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The Gina Carano reality

Thank God Gina Carano is hot. Because if she wasn't, there wouldn't be nearly as much interest in women's MMA. In fact, most fans of women's MMA are really just fans of Carano. And that doesn't change just because she got mauled in the first round of the title fight with Cris "Cyborg" Santos.

It may hurt her promotional value somewhat, but do you really think the casual fan cares about whether or not Gina Carano is a champion? I don't think the casual women's MMA fan is breaking down fighting styles and salivating over dream matchups of the top pound-for-pound women's fighters. They like Gina Carano because she's hot and she's a decent fighter.

This isn't just a problem for women's MMA either. The LPGA, women's tennis and the WNBA all deal with it. The casual sports fan only shows an interest if the ladies involved are, well, attractive.

Is it chauvinistic? Of course. It's not fair but it's reality. Especially when it comes to the pay scale. Feminists may raise hell when Gina Carano does a photo shoot for Maxim but that's how female athletes get paid. They aren't going to get LeBron James money from Nike. They aren't going to get the same purse for winning a tournament or headlining a pay-per-view. Female athletes don't have to just be good to be relevant, they have to be attractive.

The sad part is that Gina Carano's star is almost as high as it can be. She doesn't earn much more respect by destroying solid competition because there just isn't enough of it on the women's side. Her popularity is now directly tied to the popularity of the sport.

She may not be the best women's mixed martial artist, but she is the hottest and that's what matters most.

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