UFC President Dana White has softened his stance significantly in the last two weeks about promoting a possible showdown between former Elite XC female superstar Gina "Conviction" Carano (7-0) and Brazilian rival Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos (6-1).
Just don’t expect it to take place in the hallowed Octagon. If it were to happen under his watch, White says, it would more than likely take place under the Zuffa-owned World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) banner.
Here’s what he said just yesterday on ESPN’s "MMA Live:"
"I wouldn't be opposed to it. And if I did do it, it would probably be in the WEC."
That’s clearly not an all-out guarantee. However, it is marked change in tone from just two weeks ago. Here’s what he had to say then:
"Gina Carano’s a talented fighter, she’s a star. She should’ve been the main event (on CBS’ last EliteXC broadcast). My thing with women and fighting is there isn’t enough good women to create a whole division. Could I do some one-off fights here and there? Yeah, but that’s not really what we do."
It’s an intriguing development to say the least. Perhaps White -- who has historically gone on record saying he does not personally like to see women beat each other up -- is having a change of heart because the match up between Carano and Cyborg is more than likely a huge money maker.
In fact, the WEC has designs on making its pay-per-view (PPV) debut sometime in 2009. And what better way to increase interest (and PPV buys) than putting a fight together than fans are eager to see, were told they were going to see, and then had it disappear before their very eyes when Elite XC closed its doors.
Remember, too, the Carano is very close with UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and his wife Kim, training full-time at the X-Treme Couture facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There is also that ugly issue with Affliction’s Todd Beard and the Couture’s, suggesting that a fight between Carano and Cyborg would now be highly unlikely under the Affliction MMA brand because of the tensions between the parties.
Therefore, White more than likely has the upper hand, as well as the financial and television resources, to ensure that this blockbuster showdown is indeed just that.
Cha-ching! ... hopefully.