Date of Birth
16 April 1982, Dallas County, Texas, USA
Gina Joy Carano
5' 8" (1.73 m)
Is an American actress, television personality, and retired mixed martial arts fighter. Carano appeared as the Gladiator "Crush" on American Gladiators. She has been referred to as the "Face of Women's MMA."
Carano was formerly the #3-ranked 145-pound female fighter in the world according to the Unified Women's MMA Rankings.
Carano was born in Dallas County, Texas, the middle daughter of Dana Joy (née Cason) and Glenn Thomas Carano. She has two sisters.Carano has said that she has a "small percentage" of Italian ancestry. Her father played for the Dallas Cowboys as a backup quarterback from 1977–1983 and for the USFL Pittsburgh Maulers as a starter in 1984, their only year of operations.
She graduated from Trinity Christian High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she led the girls basketball team to a state title. She played volleyball and softball.She attended the University of Nevada, Reno for a year and then University of Nevada, Las Vegas for three, where she majored in psychology.
Mixed martial arts career
Carano started her career in the sport of Muay Thai. Gina's ex-boyfriend Kevin Ross, a pro Muay Thai fighter, got her involved in Muay Thai. After achieving a Muay Thai record of 12-1-1Carano received an offer from Jamie Levine to participate in the first-ever sanctioned female MMA bout in Nevada with World Extreme Fighting to fight Leiticia Pestova. She was invited to the World Pro Fighting show in Las Vegas to fight Rosi Sexton.Carano won the fight by knocking out Sexton late in the second round.
Carano faced Elaina Maxwell at Strikeforce: Triple Threat on December 8, 2006. She won the fight via unanimous decision. Carano proved critics wrong when she defeated Maxwell for the second time; the first victory coming in a Muay Thai bout. The fight was the first female fight in Strikeforce.
She fought on the February 10, 2007, Showtime EliteXC card, defeating Julie Kedzie via unanimous decision in what was called the "Fight of the Night.The fight was the first televised female fight on Showtime.
Her scheduled bout against Jan Finney at the EliteXC/K-1 Dynamite!! USA event on June 2, 2007 was canceled due to illness. The Fight Network and other news outlets reported that she was rushed to the hospital via ambulance due to dehydration while attending a World Extreme Cagefighting event as a spectator.
Carano fought on the September 15, 2007, Showtime EliteXC card, where she defeated Tonya Evinger via rear naked choke for her first career win by submission.Carano impressed critics by holding her own on the ground before submitting Evinger late in the first round.
Carano defeated former HOOKnSHOOT Champion Kaitlin Young at EliteXC: Primetime on May 31, 2008.A day before the fight, Carano failed to make weight for her fight after weighing in at 144.5 lb (65.5 kg). Although most MMA organizations set weight classes at 135 (bantamweight) and 145 (featherweight) pounds (61.2 and 65.8 kg, respectively), EliteXC opted to create a women's weight class at 140 pounds.Carano agreed to forfeit 12.5% of her "show" purse to Young, and the fight remained on the card.
Leading up to her fight against Kelly Kobold, there was much controversy over whether or not Gina would make weight for the fight, as she had fought only once in the past year and had failed to make weight. Gina assured critics that she would be able to make weight since she had hired a nutritionist to help with her dieting. At the weigh-in for the Kobold fight on October 3, 2008, Gina Carano weighed in at 142.75 pounds on her first attempt.After removing her sports bra, a towel-covered Carano weighed in a second time at 142.5 pounds.On her third attempt, without any clothes on, Carano weighed 141 pounds and successfully made weight.
Early on, Kobold was intent on pressing Carano in the clinch, while working for the takedown throughout the fight. Kobold managed a takedown in the second round, but the round ended before she could take meaningful advantage of it. Carano worked her opportunities by hitting Kobold at every turn whenever the fighters separated, while opening a huge gash on the inside of her opponent's eyebrow in the first round.At the end of the third round, Carano looked to finish the fight as she unloaded a head kick that landed flush on Kobold's chin, but Kobold remained on her feet and the bout came to a close.
Carano won by unanimous decision and remained undefeated. After she won, she dedicated the fight to her grandfather.
Strikeforce Women's Middleweight Championship bout
After Strikeforce purchased the assets of ProElite, Carano, along with other fighters within the defunct promotion, became contractually linked with Strikeforce after many months of a stalemate regarding their free agent status.
It was announced at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields that Carano's fight against Cristiane Santos would take place on August 15, 2009, at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg. Strikeforce created their first Women's Championship for the bout.
Though the 145-pound division is most commonly referred to as featherweight, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated that the title would be known as the Strikeforce Women's Lightweight Championship.The title was later renamed the Strikeforce Women's Middleweight Championship.
Carano lost the fight against Santos by TKO at 4:59 in the first round.
However, January 2012 revelations may question the validity of Carano’s loss to Cyborg. On January 6, 2012, the California State Athletic Commission announced Cyborg tested positive for steroids after her December 2011 fight. She was suspended for one year, receiving a $2,500 fine.
“This result undoubtedly raises suspicions about all her wins,” writes Jack Bratcher at prommanow.com. “How long has she been using? Are all her wins tainted?...Was her win over Gina Carano real?”
