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If you’re a fan of The Mandalorian, you probably became a fan of Gina Carano as well. The actress went from an award-winning Mixed Martial Artist to a Hollywood superstar. However, the transition was not easy, and the entertainment industry was not kind to her. She also experienced cancel culture after a set of Tweets that offended some people. They even fired her from Disney! Could this be the end of her career?
Gina's powerhouse might make her seem unbreakable, but she has faced various challenges during her seasons in Hollywood. In fact, she called the industry a few names, and when threatened with being "canceled" online, she did not take it. She hit back, saying, "They can’t cancel us if we don’t let them." This did not stop certain partnerships from letting her go.
Unfortunately, Carano was let go from Disney+ after posting a set of tweets that made some people angry. She has since deleted them, but the damage had been done. LucasFilm announced shortly afterward that they were no longer working with her on any projects. Of course, her history as a fighter has more than prepared her for the trials along the path to success!
Carano was born in Dallas, Texas, on April 16, 1982. If you’re a fan of professional football, you might be familiar with her last name because her father was none other than Dallas Cowboys’ Glenn Carano. Athleticism was in her blood, and she participated in many sports in school like volleyball, softball, etc. However, her competitive fighting path didn’t start until much later, and she had no idea that Hollywood would be more painful than MMA.
You might know her best right now from a show on Disney+, but she actually earned fame for becoming one of the most important women in Mixed Martial Arts. Eventually, she entered MMA’s Strikeforce and Elite Xtreme Combat before transitioning into Hollywood. But if you think that acting was easier than fighting, you’d be wrong!
Her life was not easy, even if her father was a pro-athlete. Her parents eventually separated, and along with her siblings, she moved to Las Vegas with her mother. Every family has its issues, and living in that city was not always safe. But they made it work. Sports was the only way for Gina to drain energy and clear her mind. She would end up feeling lost and unsettled after leaving her career to become an actress.
Just like many people growing up, she wanted to discover what to become in the future. Obviously, she had so much talent for different sports, but Gina hadn’t discovered her passion yet. At some point, she decided to go to college and study Psychology. However, the athlete soon discovered that it was not the path for her.
Years before famously dating Henry Cavill, Carano met Kevin Ross. He introduced her to martial arts, and particularly Muay Thai. He would eventually become her on-and-off-again boyfriend for many years. But she fell in love with the discipline first.
Interestingly, Carano had not considered a career in competitive fighting or martial arts at all. Her original motivation, at first, was to lose some weight. However, her talent started shining almost immediately. She and Ross would often spar together. Gina truly developed the skills to take things further.
The actress has even stated that Muay Thai was her “first love.” She dedicated her entire life to the discipline and eventually started learning other forms of Mixed Martial Arts. But no one could have predicted how important she would become in the business, especially for female fighters.
After four months of serious training in Muay Thai, Gina signed up for her first competition. It even took place at the same gym. It was not easy, but Carano paid her dues, moving up in the discipline. Eventually, her record for Muay Thai was 12 wins to one loss, which is impressive for a rookie athlete.
Carano developed the nickname “Conviction” in the MMA world and was constantly praised for being the “first-ever female” to fight in several aspects of that discipline. Her first fight took place on June 10, 2006, and it was against Leiticia Pestova. Surprisingly, Gina won in less than 40 seconds. Furthermore, the actress also won the first female fight in Strikeforce in a match against Elaina Maxwell.
At the same time, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White, stated that he wouldn’t hire female fighters. This came as a shock considering how much the female side of that world was growing. However, Gina helped change all that and paved the way for other women in the industry.
Unfortunately, a big issue in her professional career was weight. Some of her competitions were catchweight, meaning that it falls outside normal weight class. This was all due to Gina’s struggles to keep pounds off. In the end, Elite XC added a 140-pound weight class to accommodate her.
Gina had a match against Julie Kedzie in 2007 on the MMA Fight of the Night. She inspired another important woman among female fighters, Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey. The famous athlete said that she saw Carano vs. Kedzie and was motivated to return to MMA.
Eventually, Carano became known as the “Face of Women’s MMA,” a title she was conflicted about at first. But after transitioning from Muay Thai into MMA and winning almost every national fight, it was clear who was the best fighter in the league. But her entire career changed in 2009.
After being regularly referred to as “The Face of Women’s MMA,” Carano confessed that she didn’t feel comfortable with the title. However, she grew to accept it after several years, as she explained to Ariel Helwani. In the end, the fighter was proud of earning it.
While female fighters can easily put anyone on the ground, they are not necessarily masculine. In fact, Carano admitted to being girly, especially growing up. "I didn't really watch action films growing up! I grew up on stuff like Anne of Green Gables — that was more when I was in elementary school. It was all I ever watched," she said.
One of her biggest fights came in 2009 against Cris Cyborg. Carano was coming off an amazing winning streak with seven in a row. However, Cyborg ended up victorious after five minutes. It was the most devastating loss of her career so far. Additionally, it was her last fight with Strikeforce.
Afterward, the actress revealed that she hadn’t been ready for that fight. However, it was such a great opportunity that she couldn’t refuse. Her fans were also looking forward to seeing her on that important ring. In retrospect, this match might have been the turning point in her career.
While Carano learned to accept her title as the “Face of Women’s MMA,” there’s another status that she doesn’t like. People started calling her sensual and attractive. But that attention has not always been positive. “I'm not that way. I want people to see me for who I am and not for how someone else is trying to promote me,” Gina once said.
The fight against Cyborg was life-changing. She was devastated and began to question what she was going to do with her life now. It was the kind of defeat that makes you question everything. Luckily, her whole changed shortly afterward, and Gina switched industries.
