Gina Joy Carano (born April 16, 1982[1]) is an American actress and former mixed martial artist. She competed in EliteXC and Strikeforce from 2006 to 2009, where she compiled a 7–1 record.[2] Her popularity led to her being called the "face of women's MMA", although Carano rejected this title.[3] She and Cris Cyborg were the first women to headline a major MMA event during their 2009 Strikeforce bout.[4] Carano retired from competition after her first professional MMA defeat to Cyborg.

Gina Carano
BornGina Joy Carano
(1982-04-16) April 16, 1982 (age 41)
Dallas County, Texas, U.S.
Other namesConviction
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight143 lb (65 kg; 10.2 st)
Reach66+12 in (169 cm)
StyleMuay Thai, Gaidojutsu
Fighting out ofAlbuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
TeamJackson's MMA
TrainerGreg Jackson
Years active2006–2009 (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout3
By submission1
By decision3
By knockout1
Notable relativesGlenn Carano (father)
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Transitioning from the ring to the screen, Carano landed her first major role as the lead of the action film Haywire (2011), which was followed by appearances in Fast & Furious 6 (2013) and Deadpool (2016). She also portrayed Cara Dune in the first two seasons of the Disney+ space Western series The Mandalorian from 2019 to 2020.

Early life

Carano was born in Dallas County, Texas,[5] and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada,[6] the daughter of Dana Joy Cason and casino executive and former professional football player Glenn Carano.[7][8] She is the middle child of three sisters.[6] She was raised by her mother after her parents divorced when Gina was seven.[6][7] She has said that her family celebrates "an Italian festival" every year, though she is of a "small percentage of Italian" descent.[9]

Carano graduated from Trinity Christian High School in Las Vegas where she led the girls' basketball team to a state title. She also played volleyball and softball.[10] She attended the University of Nevada, Reno for a year and then University of Nevada, Las Vegas for three years, majoring in psychology.[11][12]

Mixed martial arts career

Carano started her career in the sport of Muay Thai. Her then-boyfriend Kevin Ross, a pro Muay Thai fighter, got her involved.[13] After achieving a Muay Thai record of 12–1–1,[14] Carano 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 Pestovа (a bout Carano won in 38 seconds). She was invited to the World Pro Fighting show in Las Vegas to fight Rosi Sexton.[15] Carano won the fight by knocking out Sexton late in the second round.[citation needed]

Carano faced Elaina Maxwell at Strikeforce: Triple Threat on December 8, 2006. She won the fight via unanimous decision.[16] Carano proved critics wrong when she defeated Maxwell for the second time; the first victory coming in a Muay Thai bout. It 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".[17] It 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 Carano was rushed to the hospital by ambulance for dehydration while attending a World Extreme Cagefighting event as a spectator.[18]

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.[19] She 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.[20] A day before the fight, Carano failed to make weight for her fight after weighing in at 144.5 pounds (65.5 kg). Although most MMA organizations set weight classes at 135 lb (61 kg) (bantamweight) and 145 lb (66 kg) (featherweight), EliteXC opted to create a women's weight class at 140 pounds (64 kg).[21] Carano agreed to forfeit 12.5% of her "show" purse to Young, and the fight remained on the card.[22]

Leading up to her fight against Kelly Kobold, there was much controversy over whether Carano would make weight for the fight, as she had fought only once in the past year and had failed to make weight. Carano 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, Carano weighed in at 142.75 pounds (64.75 kg) on her first attempt.[23] After removing her clothing, a towel-covered Carano weighed in a second time at 142.5 pounds (64.6 kg).[24] The towel was removed,[25] and on her third attempt, Carano weighed 141 pounds (64 kg)[26] 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.[27] 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.[28] Carano won by unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 29–28).[29]

Strikeforce Women's Lightweight Championship bout

Carano before the weigh-in of her 2009 fight against Cris Cyborg

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.[30]

It was announced at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields that Carano's fight against Cris Cyborg 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.[31] The title was later renamed the Strikeforce Women's Middleweight Championship.[32] Carano lost the fight against Cyborg by TKO at 4:59 in the first round, giving her first-ever loss in her professional MMA career.[33]

In November 2010, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated he was hopeful that she would return in 2011.[34] Carano's return was formally announced in February 2011,[35] and Strikeforce announced at its April 9, 2011, event in San Diego that Carano would make her return against Sarah D'Alelio on June 18, during the Overeem vs. Werdum Strikeforce event in Dallas. This bout would have been held by Zuffa, who have been detractors of women's MMA in the past. Critics[who?] asserted that the reason for the turnaround was Carano's marketability.[36][37] However, the fight did not take place. Initially, Strikeforce announced Carano failed her pre-fight medical examination and the fight was pulled from the card.[38] Later, it became public that Carano was medically cleared by the Athletic Commission but was removed from the card for other reasons.[citation needed]