Others concur. “It also calls into question whether her accomplishments in the cage have always been tainted by the use of performance-enhancing drugs,” added Michael David Smith, lead blogger at MMAfighting.org.
On January 17, 2012, Cyborg filed an appeal of the suspension.
Following her loss to Santos, Carano was out of action for the remainder of 2009 and the entirety of 2010. In November 2010, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated he was hopeful that she would return in 2011.Carano's return was formally announced in February 2011.
Strikeforce announced at its April 9, 2011, event in San Diego that Carano would make her return on June 18 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, during the Overeem vs. Werdum Strikeforce event. Her opponent will be Sarah D'Alelio. This bout will be the first women's bout ever held by Zuffa, who have been detractors of women's MMA in the past. Critics assert that the reason for the turnaround is Carano's marketability.Initially Strikeforce announced Carano failed her pre-fight medical examination due to an unknown issue and the fight was pulled from the card. Rumors abound that Carano was pregnant. As the story continues to develop it's become public that Carano was medically cleared by the Athletic Commission but was removed from the card for unknown reasons. Her return date is unknown; Carano has not fought or been scheduled for a match since August 2009.Carano will make her first public appearance at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con since her mysterious removal from Strikeforce's June 18 event.
Television and film career
Carano starred in the cult film Ring Girls.Based on true events, Ring Girls is a fast-paced story about five American women from Las Vegas who take on the ultimate challenge of fighting the best female Muay Thai fighters in the world.
Along with Lisa King, Carano served as a mentor to aspiring female fighters in the Oxygen reality series Fight Girls. She appeared as "Crush" on the NBC show American Gladiators, in which she starred in the workout video of the show along with Monica Carlson (Jet), Jennifer Widerstrom (Phoenix), Michael O'Hearn (Titan), Tanoai Reed (Toa) and Don "Hollywood" Yates (Wolf). The DVD was released on December 16, 2008. She is featured in the Michael Jai White film Blood and Bone.
She has appeared in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 as Natasha,a purchasable hero unit, portraying the Soviet sniper/commando in various cutscenes.
In September 2009, Carano landed the leading role in the spy thriller movie Haywire, directed by Steven Soderbergh.Christy Lemire of The Associated Press stated; "[Carano's] dialogue delivery may seem a bit stiff -- and she has acknowledged that Soderbergh made some tweaks to her voice in post-production -- but she has tremendous presence: an intriguing mix of muscular power and eye-catching femininity".
In February 2012, Carano was cast in In the Blood, an action thriller being directed by John Stockwell (Into the Blue, Blue Crush). The film has been described as being in the vein of Taken, In the Blood is set in motion when a husband disappears while vacationing in the Caribbean with his wife, played by Carano. The grieving wife passionately and recklessly pursues the men whom she believes kidnapped and killed him. Stockwell stated, "This role will showcase not only Gina’s fighting skills, but also her acting abilities as her character struggles to reign in her violent past".
She was profiled in a feature story for the ESPN series E:60, and was voted "Hottest Woman In America" by Big Biz Magazine in the Spring 2008 issue.On May 13, 2008, "Gina Carano" was the fastest-rising search on Google and third most searched person on Yahoo!.
She was ranked as #5 on the "Top Ten Influential Women of 2008" list on Yahoo!
In May 2009, it was announced that Carano was ranked #16 in Maxim's Hot 100 list.
In April 2012 Carano will become the first recipient of the Chick Norris (Best Female Action Star) Award, given by ActionFest to the female action star of the year.
She is one of the cover athletes along with Serena Williams for the October 19, 2009 edition of ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue. Carano and Williams were two of the athletes featured in a book by Dana Rasmussen.
 Mixed martial arts record
Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 7–1 Cristiane Santos TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg August 15, 2009 1 4:59 San Jose, California, United States For the Women's Featherweight Championship
Win 7–0 Kelly Kobold Decision (unanimous) EliteXC: Heat October 4, 2008 3 3:00 Sunrise, Florida, United States
Win 6–0 Kaitlin Young TKO (doctor stoppage) EliteXC: Primetime May 31, 2008 2 3:00 Newark, New Jersey, United States
Win 5–0 Tonya Evinger Submission (rear naked choke) EliteXC: Uprising September 15, 2007 1 2:53 Oahu, Hawaii, United States
Win 4–0 Julie Kedzie Decision (unanimous) EliteXC: Destiny February 10, 2007 3 3:00 Southaven, Mississippi, United States EliteXC Debut
Win 3–0 Elaina Maxwell Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Triple Threat December 8, 2006 3 2:00 San Jose, California, United States Strikeforce Debut
Win 2–0 Rosi Sexton KO (punch) World Pro Fighting Championships 1 September 15, 2006 2 4:55 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 1–0 Leiticia Pestova KO (punches and elbows) World Extreme Fighting June 10, 2006 1 0:38 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Ring Girls Muay Thai Fighter/Herself Video
2005 Countdown to Destiny Herself TV documentary
2006 Fight Girls N/A TV series
2008 American Gladiators Crush TV series
2008 American Gladiators Ultimate Workout Crush Video
2008 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Natasha Volkova Video Game
2008 Fatal Femmes Fighting: Asian Invasion Herself Video
2009 Blood and Bone Verett Film
2011 I Am Bruce Lee Herself TV documentary
2012 Haywire Mallory Kane Film