Gina Joy Carano (born April 16, 1982) is an American mixed martial arts fighter. Her specialty is Muay Thai. Carano also appears as the Gladiator “Crush” on American Gladiators.
Carano was born in Dallas County, Texas, the youngest daughter of Glenn Thomas Carano and Dana Joy Cason. She has an older sister named Casey.
Her father, Glenn Carano, played for the Dallas Cowboys as a backup quarterback from 1977-1983 and for the USFL Pittsburgh Maulers as a starter in 1984.
She graduated from Trinity High School in Las Vegas, NV where she led the girl’s basketball team to a state title. She also attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she was a psychology student.
Martial arts career
After achieving a Muay Thai record of 12-1-1, Carano received an offer to participate in the first-ever female sanctioned MMA bout in Nevada. She was invited to the World Pro Fighting show in Las Vegas to fight Rosi Sexton from the United Kingdom.
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”.
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 organizations 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.
Along with Lisa King, Carano served as a mentor to aspiring female fighters in the Oxygen reality series Fight Girls. She currently appears as “Crush” on the NBC show American Gladiators. She will also be featured in the new Michael Jai White film Blood and Bone slated to be released sometime in 2008.
Carano defeated former Hook N Shoot champion Kaitlin Young on EliteXC: Primetime on May 31, 2008. A day before the fight, Carano failed to make weight for her fight (140) after weighing in at 144.5 lbs. Although most MMA organizations set weight classes at 135 (Bantamweight (MMA)) and 145 (Featherweight (MMA)) pounds, 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. Her next fight is scheduled for October 4, 2008 at EliteXC: Primetime 3 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. Her opponent for that fight will be Kelly Kobald.
She also was profiled in a feature story for the ESPN series E:60. Carano was the third most searched person on Yahoo! and the first on Google for May 13, 2008.
Carano was voted “Hottest Woman In America” by Big Biz Magazine in the spring of 2008 issue.
Carano is set to appear in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 as Natasha.