In April 2014, during an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show Carano said she was considering a return to MMA.[39] In September 2014, Dana White of the UFC said contract negotiations with Carano had stalled.[40] During her appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience 690 podcast, Ronda Rousey said a fight between Gina Carano and her had been planned for December 2014, but never materialized.[41]

Carano has not fought since August 2009 and is not scheduled for any upcoming events.[42] She is still under contract with the UFC through her old Strikeforce contract and has four fights remaining on that contract.[43]

Television and film career


Carano starred in the 2005 film Ring Girls.[44] Based on true events, it is about five American women from Las Vegas who attempt to fight the best Muay Thai fighters in the world.[45] Along with Lisa King, Carano served as a mentor to aspiring fighters in the 2007 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.[citation needed]

She appeared in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 as Natasha,[46] portraying the Soviet sniper/commando in various cut scenes. She is featured in the Michael Jai White film Blood and Bone (2009).[47]


In September 2009, Carano landed the leading role in the spy thriller Haywire (2011), directed by Steven Soderbergh.[48][49][50]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."[51] Newsweek said Carano's martial-arts experience gives her "an unparalleled physicality" in the role.[52] She described her knockout fight with co-star Michael Fassbender:

We were brutal to each other. He was slamming me into the wall. He slammed my head so hard, I lost it for a second—I went white. And at one point, our knees clashed, [and] he got a limp.[53]

In February 2012, Carano was cast in In the Blood (2014), an action thriller directed by John Stockwell.[54]

In 2012, Carano was cast as the lead in an all-female ensemble action film, tentatively titled The ExpendaBelles, that would have been part of The Expendables film franchise. Producer Adi Shankar said, "I don't know how I'm supposed to make a movie that is supposed to be the female version of The Expendables without Gina Carano in it. It would be like making Twix without caramel or Jamba Juice without Jamba."[55] The project has yet to materialize.

Carano appeared in Fast & Furious 6 (2013) as a member of Special Agent Luke Hobbs' (Dwayne Johnson) Diplomatic Security Service team.[56] Several critics praised Carano's performance; Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "Gina Carano is BIG fun to watch. [She] is still a bit stilted with her line readings, but her two fight scenes with Michelle Rodriguez are just epic."[57] while Matt Goldberg of wrote that the scene would "create a lot of new Gina Carano fans."[58]

In July 2013, she and comic book creator Rob Liefeld announced they were working on a big-screen adaptation of Liefied's Avengelyne in which Carano would star as the titular character.[59] Carano appeared in the 2013–2014 Fox series Almost Human episode "Unbound", where she played the part of an XRN combat android named Danica. She co-starred in the 2015 film Extraction, and she played Angel Dust in the 2016 film Deadpool.[60]

In 2018, she was cast in The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm's first live-action Star Wars television series.[61] She portrayed the character Cara Dune with a first appearance in the fourth episode of the first season titled "Chapter 4: Sanctuary".[62] Carano initially believed she would be playing the role of a female Wookiee, and was surprised to "find that [she] was one of the few people that you were actually going to see her face."[63] She played the role in seasons 1 and 2.[64]


Lucasfilm announced in February 2021 that Carano would not appear in future Star Wars projects following a series of controversial posts she made to social media, stating "... her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable."[65][66][64] The same day she was dropped by the United Talent Agency.[64][67]

A week later, Carano announced she would be developing, producing, and starring in a new film project with conservative media company The Daily Wire.[68][69][70] The film, White Knuckle, was to be about revenge by a survivor of an attempted murder by a serial killer. The film was scheduled to begin production in October 2021 in Tennessee, Utah, and Montana. In the U.S., it was to be released exclusively to subscribers of The Daily Wire, and was to be released internationally by Voltage Pictures.[71]

In May 2021, Carano appeared as a guest on an episode of the show Running Wild with Bear Grylls.[72][73]

In November 2021, Carano was tapped to play a secret service agent in My Son Hunter, a biopic on Hunter Biden directed by Robert Davi.[74]

Political views

In late 2020, Carano clashed with activists on Twitter, who criticized her lack of public support for the Black Lives Matter movement,[75] leading to accusations of racism.[75][76][77] Weeks later, after facing calls from some fans to put her gender pronouns in her Twitter profile,[75][78] she added the words "beep/bop/boop", which led to accusations of transphobia.[79][80][69] She later apologized[79] and removed them, saying that The Mandalorian actor Pedro Pascal had helped her understand the use of preferred pronouns.[69][65][81]

