Carano got us to where we are with women's MMA.

If it wasn't for Gina Carano, do you really thing a women's bout would have headlined the card? No. It wouldn't have and there likely won't be a women's headliner until Carano is back in the picture.

Cyborg doesn't appeal to the fans. She tried her best to win some over last night by signing as many autographs as possible, but as unfair as it may be her lack of English doesn't create the connection with American fans. It is the sad truth of the business.

Cyborg could be a fantastic champion, but as long as none of the fans are connecting with her, it won't really matter. No one will be compelled to turn on the television and see a Chris Cyborg fight.

While the women put on a good show last night, I think that it didn't improve or hurt the standing of their sport. It is at a stalemate. The sport has gotten as big as it can get for now, until they get a champion who draws in even more fans.

Gina Carano should be applauded to getting women's MMA to where it is, Chris Cyborg should be applauded for winning the title, but if women's MMA is going to continue to grow then Strikeforce needs Carano to come back stronger than ever.

This article was originally contributed to Latest Sports Gossip