First $kala used a fake ring girl contest, now Mauro Ranallo pervs out on Showtime!!!
Tue, 2007-09-18 10:42 — Amphibian
Female fighter disrespect highlighted by offensive quip on Showtime
The confused and distracting situation of Gina Carano’s presentation to the public continued to play out Saturday night with the embarrassing help of color commentator Mauro Ranallo. Carano herself had little to be ashamed of as she extended her undefeated record with a come from behind effort that saw her secure her first ever win by way of submission with a rear naked choke on her opponent Tonya Evinger.
Apparently not satisfied with MMA television commentary on the whole’s pre-existing struggles to catch up in quality to the best work of those in other sports, a none-too clever and degrading sexually charged quip from Ranallo during the Carano/Evinger fight brought about a particularly low moment in the trade’s brief history. After Ranallo recounted some questionable comments in their own right from Evinger during the final pre fight press conference that included her proclamation that she’d like to “make out” with Carano but would instead settle for knocking her out, analyst Bill Goldberg attempted to side step the periphery topic (and possibly redirect to the actual events unfolding in the ring at that moment?) by saying “I’m not going to touch that one with a 25 foot pole, Mauro.” Ranallo persisted, however, saying “I’d like to touch it with a 25 cm one but instead we’ll just call the fight.”
Its impossible to know for sure what Ranallo was referring to by “it” and his pronoun for “pole” (“one”), but it certainly seemed like the former was intended to be understood as Carano and the device he would have liked to use to touch her with, phallic. In addition to likely flattering his own endowment with the comment, Ranallo cheapened the efforts of the two fighters in the ring by objectifying them sexually instead of treating them like any other male combatant and giving the bout it’s due attention.
If Ranallo were having a difficult time focusing on his work as a fight color commentator because of fantasies he may have been entertaining at the time, it would be more appropriate if he kept them to himself. I, for one, am no more concerned with what, or who, Ranallo is more interested in doing while he’s supposed to be working on the air any more than I would be in what he thinks about Robbie Lawler’s pectoral muscles or Murilo Rua’s jaw line.
If all that happens during a women’s MMA fight is more of the same of what occurs in every other area of society, that is various forms of derision and objectifying, then suddenly Showtime and Elite XC’s decision to put on female fights seems a lot less significant. Ranallo’s comment essentially nullified any otherwise admirable efforts to collectively give women fighters their fair shake.
The pre fight interviews, expensive mini documentaries, references to past athletic accomplishments. You can throw all their effect of developing the full character of female fighters in fan’s eyes out the window if commentators choose to be this flippant. Is Carano a young woman who has overcome many challenges in her personal and professional life to become a highly skilled and conditioned athlete that is unafraid to break barriers or is she an anonymous hot babe that Mauro Ranallo would like to bang?
There is a decision to make. Of course, Ranallo is not alone in his guilt and more than likely simply felt compelled into toeing the seeming company line with regards to Carano. After all, it’s hard to find any mention of the 25 year old fighter in Elite XC press releases that don’t include some description of her as “sexy”.
A person forming their own opinion on the appearances of others is perfectly fine, of course. But for a company to focus on something so superficial is to ignore the substantial and leads to all sorts of problems including a color commentator detailing his poking aspirations on national television.
The awkward balancing act of respect for female fighters on the one hand and then lusting after them on the other comes off as disingenuous to say the least. The cameras and announcing team both seemed to go out of their way to highlight the presence of Carano’s father, Glenn Carano. Isn’t it always nice to see the importance of family to so many of these fighters?
I wonder what Glenn Carano will think of Ranallo’s comment when he watches the fight tape. There’s little chance that he could have noticed Ranallo’s innuendo and checking out of his daughter at the time, what with cheering her on and hoping for the best and all (that is to say that he was actually paying attention to the fight).
Such an offensive non-sequitur would be entirely unthinkable in other sports and should be in MMA as well. Imagine if an Olympic gymnastics television commentator took time out of describing a floor exercise to let the millions watching know how much he’d like to hit that?
If MMA wants to become mainstream it has to do more than institute weight classes, ban certain moves and seek sanctioning, it has to respect its athletes. Even if those athletes are women.
Ranallo should start by apologizing for being such an unprofessional just as publicly as he leered at Carano and follow up with a dedicated effort at calling the actual action of fights from now on instead of forcing out corny one liners that seem to be either formed way in advance or not given much thought at all. There sure was plenty of action to call that fight, after all.
Carano, known for her Muay Thai kickboxing skills entered the fight with hype surrounding her that certainly matched her talent and potential but that was probably unfair given her relative inexperience to this point. Carano was also taking on a fighter in Evinger that threatened to expose her ground skills by putting her on her back with excellent wrestling skills. Sure enough, at the bout’s onset Evinger went right to work with an overhand right into a takedown that put Carano squarely on her back and underneath her opponent’s cross side.
Eventually Carano was able to partially recompose and achieve a half guard position. And though Evinger showed that her ability to take the fight to the ground was better than Carano’s she was unable to prove that her ability to finish it once there there was greater than her opponent’s. Carano defended a couple of guillotine choke attempts from Evinger before capitalizing on the wrestler’s mistake of pulling a loose half guard to lock on another guillotine hold and escaping from underneath her and taking the top position.
Soon Carano had taken the back of Evinger and once she had secured both “hooks”, or legs around her opponent’s waist and flattened her hips, she was able to secure the rear choke and force Evinger to tap out with seven seconds left in the three minute round.
Carano was ecstatic during her post fight interview saying, ‘That was my first submission ever, that was amazing.” Then after being asked to watch and comment on the replay of her fight winning hold she continued jokingly “I don’t know what was going through my head I was just like, ‘I just want to choke her, I just want to choke her until she doesn’t breathe anymore. Why won’t you die?”
Displaying gratitude and just some of the depth of character that many MMA fighters possess Carano also thanked “God and my family for always being there for me and making me the person that I am today.”
Tagged: On The Mat