Gina Carano, born February 20, 1985, is a retired American mixed martial artist and actress. She was the first U.S woman to earn a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, as well as the first American woman to be featured on the cover of UFC Magazine. She started training in karate and taekwondo at age 11, and began her MMA career in 2006. Today I’ll be talking about Gina Carano's life from childhood to present day and how she became an international icon of female empowerment.
Gina Carano: Childhood & Early Life
Born on February 20, 1985 in Dallas, Texas. Gina was the second of four children born to Glenn and Nancy Carano. Gina studied martial arts from a young age, training in karate and taekwondo by the time she was 11 years old. She enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno and majored in psychology. Her parents had divorced when she was 12, but both remarried soon after.
Her father is of Nicaraguan and Italian descent and her mother is of Mexican ancestry. Gina was often ill as a child and missed a lot of school because she was sick. This led to her becoming very close with her family, especially with her mother. She also became an avid animal lover because she had animals around the house when she was little due to neighborhood roaming pets.
Tae Kwon Do black belt
Gina Carano is a retired American mixed martial artist and actress. She was the first U.S woman to earn a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, as well as the first American woman to be featured on the cover of UFC Magazine.
To start off, Gina's mom enrolled her in Tae Kwon Do lessons when she was 11-years-old because she was "a little bit of a wild child." Gina would spar with boys, so her mom wanted her to learn how to defend herself. Thats where she got her competitive spirit from. By age 17, Gina had earned her black belt and became the first U.S women to do so! It wasn't until 2006 that Gina even discovered mixed martial arts, which led to an almost unbelievable 10-year MMA career (2006-2016).
Movies and TV Shows
Gina Carano has been in a lot of movies and TV shows. She was on the show Fast and Furious 6 as well as Deadpool 2. Gina Carano also starred in In the Blood with 50 Cent, Little Nicky with Adam Sandler, Haywire with Channing Tatum, and Mile 22 with Mark Wahlberg.
Gina Carano's breakout role was in the Steven Soderbergh film Haywire, which came out in 2011. Carano starred alongside Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor, with a script by Lem Dobbs and starring. The film is one of the most financially successful independent features of all time, earning $98 million worldwide on a production budget of only $23 million.
Carano received critical acclaim for her performance in the film from various sources, including being chosen by CNN as "best female action star".
Carano began her MMA career in 2006, fighting for EliteXC. She won her first two fights by TKO, the first of which was in the second round due to a cut suffered by her opponent. Gina then fought a draw against Shayna Baszler. In 2008, Carano faced off against Julie Kedzie at EliteXC: Uprising and won via unanimous decision.
In 2009, she faced off against Taylor Stratford at EliteXC: Street Certified and won via TKO (punches) in the third round.
She faced Elaina Maxwell at EliteXC: Unfinished Business and won via submission (armbar) after just sixteen seconds with a keylock on Maxwell's left arm.
She faced current UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey in 2010 at Strikeforce: Challengers 18 and lost via armbar submission in the first round.
In November 2013, Carano made her professional boxing debut against Mexican boxer Milana Dudieva under the name "Gina Carano" and won via technical knockout due to a right hook counterpunch combo to the temple after 54 seconds into the first round.
On November 21, 2010, Carano became the first female fighter to be a part of the UFC. She was scheduled to fight against Julie Kedzie in the main event at UFC Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Miller on August 14, 2010 but pulled out due to injury. Gina was supposed to return at UFC 129 on April 30, 2011 but had to withdraw due to another injury.
Retirement from MMA
Gina Carano retired from MMA on January 11, 2009 but her story is not over. Although she no longer fights in the Octagon, Gina is still a fixture in the fight world. She has starred in multiple films, including the "Haywire" and "Deadpool."
She also owns her own production company called Fight Tribe Productions with her partner Jonathan Krause. The company produces digital content for many different clients that include viral videos, short films and TV commercials. Gina says she wants to use her production company as an opportunity to encourage more women to become involved in the fight business.
End of Career
On December 16, 2013, Gina Carano announced her retirement from MMA after a 10-year run as an athlete. She cited the need to take some time off from competition and spend time with family as reasons for her departure.