Is This the End of Women's MMA?

E. Spencer Kyte@@spencerkyteSenior Analyst IAugust 16, 2009

History was made in San Jose, Calif., as two female fighters headlined a major promotion card over the men for the first time in Mixed Martial Arts.

The face of the sport, Gina Carano, faced her nemesis, "The Muay Thai Machine" Cris Cyborg in one of the most anticipated fights of the year.

Just before the bell sounded to end the first round, referee Josh Rosenthal called a stop to the fight, as the face of the sport lay on the mat, desperately trying to defend against the "hurricane of aggression" Cris Cyborg promised to rain down upon Gina Carano.

With Carano beaten and left huddled on the mat before the first round ended, have we witnessed the rise and fall of Female MMA all in one night?

Is this the end of Women's MMA?

In a word: No.

This is only the beginning.

While those that remain hung up on looks and appearance have argued all week that a loss for Gina Carano would spell immediate doom for Women's MMA (WMMA), the truth is that nothing could be farther from the truth.

Despite the loss, Carano will remain the most marketable, most recognizable face in the sport and one of the biggest and brightest crossover stars to emerge from Mixed Martial Arts, regardless of gender. This is a sport where the all-time greats have a loss or two on their records, so why should it be any different simply because of gender?

What makes the assertion that WMMA would die alongside a defeated Carano even more irrational is that Cybrog was the favorite heading into the fight. In betting terms, the house won. In all honesty, this was a win-win situation for WMMA.

Carano may lose footing in terms of her standing in the rankings and people's belief in her abilities inside the cage, but her status when the gloves are off hasn't changed a bit.

If anything, this week has only further increased her profile, exposing her to even more people than had previously been introduced to the former American Gladiator.

Additionally, every mention and picture of Carano has been accompanied by a mention or picture of Cyborg, who now resides as the first Strikeforce Women's 145 lbs. Champion and has seen her name recognition factor increase exponentially in the last seven days.

Couple that with the thoroughly dominating performance and you have a match made in MMA Heaven: a dominating champion who convincingly dispatched the "Face of the Sport" and makes you wonder "Who can beat this woman?"

The next 24 hours will show that this historic fight was far from the death of Women's MMA.

More people than ever before will be discussing Women's MMA, talking about the dominating performance of Cris Cyborg and wondering where Gina Carano goes from here.

Contenders to the newly-crowned champion's throne will be sought out on search engines and Sherdog databases, while clueless old men writing for slowly dying newspapers will undoubtedly get the story wrong...again.

In the Hollywood movie version of this fight, Gina Carano would have come away victorious, her impossibly handsome beau would have charged into the ring and the two would have shared a tender moment as the confetti rained and the credits rolled.

But that didn't happen and the sport is better off because of it.

The best fighter won, reminding everyone watching to see the pretty girl in the short shorts that this is Mixed Martial Arts, not a beauty pageant and certainly not a Hollywood movie.

If Men's MMA can thrive without legends in the game and long-time faces of the sport like Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture having gold wrapped around their waist, why should Women's MMA be any different?

It shouldn't be and it won't be.

Cris Cyborg made sure of that last night.

Women's MMA is alive and well and here to stay.

If you've got a problem with that, take it up with the champ.

Originally posted at Watch Kalib Run

Photo courtesy of Greg Ashman / MMA Weekly


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