Category Archives: Pro Elite

Elite XC’s Evinger: “I’d Like to Make Out with Gina (Carano)”. And the Crowd Goes Wild?

My personal struggle with women’s MMA continues. Thanks to comments made by Tonya Evinger at the latest Pro Elite press conference to hype her bout with Gina Carano at tonight’s Elite XC event in Hawaii, this inner conflict is only getting tougher…and weirder.

“I’d like to make out with Gina, but I am here to knock her out,” said Evinger. “Either way she wants it, though, is fine with me.”

Believe it or not, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that statement. Probably more than is healthy. I’ve decided that what Tonya Evinger is doing is either completely brilliant or else painfully demeaning and sad.

On one hand, Evinger accomplished what was obviously her objective. She got us to pay attention to her and not just Carano, and got us to talk about the one women’s fight on the card instead of the title bout between Robbie Lawler and Maurilo Rua, or any of the other fights, for that matter.

That’s pretty savvy on her part. Instead of dancing around the issues of gender and homo-eroticism (not to mention the force-o-nature that is Carano’ sex appeal), she’s going right at it. Maybe she just did it as an attention-grabber, maybe she did it as a commentary on the state of women’s MMA, or maybe she just genuinely wants to make out with Gina Carano.

Either way, people are talking about this fight now in a way they weren’t before.

But at the same time, it’s a little disappointing. If women fighters want to be taken seriously (and I’m guessing they do), is this kind of thing really helping? Is it telling us that they are real athletes and brave fighters, no different from their male counterparts, or is it encouraging us to see them as a sideshow attraction for prurient interests?

I honestly don’t know. It’s worth mentioning that when Evinger made this statement she was wearing a t-shirt that read, in part, “I may have a p@**y, but I don’t fight like one.”

It takes a certain kind of person to pull that look off. Tonya Evinger, so it seems, is that kind of person. She’s brash, confident, and outspoken. You have to admire that.

But Evinger is also an accomplished athlete. She’s a decorated wrestler and was a member of the all-female national freestyle team before becoming a professional MMA fighter. It would be a shame if that were overshadowed by antics and sound bytes.

After tonight, maybe we’ll know a little more about where women’s MMA stands. At the very least it should be entertaining.

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Filed under Elite XC, female MMA, Gina Carano, MMA, Pro Elite, Sports, Tonya Harding, women's sports

From Chaos Comes Order: Pro Elite and the Confederacy of Minor League MMA

Pro Elite, the promotor of the Elite XC events seen on Showtime earlier this year, has announced another partnership with another promotion. This time the U.K.’s popular Cage Rage is getting on board, and Pro Elite claims to have agreements almost finalized with Spirit MC in Korea, King of the Cage, and Icon Sport.

I’m still trying to figure out whether this trend toward unification is a good thing, a bad thing, or whether it will have any significant impact at all. It does, however, seem like a natural evolution.

The sport simply can’t deal with a ton of small-time promotions spread all over the place, each doing things their own way. While each promoter is trying to claw out a market share for himself, they’re losing ground by not working together.

And as much as the UFC might not like it, this move would be good for them, too. Having these promotions all under one umbrella gives them a better chance to gauge young talent, and ultimately will provide them with polished fighters who can put on a better show and have some resonance with audiences before they get to the Octagon.

Naturally, this is also a good thing for the fighters. The more promotions there are, the more competition for top talent. That means more money for the fighters who deserve it, and less risk that the young fighters will be taken advantage of.

But the real test of this MMA confederacy will come when it’s time to swap talent, particularly title-holders. Cage Rage isn’t going to want to see their top guys go to Hawaii and get beat by an Icon fighter, and vice versa. So what do these partnerships really mean?

It’s too early to tell right now, but if nothing else we can see it as a sign that order is descending on the MMA world. That’s encouraging. That means guys like Brandon Vera won’t have to take whatever the UFC offers them if there are other legitimate organizations he can turn to.

It also means that with more financial power backing them, these organizations will be able to give more shows to more people, thus increasing worldwide exposure to the sport. Who knows, we may even get to a point where no one calls it ‘Ultimate Fighting’ anymore.

Until then, the UFC is still the biggest game in town.

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Filed under Cage Rage, King of the Cage, Pro Elite