The media hype going into Gina Carano’s fight last Saturday night against Cris Cyborg was a circus. Both Carano & Cyborg did a hype session in New York City to promote the fight for Showtime. Carano said that she was bothered by questions from interviewers about who she dates and about sex, yet she once compared fighting to sex. However, topping off the circus were comments Kit Cope made on an interview radio show with Ariel Helwani and King Mo Lawal in which Cope said that he had a sex tape of him and Carano together. In addition to this claim, Cope also made negative comments about Xtreme Couture, saying that “Xtreme Fashion” is a place for big names to train at but that it doesn’t produce positive fight results.
This irked Shawn Tompkins, the head trainer at Xtreme Couture. He fired back at Cope in an interview with Dave Farra of RawVegas.tv.
“Well, I mean, I take that as a compliment, you know, the proof is in the pudding. I got guys here that are you know out of 28 fighters on that floor in about 2 minutes most of those guys are in the top 10. A lot of them are champions in the biggest organizations in the world. He can say what he wants but I got guys that will fight him any day, any time, but he’s not even good enough to get in those organizations let alone be in the Top 10.”
There’s Jay Hieron, Mark Hominick, Sam Stout, Chris Horodecki, Vitor Belfort, Mark Coleman, Randy Couture, you know, I don’t even have enough breath to say them all you know and they’re great guys, they’re great people, they don’t represent themselves this way so if he’s such a great fighter, how come he represents himself like this?
Well, he can say what he wants but I have 28 of the best fighters in the world right now.”
Unfortunately for Xtreme Couture, the fight results involving their two most prominent fighters (outside of Randy Couture) were ugly. Forrest Griffin came in with a horrible fight plan against Anderson Silva and Gina Carano looked terrible against Cris Cyborg.
For those who didn’t see the fight between Carano and Cyborg, it was a full five-minute round of Cyborg mostly pummeling the crap out of Gina. In the stand-up game, it was completely one-sided. Cyborg’s mistakes involved her using “Takayama takedowns” (front suplex hold attempts) where she kept falling on her back and Gina was in mount position twice. However, any time Gina had an opening she left herself vulnerable to all sorts of submissions. At least three times during the fight, Carano exposed her back to Cyborg. Cyborg realistically should have finished off the fight quicker than she did. Unlike fighters like Josh Barnett who don’t mind giving up their back to obtain a better position on the ground, Carano was giving up her back both standing up and on the ground. Gina looked like a rookie. Cyborg continued her aggression and went for an Americana, but eventually settled for standing over Carano on the ground and punching her until referee Josh Rosenthal stopped the contest. Cyborg obviously has some holes in her game, but her athleticism easily prevailed over Carano’s bad game plan and terrible fight performance.
Gina looked like an amateur fighter with a lot of heart but not a lot of legitimate training. Don’t get me wrong — Gina will not lose many fans after this fight, but her game was entirely exposed for the world to see and it is not that well-developed. Unlike BJ Penn who looked terrible against Georges St. Pierre, there are real questions about Gina Carano’s skill set as a fighter. We all know Penn is world-class at Lightweight and can’t be stopped, but what we didn’t know going into Saturday night’s Showtime fight was how legitimate Gina Carano was. The answer — she has a long ways to go.
“[Cyborg's] very happy, she’s wonderful,” a Chute Boxe interpreter told Fanhouse.com in a post-fight interview. “She was ready to face the five rounds, she was ready to face the crowd, she was ready to face Gina, she was ready for everything but once you go inside the Octagon, there’s only two fighters so that’s why she was comfortable. She’s training jiu-jitsu at Cleber Luciano Jiu-Jitsu in Huntington Beach and that’s why she’s so comfortable, she’s a purple belt, and of course she prefers Muay Thai but she needs to go to the ground, she’s comfortable on the ground.”
When asked if Cyborg was ready for her world to change now that she beat Carano, her interpreter said, “She’s ready for everything.”
When I wrote about Tompkins responding to Cope’s comments, I used the following article title: “Shawn Tompkins responds to busted horse steroid user’s comments about a Gina Carano sex tape.” Tompkins had every right to be mad at Cope for what the goofball said, but even a broken watch is right twice a day and Cope’s comments about Xtreme Couture may have had more truth to them than we first thought.
Remember, it is Mark Coleman over the last two months who came out to have the most impressive showing out of any fighter in Xtreme Couture over the last two months — having better showings than Stephan Bonnar, Jay Hieron (who deserves plenty of wiggle room for all the horrible things he’s gone through), Forrest Griffin, and Gina Carano. Tompkins and Couture did a great job helping out Mark Coleman, but Coleman is a long-time veteran of the game. The other fighters have experience, but nowhere near the same kind of resume that Coleman has had in the business.
If Carano ends up facing Cyborg in a re-match, I don’t see how the fight result changes unless Gina and her trainers at Xtreme Couture come up with a completely different game plan and skill set for her. That’s a tough task and burden to put on the shoulders of the most popular women’s fighter in the world.
As for Cyborg, she is likely going to face veteran Marloes Coenen next. It’s a winnable, but very tough fight against a veteran opponent. As for a re-match with Carano?
“She doesn’t care whoever Scott Coker put in to face her, she’s going to face but if Gina wants a re-match, she can give a re-match for Gina, no problem at all.”