The Doggy Bag: Readers Write, We Respond

We Respond

By Staff Nov 30, 2008
Everyone answers to somebody, so we, the staff at, have decided to defer to our readers. “The Doggy Bag” gives you the opportunity to speak about what’s on your mind from time to time.

Our reporters, columnists, radio hosts, and editors will chime in with our answers and thoughts, so keep the emails coming.

This week, readers weigh-in in a wide range of topics, including Gina Carano’s next home, Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn and the usual reader feedback.

A home for Carano

I read Dana White’s comment about possibly promoting [Gina] Carano in the WEC and wanted to see how you guys felt about that.

I highly doubt we will ever see women’s MMA ascend to the UFC. However, I think that the WEC would be the most well recognized and reputable place to build that market stateside. With an already smaller roster and available pool of fighters in the lighter weights (at least being showcased in the US) between the UFC and WEC, I think the WEC would be an ideal place for women’s MMA to have a forum for its top level (to be argued with, its most marketable) fighters to compete, have the recognition and visibility their efforts deserve and cultivate some form of interest in that facet of the sport. As the “lighter” side of MMA, I think it also makes sense to have women fight on cards with lighter (weight) competition like the WEC has already committed to showcasing, and I also believe that because they are holding far fewer cards per yea --, usually crammed with amazingly good talent -- that it would be easy to fill at least one to two women’s fight slots with reputable and talented competition even though there are far fewer women competitors competing at that level (yet).

What is your interest in seeing women fight in the WEC and how do you feel it could be done most effectively?

PS – I would love to hear Loretta Hunt’s take on this one.
-- Brian Akers

Loretta Hunt, news editor: Ask and you shall receive, Brian. Thank you for the email. I was a little surprised by Dana White’s initial judgment of women’s MMA, because I know for a fact the UFC was considering a female bout between Erica Montoya and the late Shelby Walker a few years ago. Maybe at the time, the UFC felt women’s MMA wouldn’t be received well. Remember, the sport itself was still under scrutiny or ignored altogether, so one dicey move could have tipped the scales in a detrimental way.

As they say though, we’ve come a long way baby. I think it’s a sign of the times that White is changing his tune. Since the first time I watched a woman’s bout back in 2002, the female athletes have evolved and the pool of talent has deepened substantially.

A year ago, I would have said there aren’t enough female fighters for a promotion to successfully launch a competitive division. Today, I’m not so sure. There seems to be women fighters popping up all over the place. I think that has a lot to do with Carano. She’s inspired a lot of women to follow their fighting dreams. I also give a lot of credit to Showtime and CBS for taking a chance on the women and exposing Carano and others to a massive audience.

I do agree with White. Carano is a star through and through. She’s charismatic and charming in person. She just has that intangible quality that draws you in when you meet her in person or watch her on a TV screen. On top of that, I believe she has some real talent as a fighter. She steadily improves from bout to bout, which is something everyone responds to whether it be a male or female doing it.

From what I’ve heard, Zuffa is considering Gina for either the UFC or WEC. The fledging WEC could use a shot in the arm like this to boost awareness and get it over the hump, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gina in the Octagon either. Of course, there is always Strikeforce -- the dark horse of MMA -- which I think could get the next shot at a broadcast television deal.

White’s suggestion to pair Gina up in single bouts to “see how it goes” is a good idea. I think the interest in women’s MMA will only continue to grow and Zuffa will quickly see this. EliteXC was on the right track by tapping into female talent all over world to bolster the ranks. In only one televised fight, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos captivated audiences in a completely different way than Carano does. A matchup between these two could be the biggest women’s bout to date.

As a final side note, as a female journalist, the thought has crossed my mind that it would be cliché for me to concentrate on women’s MMA. This might sound strange, but I don’t look at the women much differently than the male fighters once they enter the cage. They use the same techniques after all. Like the men, I’ve met a lot of lovely female fighters, including Gina, Tara Larosa, and Julie Kedzie, to name a few. I look forward to the continued opportunities these trailblazers get in the coming months and years.

Photo by

Penn vs. St. Pierre II may
go five full rounds.
Canadian bias

Thanks for the weekly Doggy Bag. I’ve never been a fan of editorial mailbags, but your use of critical listener feedback and suggestions has me looking forward to it each weekend.

Please answer this for me. With Georges St. Pierre owning B.J. Penn in their first meeting at UFC 58, why are many fans on the forums calling for a Penn victory? I’m Canadian, so I might bear a smidge of bias, but there’s no freaking way GSP loses to this guy.
-- Mitchell Leveque

Brian Knapp, assistant editor: Glad we could be of service, Mitchell. I’d caution you to take what “fans” have to say with a grain of salt. As you yourself admitted, “fans” are not the most objective observers.

St. Pierre will be favored against Penn at UFC 94 in January, but you may want to check the tape from their first encounter. It was not as one-sided as you recall. St. Pierre won a close split decision from the current lightweight champion in a bout that was evenly matched and competitive from start to finish.

From my vantage point, Penn won the first round, and St. Pierre took the third; round two was debatable. Yes, Penn benefited from an inadvertent eye poke early in the fight, but he more than held his own standing, as evidenced by St. Pierre’s decision to push for takedowns in the second and third rounds. He took Penn to the canvas four times, never once passed his guard and exacted minimal damage with his ground-and-pound. His was a victory of position control.

Obviously, Penn and St. Pierre have improved since the last time they met, and it will be interesting to see how the Hawaiian handles the transition between weight classes. Long criticized for his lack of proper conditioning, he has looked like a different fighter since he returned to 155 pounds. Might he revert back to his old ways?

I think a major chess match unfolds inside the cage. Barring a cut or injury, I do not foresee either man finishing the other. I lean towards St. Pierre in this one because of his superior conditioning and athleticism, but it would not surprise me at all to see Penn pull something out of his back pocket; he has shocked the world before.

Either way, this is a win-win proposition for fans. How often do you get to see two of the world’s top four pound-for-pound fighters go at it for five rounds?
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