A look back on the fight career of female MMA Fighter-turned action movie superstar, Gina Carano. Haywire movie poster photo via UnWrappedPhotos.com.
Yes, she does all her own stunts.
Former Elite XC standout Gina Carano -- once regarded as the "face" of female mixed martial arts (MMA) -- has not stepped into the cage since her disastrous title bout against Brazilian powerhouse Cristiane Santos back in 2009.
But, that doesn't mean she hasn't kept herself busy.
Carano, whose media endeavors include work on "American Gladiators" and a role in the Electronic Arts-lauded "Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3" video game, will make her debut as a cinematic leading lady two weeks from Friday (Jan. 20, 2012) when Steven Soderbergh's action thriller, "Haywire," hits theaters nationwide.
Incidentally, early reviews are astoundingly positive, with Carano's performance in particular being praised.
While we may never see her smash faces again for real, in honor of the upcoming release of "Haywire," we'd like to take a look back at her storied career and highlight some of her greatest hits, physical, viral and otherwise.
Check it out:
6. "Crush" Carano
"American Gladiators" is what happens when you combine "Ninja Warrior," "Wipeout" and far too much spandex. Amateur athletes compete in various crazy events against both one another and a handful of "Gladiators," who were dedicated to absolutely ruining their days.
Being both quite good at fighting and lovely to boot, Carano was an obvious choice, and viewers got the chance to watch her (wo)manhandle (un)lucky competitors while wearing this as "Crush:"
5. Gina Carano vs. Tonya Evinger -- Fight Hard, Party Harder
Openly-gay fighters remain a rarity in MMA. Arguably the best-known example is Shad Smith, whose greatest career highlight was a horrendously one-sided beatdown at the hands of Duane "Bang" Ludwig.
Meanwhile, Tonya Evinger isn't just open about being a lesbian, she makes it very clear about how she feels about her opponents. In the press conference leading up to her bout with Carano back in 2007, she made many young audience members very happy with this quote:
"I’d like to make out with Gina, but I am here to knock her out. Either way she wants it, though, is fine with me."
Would it be presumptuous of me to say many here would echo this sentiment?
In any case, Carano manged to defeat Evinger via rear-naked choke (get your minds out of the gutter) and went on to party like a mo-fuggin' rock star with her afterward. The photo evidence was ... enlightening:
Reports that Carano was, in fact, doing the worm and not absurdly intoxicated remain sadly unsubstantiated. Also, you can put your minds back in the gutter now.
4. "Body" Carano
"ESPN Magazine's" yearly "Body Issue" is an entertaining look at how different athletes' bodies compare to one another. It is often fascinating to see how much variation there is in the label "athletic."
In the 2009 issue, it had something for everyone -- for the ladies, ESPN included the likes of Adrian Peterson, Dwight Howard and Carl Edwards.
For the guys, well ...
Education is fun!
LESS-THAN-GREATEST-HIT INTERLUDE: Carano vs. Cyborg
Following the dissolution of Elite XC, Carano found herself scooped up -- like the rest of the roster -- by Strikeforce. After 10 months away from the cage, she stepped in to face Brazilian wrecking machine Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos for the inaugural Strikeforce women's 145-pound title.
Things didn't go so well.
While Carano did manage to get mount at one point, Cyborg got back to her feet and, for lack of a better word, proceeded to HULK SMASH, battering and taking down Carano before ground-and-pounding the tar out of her until, with one second remaining in the first round, Josh Rosenthal stepped in for the save.
Sadly, this bout may have led Carano to retire; however, at least she went out on her shield.
AND NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULARLY-SCHEDULED CAREER HIGHLIGHTS, ALREADY IN PROGRESS
3. Gina Carano vs. Rosi Sexton
Many people criticize women's MMA as being less exciting than its male counterpart. Luckily for those watching her second-ever MMA bout, against unbeaten finishing machine Rosi Sexton, Carano wasn't listening.
With less than 10 seconds left in the second round, Carano bullied Sexton into the cage and unleashed a doozy of a right hand that left the latter unconscious and her legs apparently trying to run away in two separate directions.
In other words, girl got Nelmark'd.
Pop over to 7:45 on that video to see the knockout.
2. Towel Gate
Prior to her bout with Kelly Kobold in 2008, whose last name should leave any Dungeons & Dragons players in the house reaching for their halberds, Carano's weight was a hot topic.
And not in the way a woman's weight usually is.
In her previous bout, Carano had missed weight badly, weighing in at 144.5 for her 140-pound clash with Kaitlin Young. Despite Carano's assertions that she had a dietitian and there was no need to worry, she missed weight on her first two attempts, progressively stripping off more and more clothing until finally stripping entirely naked, prompting Elite XC personnel and her father (he's pictured on the right, seriously) to (much to the disappointment of the crowd, I'm sure) bring out the towel.
Carano wound up hitting her mark and made weight for the bout, which she went on to win via unanimous decision despite being overshadowed by Seth Petruzelli giving Gus Johnson an aneurysm later in the night.
Former UFC contender Paul Daley has since adopted the technique to lesser success.
Somehow, it's just not the same.
1. Ringside Gina
Through her violent efforts in the cage, Carano has proven herself more than just a pretty face (although she definitely has one) and helped put women's MMA on the map. We here at MMAmania thank Carano for her efforts and wish her the best of luck in whatever endeavors she decides to pursue next.
Why not dancing?