For those of you who followed WMMA even before Gina Carano made it famous, you’ll recognize Shayna Baszler’s name. She’s a Josh Barnett’s catch wrestling protege and one of the more exciting female fighters out there. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had a fight in nearly two years. So what has she been up to instead?
Along with what she calls “the usual metal and video gaming, guitar-playing stuff,” Baszler has found an off-the-beaten-path kind of niche as the strength and conditioning coach for a local roller derby team in her hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D.
Of course, the former Strikeforce and EliteXC competitor didn’t feel comfortable assuming a coaching role without stepping into the roller derby arena herself. She came away with a newfound respect for the sport.
“I have practiced with them,” Baszler said. “I felt like I shouldn’t have any authority to tell them what things are gonna help them and why unless I’ve done it. So, I have done that. Those girls are nuts — they get injured way more than I do in a fight sport. If I didn’t have a fight career I would probably be playing some derby.”
Not to diss combat roller skating, but Shayna Baszler doin derby instead of fighting is like Jon Jones scrubbing toilets for a living instead of defending his championship belt. Shayna is one of the best submission artists in WMMA and her inactivity should give you a little perspective into how hard it is to make a career as a female fighter.
You’d think a scrappy bitch with a bad attitude and some Aoki-like tricks would be in hot demand, especially given WMMA’s supposed depth issues. Alas, that isn’t the case. Gina Carano just lamented her inability to make a living off the sport, but I figure she’s just used to the standard of life you get as the daughter of an NFL quarterback. Shayna Baszler is a much more worrisome case: an exciting fighter who’s one of the best in her field, and she can’t even land a fight. Either her manager needs to lay off the weed or the scene has some serious issues.