Becoming a Hollywood star is not easy. Carano had appeared as a mentor on a reality show, but acting seemed impossible. She didn’t think it would happen to her. However, the star would be open to the idea if the right person found her. Of course, that’s what happened!
Several days after her loss against Cyborg, she got a message from Steven Soderbergh. The director wanted to meet Carano, but she was hesitant about it. In the end, they met up for lunch to go over his idea. The filmmaker apparently didn’t have a solid plan yet but wanted to make an action movie with Carano.
After so many years as a professional fighter, Carano didn’t know if she could turn away and find a new career. However, she had already reached the highest titles in the field. This was a new challenge and gave her a chance to retire from her previous field at the top of her game.
That’s how Carano signed to play Mallory Kane on the film Haywire. Kane was a black-ops gifted soldier, and the film was released in 2011. Now, Gina had experience as an actress and thought her skills would come in handy for other action films. She wanted more!
And that’s how she landed on the famous Fast & Furious franchise. She appeared as Riley in the sixth installment of these car-racing movies in 2013. It was an excellent challenge, as it kept her active, and training for stunts was fun. However, her old world was calling with an amazing offer.
When Carano was getting more attention in the entertainment industry, UFC wanted her back on the ring. They wanted her to fight on the new Ace of Spades competition. Apparently, Dana White offered her $1 million for a match against Ronda Rousey.
It was a tempting offer, and Rousey was eager to meet her idol on the ring. However, Carano had a few conditions for the fight. She had been out of the gym for a while and asked Dana White for some time to make a team or join one. The actress was excited about the fight as well but needed to get in shape again.
Professional fighting had been an important part of Carano’s life. She was happy to get back on the ring with this new opportunity. However, she needed to match her opponent, who had kept training all these years that Gina had been acting. At first, UFC agreed to her request.
The league had given her six months to get a team and train together. However, White told the press that Carano had signed on after their initial lunch meeting. Furthermore, Gina explained that they started being unprofessional and didn’t want to communicate honestly with her.
Despite the big paycheck, Carano decided to withdraw from the offer because everything had been so tainted with mistreatment and lies. She felt like UFC was holding money over her head and couldn’t take their abuse of authority anymore. So, the big fight never happened.
It would have been amazing to receive all that money and be the first woman in the UFC. However, Ronda Rousey did it. For a while, Carano was hurt by it, but her life is so much better now. The actress might not have joined that legacy in sports, but she did influence it.
Despite feeling defeated after pulling out of the Rousey fight, Carano was alright. “I can tell you now that I’ve had so many ‘end of the world’ moments that you get past the end of the world, and things somehow end up working out and end up being okay,” she told Ariel Helwani. So, she encouraged everyone to keep going on the interview.
Despite not being the first woman in UFC, she still wanted to become a fighter. She opened doors for female competitors, and that’s something no one will ever forget. “I was able to open up doors for women, to walk into gyms and be easier,” she continued.
Trying to become a female fighter 20 years ago must have seemed impossible. It’s still hard for many women today. But Gina is grateful for her role in this world and what she did to help advance women’s presence in this discipline. It’s a legacy on its own that no one will ever forget.
“There are women out there who have bigger dreams now, and it’s easier to live and really go out and do something. Whereas I missed out on something, but they can,” Carano added. While her fighting past is done, her acting future was shining bright, especially after getting the role of Cara Dune.
Besides being cast on the Disney+ plus, she also appeared in Deadpool, Scorched Earth, Extraction, and Madness in the Method. Furthermore, Carano might not have been in the ring, but her career in Hollywood was not easy. It was almost like training to fight as well.
The actress revealed that it was always hard, and having to act almost destroys who you are at the time. It’s just a tiny bit different from fighting. Meanwhile, The Mandalorian creator, Jon Favreau, actually helped her feel like she was in the right place all along because earlier experiences had brought her down.
Unfortunately, Gina’s experience filming Haywire was not the most pleasant. There were tons of creative differences, and she was also going through so much in her personal life. They had to reshoot many scenes too. Meanwhile, the final cut of the film had dubbed her voice completely.
The actress told Ariel Helwani that they literally “robbed” her voice. “And you’re gonna take an already kind of uncomfortable, awkward, shy person who’s just trying to do their best in life… and not let them finish a project that they gave blood, sweat, and tears to, and it was hard,” Carano added. But Favreau helped her.
The director approached her to be part of the series and was extremely compassionate. “He came up to me, and he said, ‘I don’t like what’s happened with you and to you in this business. And with The Mandalorian, we’re gonna make it right on this,'” the actress said in that interview.
While the creator didn’t know what happened behind the scenes during Haywire, he sympathized with Carano. He also believed that she would be great for the part of Cara Dune in the series. So, he welcomed her into the fold. However, it was not for long, and she faced many issues in her film partnerships and on the social interwebs.
Fortunately, despite all of her setbacks, her fans were angry, and they wanted her back. They demanded Lucasfilm hire her back, and she even gained more followers on social media after this situation. Apparently, the actress will appear in a new movie financed by Ben Shapiro.
Fans were surprised to see that Gina Carano was back on television just a few months after being let go from The Mandalorian. She appeared in National Geographic’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls. The shocking part is that this show is run by The Walt Disney Company, which also owns Lucasfilm.
Luckily, her fans were pleased to see her on the show. Furthermore, she was included on the list of Emmy considerations as Best Supporting Actress. Despite cutting ties, the studio is the one that submits its options. So, people are speculating that Carano might return to the show after all.
Hopefully, Carano has learned from her errors and won’t use social media that way again. Let us know what you think of what she had to say about Hollywood. If you liked this article, share it with your friends that are huge fans. See you next time!