One doesn’t risk much by saying that the Carano-Cyborg fight to be held August 15 is important to the future of women’s MMA. But neither is it mere hyperbole to say that this fight matters nearly as much to the future of all women’s sport. Already there is plenty of evidence to support such a claim.
Among many firsts in this MMA bout will be women fighting five five-minute rounds (which, of course, the guys have been doing for some time). This has sparked debate, not unpredictably, as seen in an MMAjunkie.com opinion piece and its attendant comments. The issues so contentious there and elsewhere apply to other women’s sports, and consequently expose difficulties facing all female athletes.
So we find that many of our hopes for the future of women’s sport ride on the shoulders (or rather fists) of two very talented women. A great fight showing an abundance of heart and athleticism will go a long way toward silencing critics. I expect that is what we will see.
(As for who will be the winner? That’s tougher to call.)