After the historic match between Gina “Conviction” Carano and Cris Cyborg Santos, there has been a buzz about how women’s MMA will start to take shape. Well it will come to know ones surprise that a female pro-wrestler has decided to throw her hat into the ring. Lisa Marie Varon aka Victoria (WWE) & Tara (TNA) has recently expressed an interest in entering the cage. Already comparisons to Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley have been attached to her and her desire to fight Kim Couture has been made known. Since her retirement from the WWE Lisa has been training in MMA and has been training in Brazilian Ju Jitsu for some time now before that and although she has not officially named her school in a blog she does have pictures with Helio Soneca and has mentioned that her coach also trains Rafael dos Anjos, which leads one to believe her school is affiliated with Gracie Barra. Also featured on her myspace pictures are her and Terri Blair who is a professional female boxer, whom she calls her “workout partner.” On top of all of that she has recently hired J.T. Stewart as her manager who also manages the former UFC Middleweight Champion and current Light-Heavyweight fighter Rich “Ace” Franklin. Given these connections, or at least apparent ones, Lisa’s journey into MMA maybe a promising one, especially with the recent Santos vs. Carano fight. There are both positive and negative aspects to her journey that may come into play that will either benefit her career or cause it to be a relative “flash in the pan.”
Lisa Marie’s background as an athlete is well documented. She started out as a cheerleader earning an NCA All-American while in high school. She also won numerous Fitness and Bodybuilding titles while she was a personal trainer, before making the jump into professional wrestling in 2000. How does this all translate into a positive for an MMA career? Well as a professional fitness competitor she is used to not only training extremely hard, but also is used to cutting weight for competitions. She is listed as being five foot eight inches and one hundred and fifty-five pounds, which would put her into the largest and most competitive division in women’s mma. A self-described workout addict Lisa Marie also displayed great power and athleticism in professional wrestling. Never as big as some of the larger women wrestlers her strength seemed to be equal or only slightly less than her larger counterparts. If one were to look into her signature and finishing moves it becomes apparent that she was seen as a powerhouse type of wrestler. In addition to power moves she also did moonsaults or a backwards flip “splash” into a pinning move. She sometimes did this from a standing position. After watching a few videos of her matches and having seen some on tv no one would argue that the women is athletic. It is obvious that athleticism is in her genetics as her older brother Bobby Sole was a gold medal wrestler at the Pan- American games in 1983. Finally she has appeared on some of the biggest events in pro-wrestling so that should translate well into not being “nervous” because of a large audience. Pro-wrestlers are known to be tremendous athletes often working grueling schedules, so the work ethic and atmosphere of MMA should not be hard for her to adapt to.
But there are some proverbial roadblocks in Ms. Varon’s attempt to jump into the cage and perform at a high level. First and foremost, despite the pro-wrestling career, she has only recently started training in MMA. While most fighters come from some sort of combat sport background she does not, but instead comes from an athletic and sports entertainment one. While pro-wrestling is a grueling and demanding athletic occupation it is not a true combat sport and does not prepare its competitors for the nuances of fighting. Sure there may be some areas that translate well, but without a true striking element or real submission and grappling technique it is hard to say that its craft will prepare her well. In addition pro-wrestling has been known to take a grueling toll on its participants bodies and has been documented by many ex-wrestlers and active ones of the injuries that they accumulated throughout there tenure. Only Lisa Marie knows how much damage has been done to her body, but it is not like she is entering MMA with “limited wear and tear.” Finally, she was born Feb. 10, 1971 which means that at the time of this post she is 38 years old. At this stage in their careers many fighters are exiting the sport or on their way out. Sure certain ones remain on longer, like Randy Couture or Mark Coleman, and have had success, but there are many who have not. Chuck Liddell may serve as an example as he is will be forty in December. Granted he has fought longer than her and therefore been subject to many more strikes and such, but both began their respective careers within two years of each other. One has to wonder if her reflexes and “chin” are up to facing younger fighters with more experience.
With the enormous success of Brock Lesnar and to a lesser extent Bobby Lashley it was only a matter of time that more professional wrestlers would seek to make the transition to MMA, although this is not a new trend. But as the fighters pay increases and a less “demanding” schedule there are those who may consider the move. The fact that Lisa Marie Varon is attempting this should be no surprise given her background. The major question is that at this stage can she be successful? If she can make the transition quickly and with success, women’s MMA gains a viable star to add to the already growing roster. If she fights at 145 it adds another name into the mix to help build a following. If not does it really impact the sport? Only if she is rushed into the spotlight it would appear. But given her athleticism, strength, intelligence (she was on track to be a physician), and drive those who would bet against her or say definetly not might be in for a surprise.
This fight is dope. Check out rounds one and two below, along with highlights from Bellator VII that went down Friday.
Last week it was the crazy triangle choke, this week it’s the awesome spinning back fist knockout.