Carano: Text From Dana Ruined Ronda Fight
When it comes to women’s mixed martial arts in the United States, Gina Carano and Ronda Rousey are considered two of the trailblazers, and many wondered why a fight between the two never happened.
Carano, who was in the first female MMA fight to ever air on major American television (CBS), was actually close to a deal in 2014 to fight Rousey during her run in the UFC.
“When Ronda Rousey became popular, I remember they finally called for a meeting and I walked into this restaurant and [Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White] looked like two big muscly guys at the table in the middle of Hollywood and I remember thinking, ‘What took you guys so long?’” Carano said to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
“So they were like, ‘Okay, we’d love to offer you a million dollars to have that fight (against Ronda Rousey).’ And I was like, ‘Well that sounds great, [but] I am going to need you to do me a favor then because I have been acting now and I’m not active in any gym, so you’re going to have to give me some time to build a team, to join a team.’ Which is not an easy thing as all fighters know…
“So I told them they would have to be able to sit on it for six months,” Carano continued. “Dana, you can’t say anything and let me get situated with that in mind because that sounds great and I’d love to do it. It was a nice dinner and we all left positive and I left stoked. It made sense. This is my moment to come and be back in there.”
Carano walked away from MMA five years before this meeting following a loss to Cris Cyborg. She had set her sights on acting and was willing to come back to face the ascending Rousey, but then Dana White “ruined it.”
“And then the next day, Dana was out there talking about me and talking about my name and telling people that he was going to sign me and I don’t even have a team yet,” Carano said. “And I was like, that is not what we discussed. You were supposed to give me at least six months to find a team. Then he started trying to put on the pressure through the media. It was a bummer because I told him over a text message that it was not what we had talked about. I need time, and now I am going to walk into a gym and people know that’s what I’m doing and I needed to build trust and find people.
“So, then he kept on doing that and kept on doing that and I’m still searching for a team and feeling all that pressure. Then he sent me a text message that said, ‘This bitch is effin’ us around,’ or something like that.
“So I sent a text message back and said, ‘I think that you sent that to the wrong person’ and he said, ‘I don’t think I did’ and that was the last conversation that we ever had over text message because I don’t think that was the kind of environment that I wanted to come back into. So I just cut all communication after that text.”
“I remember seeing him when Mike Tyson and my dad were getting honored at a sports hall of fame in Las Vegas and he did come up to me and he genuinely apologized,” Carano said of the UFC President. “But yeah, I didn’t think that not even a million dollars – when people hold money over your head, which they have done since I was a little girl, it’s just never been a turn on for me. I don’t have a problem with authority, I just have a problem with abused authority. So that was the end of that conversation.”
“So it was a dream that didn’t get to happen. But, I was able to open up doors for women to be able to walk into gyms and it could be easier. And I will always cherish that.”
Transcribed by MMA Fighting