Why Isn’t There More Mainstream Media Covering “Carano vs. Cyborg?”
After the Carano-Santos story line had been built via the now defunct EliteXC, I wondered if the story would ever be finished. Thankfully it is, this coming Saturday through Strikeforce. When EliteXC aired its primetime network television cards in 2008, Gina Carano’s two matches ended up on the list of top-10 most watched MMA matches of all time, each of them (against Kaitlin Young and Kelly Kobold) garnering over 5 million viewers.
Granted, a good portion of the most watched MMA matches were aired on network television or basic cable, more or less free, including Carano’s two. But now with the Carano-Santos match finally happening, how many viewers will tune in to watch the final chapter this coming Saturday night on Showtime?
Leland Roling from BloodyElbow.com asks where the mainstream attention is regarding the Strikeforce main event and card as a whole. I was wondering the same thing. Given that (1) MMA is among the most physical of contact/collision sports, and (2) women have historically been discouraged from competing in contact/collision sports, why are we not seeing more of the Santos-Carano main event match discussed in the mainstream media? And I’m not talking a story here and there in SI.com or the New York Times.
Nothing at all against those publications or their excellent writers. It's simply that I assumed if this match ever happened that Santos and Carano would be making appearances on Good Morning America, The Today Show or other big mainstream media outlets to discuss MMA, women’s right to compete and work in the sport free of discrimination, and how their match symbolizes women’s advancements in society at large. Even if the two athletes simply want to compete as athletes and not take on a minor political role, the gender piece is a significant part of the story that would perk mainstream audiences’ interests, especially since the two women are well spoken and show a great deal of class during interviews.
Has Strikeforce even attempted to get its two superstars on such shows? Or are they merely resigned to creating build-up shows aired on Sho 2, having public weigh-ins, and YouTube video advertisements as they go head-to-head with a SpikeTV replay of UFC 100? With two days left until the August 15 card, will we see a bigger push beyond the hardcore MMA internet fan base to get this Strikeforce card broader and deserved attention?
Perhaps since 2007, MMA has lost its pizzazz and novelty, and the broader mainstream is not as intrigued by the sport, even if it is featuring elite female athletes. If that is the case, it’s the promotion’s job to reinvigorate fan interest in a responsible and smart manner. Let’s hope we see that happen over the next 48 hours, because Santos and Carano cannot steal the show for those who aren't watching.
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