Last weekend I missed the MMA championship bout between Gina Carano and Cyborg Santos, but watched what I could find on YouTube. The steel-cage event headlined at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, was billed as a breakthrough for women, and aired on Showtime pay-per-view. Now controversy rages. On AOL Fanhouse, commentator David Whitley did that predictable squeaking that conservative males always do when they're sure that women have overstepped in sports.
Just prior, the IOC had greenlighted women's boxing for the 2012 Olympics. But Whitley has his issues. He wrote: "The ancient Greeks who started the Olympics treated women like property. Now we're letting women treat themselves like animals."
Whitley insisted that he's up to speed on equal opportunity. "I'm all for equal pay, a female president and my daughters growing up in a misogyny-free world. I just don't care to see them in a boxing ring." But then Whitley added the also-predictable objection to women serving in uniform. And he finished by comparing a women's boxing match to watching a snuff film or a dog fight.
That did it for a whole ring-ful of pro-MMA commentators like Zak Woods of Watch Kalib Run, who ripped into Whitley.
Meanwhile, everything happened pretty much the way it's supposed to in boxing. Challenger Cyborg trained for five years. The HP Pavilion was packed. Reigning icon Carano got a huge ovation when she came out -- only to be mauled to a TKO in the first round by Cyborg. Both women made a lot of money.
Way back in the worm-eaten woodwork of Whitley's attitude is the unspoken homophobia. Women who do a no-no in sports are still seen as unfeminine and unnatural, ergo lesbians. And Whitley didn't have to watch. Nobody held a gun to his head. But he evidently watched the alleged "dog fight" himself.