Gina Carano hasn’t fought since 2009. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
UFC President Dana White says he and Lorenzo Fertitta are willing to do whatever it takes to get Gina Carano into the UFC and straight into a title shot against women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
During a media scrum in Ireland on Friday, White said that negotiations on a deal with Carano are moving forward.
“[The fight] won’t be the end of the year but it will probably be early December,” he predicted.
Having promised Carano a title shot and roughly penciled in a date, White has made serious commitment to making the bout happen. That gives Carano and her agents a lot of leverage in terms of squeezing maximum advantage from negotiations.
When asked if he had just given Carano the power to “sit back and demand another zero on the end of the purse,” White conceded that he might have.
“Yeah, sure,” he said. “But we either say no to that zero or yes to that zero.
“When we go into deals and do stuff, it’s not like me and Lorenzo are like ‘Let’s work this thing in there and screw this [fighter] out of money they deserve.’ If you are a needle-mover and you do something, you’re getting paid,” White continued. “We don’t go in there and bulls--t and try to whatever; we go in there to get a deal done and do what’s right. I haven’t been ‘Meh, the UFC can live without Gina Carano…’”
White had answers aplenty for reporters who asked what exactly justified Carano returning from a five-year absence to go straight into a title shot. Whether his reasoning will ring true for fans is another matter.
“I think that Gina is important. I think that it is a big fight -- it’s a fight that Ronda Rousey wants. And Ronda has been very good to us, so if that’s a fight that she wants I am going to try and get it done,” he said. “Ronda has done everything we asked her to do. This is like a GSP situation when GSP asked us for Diaz. How would I say no to GSP? Ronda wants this fight this bad. Gina wants the fight bad, too.”
Carano hasn’t competed professionally since 2009, when she suffered a brutal beating at the hands of Cristiane Justino in Strikeforce. Carano’s Hollywood endeavors since that bout have been well documented, but White contends that the 32-year-old fighter will be ready to return to the cage.
“She said she has been training since she left MMA. Obviously not training like she trains for fights, but she’s been training,” he said. “She looks great. Better than looking great, wait until you hear her talk and what she has to say about this.”
Rousey has been dominant during her UFC reign, dispatching all but Miesha Tate inside of a single round. Finding competitive bouts for Rousey has been a challenge, and White believes Carano can’t do much worse than some of her predecessors.
“Is she going to be any less competitive than any of the other girls [Rousey] has fought? Look at Alexis Davis -- [she] is awesome [and the fight lasted just] 16 seconds. You think Gina is gonna be any less competitive than sixteen seconds?” White asked. “What was the fight with McMann, a minute? You think Gina is going to be less competitive than a minute, or 16 seconds?”
Presented with the suggestion that we are now at a stage where Rousey’s results are being weighed by how long the opponent lasts, White concurred.
“[She’s] like Mike Tyson,” he said, referring to the ferocious finishing rate of Tyson’s heyday.
But the fact remains that Carano has not fought once since a 2009 loss to Cris “Cyborg.” According to White, her five-year hiatus is not an issue.
“She did a pretty good job against ‘Cyborg,’ and ‘Cyborg’ was pretty jacked up on Mountain Dew in that fight, you know? And [Carano] is the one who started this whole women’s MMA craze, and Ronda wants to fight her,” he said.
Judging by White’s comments and demeanor while delivering them, he seems to think Carano is on board and the fight is a lock. There are hints of friction though. Asked for his opinion on what the criteria for a deal is, White admitted there is a fly in the ointment.
“I think the criteria is us sitting in a room together with her lawyer face to face. I can’t wait to meet this guy,” he said.