In February 2021, Carano shared an Instagram post that compared "hating someone for their political views" to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust[81][68][82] and included an image taken during the Lviv pogroms.[79][83][note 1] Many critics interpreted the post as comparing American conservatives to Jews in Nazi Germany.[65] Shortly afterward, Lucasfilm stated that Carano was no longer employed by the company, saying that "her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable".[84][67][85] Her posting of a series of tweets in which she mocked the use of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States was also cited by Lucasfilm[65][81][82] as well as her repeated belief of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.[65][81][68]

In February 2022, Carano explained her post, saying that she "shared a meme, I translated into: Don't let the government pit you against each other or history tells us that could go wrong."[86][87] Some fans and commentators contrasted Carano's firing with fellow The Mandalorian cast member Pedro Pascal suffering no consequence for making comparisons between the treatment of Jews in concentration camps and the treatment of undocumented migrant children at ICE detention facilities in the US.[88][89][87][90] Carano was defended by The Mandalorian co-star Bill Burr, who described her as "an absolute sweetheart" and criticized her firing.[91]

By fall 2021, the White Knuckle project had been cancelled at Carano's behest, due to her unwillingness to comply with Hollywood's COVID-19 mask and vaccine requirements. She stated, "After we announced our first project this summer, the Hollywood unions started debating vaccine mandates for cast and crew, and I wasn't into that. I don't believe anybody gets to make your medical choices for you, and I'm not willing to force masks and vaccines on anyone else." Daily Wire co-founder and co-CEO Jeremy Boreing recalled Carano's demand to "find a different movie", and her statement, "To hell with it, I'll quit my union. Let's make a movie up in Montana where they can't get after us." The group began production on the replacement film, a Western entitled Terror on the Prairie, that was released exclusively to Daily Wire subscribers in June 2022.[92]


Carano was profiled in a feature story for the ESPN series E:60. She was voted "Hottest Woman In America" by Big Biz Magazine in the Spring 2008 issue.[93] On May 13, 2008, "Gina Carano" was the fastest-rising search on Google and third-most-searched person on Yahoo!,[8][94] and ranked no. 5 on Yahoo!'s "Top Ten Influential Women of 2008" list.[95]

In May 2009, Carano was ranked no. 16 on Maxim's Hot 100 list. She is one of the cover athletes along with Serena Williams[96] for the October 19, 2009, edition of ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue.

She was a nominee for the 2013 Critics Choice Awards for best actress in an action movie for Haywire.[97]


Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
8 matches 7 wins 1 loss
By knockout 3 1
By submission 1 0
By decision 3 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 7–1 Cris Cyborg TKO (punches) Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg August 15, 2009 1 4:59 San Jose, California, United States For the inaugural Strikeforce 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 Catchweight bout (141 lbs).
Win 4–0 Julie Kedzie Decision (unanimous) EliteXC: Destiny February 10, 2007 3 3:00 Southaven, Mississippi, United States Catchweight bout (141 lbs).
Win 3–0 Elaina Maxwell Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Triple Threat December 8, 2006 3 2:00 San Jose, California, United States Featherweight debut.
Win 2–0 Rosi Sexton KO (punch) World Pro Fighting Championships 1 September 15, 2006 2 4:55 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Catchweight bout (138 lbs).
Win 1–0 Leiticia Pestova KO (punches and elbows) World Extreme Fighting June 10, 2006 1 0:38 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Bantamweight debut.



Year Title Role Notes
2009 Blood and Bone Veretta Vendetta Direct-to-video.
2011 Haywire Mallory Kane
2013 Fast & Furious 6 Riley Hicks
2014 In the Blood Ava Direct-to-video.
2015 Heist Officer Kris Bauhaus Direct-to-video.
2015 Extraction Victoria Direct-to-video.
2016 Deadpool Angel Dust
2016 Kickboxer: Vengeance Marcia Direct-to-video.
2018 Scorched Earth Atticus Gage Direct-to-video.
2019 Madness in the Method Carrie
2019 Daughter of the Wolf Clair Hamilton
2022 Terror on the Prairie Hattie McAllister Also produced
2022 My Son Hunter Agent Hound


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Fight Girls Herself 7 episodes
2008 American Gladiators Crush 16 episodes
2014 Almost Human Danica Episode: "Unbound"
2019–2020 The Mandalorian Carasynthia "Cara" Dune 7 episodes
2021 Running Wild with Bear Grylls Herself Episode: "Gina Carano"

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2008 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Natasha Volkova
2013 Fast & Furious: Showdown Riley Hicks Voice role

See also


  1. ^ The Instagram post read: "Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors ... even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don't realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?"[66]


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