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MMA Alternate History: What if Gina Carano Beat Cris Cyborg in 2009?


(Photo via MMAWeekly)

By Matt Saccaro

There are points in MMA history that if one punch is ducked, one kick is thrown, one submission is secured, the entire fate of the sport changes.

Numerous fights hold the distinction of being important enough that history hung in the balance while the combatants tried to incapacitate one another, but one that doesn’t get much attention in the discussion of Griffin/Bonnar-level important fights is Gina Carano vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (or now Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. Whatever, we’re just gonna call her Cyborg). Yeah, most people recognize its importance as the first BIG fight in WMMA history, but their appreciation for it doesn’t extend past that. And, historically, it shouldn’t. The fight was a big deal but it lead to nothing good. It sent the most recognized fighter in WMMA away from the sport forever. Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and others had to pick up the mantle that Gina Carano ran away from.

But, for a moment, let us pretend that the result of Carano vs. Cyborg was reversed. That’s what the second installment of CagePotato’s Alternate History series is based on: The fallout of Gina Carano hypothetically defeating Cyborg in Strikeforce.

What Would’ve Happened if Gina Carano Defeated Cyborg in 2009?

Before we get into counterfactuals, let’s briefly discuss what happened historically.

EliteXC (gee it fields weird to type that name again) had a burgeoning women’s division, no doubt to say “Hey, we have something the UFC doesn’t” and to draw attention away from the fact that their male roster wasn’t as loaded as the UFC’s. Not an issue though, because the women were awesome. Two specific ones were more awesome than most: Carano and Cyborg.

Carano was the most marketable female fighter at the time because she’s fucking gorgeous — and not just “fighter” hot, but seriously attractive. She could fight pretty damn well, too. Pushing Carano was therefore a no-brainer.

Cyborg isn’t conventionally attractive but she’s gifted at inflicting violence. Legitimate talent combined with an affinity for smashing fighters in a crowd-pleasing way is easy to promote.

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MMA Alternate History: What if the WWE Purchased the UFC in 2001 Instead of Zuffa?


(McMahon poses with legendary WWE manager Paul Bearer (RIP). / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

MMA history contains many compelling “what ifs” that could’ve changed the fate of the sport. If one path is taken, disaster. If another path is taken, absolution.

Some “what ifs” are more compelling than others. Not much changes if Floyd Sword or Rudyard Moncayo decides to never step into the cage. The timeline remains intact if Anderson Silva doesn’t get a DQ loss against Yushin Okami at Rumble on the Rock. But there are scenarios where the entire sport can change — where the timeline can split like in Back to the Future Part II.

This is the start of a series at CagePotato where we examine such scenarios, using historical fact to help create realistic historical fiction. Here is our first historical conundrum:

What if Vince McMahon Purchased the UFC in 2001?

In 2001, Vince McMahon’s WWE (then WWF) purchased the decaying WCW and the fledgling, bankrupt ECW. That year, McMahon’s XFL hosted its first (and only) season. It was quite a year for Vinny Mac. He destroyed his two rivals and expanded into a new sport.

2001 was also the year that Zuffa purchased the UFC from the company’s original owners, SEG. SEG was cash-strapped and could no longer carry the burden of running an MMA promotion in a country that was, at the time, hostile to MMA. The Fertitta Brothers bailed out Bob Meyrowitz and SEG, and the rest is history.

But what if, for one reason or another, The Fertitta brothers didn’t buy the UFC and give it to Dana White like they were tossing their kid the keys to the Ferrari? What if Vince McMahon decided to add another three letters to his shopping list…U, F, and C?

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