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Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo Sports’

I’ve written a few times about Elite EC Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Gina Carano, one of the best female fighters in the country.

Needless to say, when I read that Carano’s future is in limbo because her company, Elite XC, is filing for bankruptcy, I was a bit disappointed.

From Pretty Tough:

“The fighting future of top MMA draw Gina Carano is in limbo as word emerged today that the mixed-martial-arts organization Elite XC will file bankruptcy and cease future operations, according to parent company, Pro Elite Inc.

Elite XC, which produced seven of the 10 most-watched MMA matches in U.S. history on two CBS specials in recent months, will be closing its doors at the end of the week. This leaves a roster of fighters, including Carano, looking for work.”

That’s really a shame.

Check out this cool YouTube video from 2007 filmed by Showtime which will give you a good idea of what she’s like:

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A junior basketball star from Houston Texas is turning heads in the sports arena. At only 16 years of age, Brittney Griner is leading her area in scoring, blocked shots, dunks, and being tall (she stands at 6’8″). Her dunks and blocks have virally exploded on the internet; you easily find videos of her posted on YouTube.

A post written in Yahoo Sports back in February questioned whether or not she could play in the NBA. Blogger J.E. Skeets says her athletic ability would “mean nothing” in the NBA. He said trying to defend strong, athletic powerhouses would be “impossible.”

The feminist in me wants to disagree with him vehemently, but the logical part of me has to agree with his comparison on the surface. But there is a bigger problem here, and it has to do with our culture, and our values.

As someone with a degree in exercise science, I understand that the primary factor influencing the “muscle” aspect of sport performance is testosterone, and it’s something that women lack. Testosterone is the primary muscle building hormone, and higher levels of testosterone in the blood stream lead to larger muscle mass and lower body fat levels.

So basically what Griner has against her is that, despite being incredibly tall, comfortable on the court and able to block shots and slam dunk is the fact that she doesn’t have testosterone streaming through her veins. Essentially, she can’t play in the NBA because she is a girl. But really, it’s that she can’t play in the NBA because they allow these guys to be unnecessarily aggressive. Because aggressive is what sells.

What you need to consider is where our values are as a culture, and these values reflect back to fans, which reflect back to advertising, is money and power.  In sport, the primary draw is the “muscle” or the physical contact. When you take those things out, what do you have? Sound fundamentals, pure jump shots, court awareness, an increased percentage of three pointers, creativity and flow. I believe it’s what many women would consider an even playing field.

Jeets is 100% correct in assuming that the first woman to effectively compete in the NBA will most likely be “short, lightning-quick point guard with great decision-making skills and a jumpshot.”

But I think that day is far, because the NBA still allows a considerable amount of physical contact. This is the type of contact that would throw a girl with those characteristics (or any girl for that matter) into the bleachers with a simple shove from a guy like Rudy Gay. The NBA would have to re-evaluate the amount of physical contact that is permitted in the game, which, in my opinion, would make it that much greater.

Regardless, it’s safe to say that Griner is a player to watch this season (and many other seasons after that), and I hope she’s out there this summer kicking some ass on the courts of Houston, showing men everywhere that a woman can compete just as hard as any man.

Oh, and her dunks look just as cool. Check out this video.

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