Gina Carano’s Playboy pictures have become news again. Not because Gina Carano has posed for Playboy again, but because Gina Carano will soon be in the fight of her life. The Mixed Martial Arts champion takes on Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos Saturday evening in the first Strikeforce title match-up. Santos herself called the bout a “beauty and the beast” match. But despite her Playboy pictures (that, by the way, do not exist) and her girl-next-door good looks, Gina Carano will not be someone Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos does not take seriously inside the ring.
Although Playboy pictures have never been posed for, according to Fightticker.com, Gina Carano’s sexy promotional pictures and Maxim listing have caused some to ridicule and scoff, Gina Carano’s record speaks for itself. She was undefeated in her professional bouts (7-0) while under contract with ProElite, whose assets Stikeforce bought out after the organization folded. Gina Carano was scheduled to fight Cristiane Santos in February but the dissolution of EliteXC and ProElite also scrapped the scheduled bout. After Strikeforce acquired the assets of ProElite and contracts were renegotiated with the fighters, Strikeforce announced a title match-up between Carano and Santos for August.
Scott Coker, Strikeforce’s founder, has used Gina Carano’s beauty to his advantage promoting the fight. “She’s the girl next door who can really fight,” he told the San Jose Mercury. “That’s the appeal. She has a charisma and aura. She’s the Danica Patrick of MMA.”
Often called the “face of women’s MMA,” Gina Carano is a popular draw and Coker knows it. Besides her Playboy pictures, Carano is an internet sensation. And she’s been no stranger to the camera with her clothes on, either. She starred as “Crush” in the revived edition of “American Gladiators” and she mentors on the Oxygen Network’s original reality series, “Fight Girls.” Last year, she was voted #5 on Yahoo’s “Top Ten Influential Women of 2008.”
Influential, mentor, undefeated fighter, she couldn’t escape her looks and was also voted the “Hottest Woman In America” in Big Biz Magazine in Spring 2008.
In May, Gina Carano was named to Maxim’s Hot 100 list. She is ranked #16 on the Maxim list, which includes such beauty standouts as Jessica Alba, Charlize Theron, Olivia Wilde and Megan Fox.
And although Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos may not be in demand for the pages of Playboy or be on Maxim’s Hot 100 list, she ranks as a formidable opponent for Saturday’s fight. She’s only lost one fight.
Billed as Strikeforce: Carano vs. Santos, the fight will air on Showtime. The fighters will split a $200,000 purse. The fight marks the first time women have been used as the main draw for a fight.
But Gina Carano is used to firsts. After posting a record of 12-11-1 in Muay Thai fighting, she was asked to participate in the first ever sanctioned Mixed Martial Arts event in Nevada.
As for seeing Gina Carano in Playboy… she continues to say it isn’t going to happpen…