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Gina Carano reveals why the fight with Ronda Rousey did not happen

LockerRoom Team
27 March 2024

In a recent episode of the PBD podcast, Gina Carano, the renowned mixed martial artist turned actor, disclosed a compelling chapter of her career that shed light on her almost-arrival in the UFC prior to the era of Ronda Rousey. Carano, who became a household name in women’s MMA during her time in Strikeforce, shared her interactions with UFC president Dana White, revealing a missed opportunity that could have reshaped the sport's landscape earlier than expected.

Contrary to popular belief, Carano disclosed that she was approached by Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta before her pivotal fight against Cris Cyborg in 2009. In a surprising revelation, Carano stated, “Me and Dana [White] had a conversation right before I fought Cyborg...they were like ‘we’d like you to come over and be our company’s first female fighter.’” Despite the tempting offer, Carano remained loyal to her obligations with Strikeforce, where she was contracted at the time.

Following her loss to Cyborg, Carano shifted gears towards acting, landing notable roles including the lead in Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire." However, the door to MMA remained slightly ajar. Conversations with the UFC reignited after Rousey's emergence as a dominant force in the promotion.

In 2014, Carano expressed her interest in a comeback, igniting talks of a potential showdown with Rousey. However, negotiations hit a snag. White later described Carano as "the hardest human being we've ever dealt with," indicating the challenges in reaching an agreement. Carano attributed the failed negotiations to White's inability to keep quiet about the potential matchup, hindering her preparations.

Reflecting on the potential fight, Carano acknowledged the difficulties of juggling fighting and acting careers simultaneously. Despite the setbacks, she maintained confidence in her abilities, asserting, “I do, absolutely [believe I would have won]." Carano also expressed her admiration for Rousey, acknowledging her as a groundbreaking figure in women's MMA.

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While the much-anticipated clash with Rousey never materialized, Carano remains grateful for the impact Rousey had on the sport. She commended Rousey for her respect towards her and acknowledged her as a special figure in MMA history.

Despite the missed opportunity in the UFC, Carano’s journey continues to evolve, with her successes in Hollywood cementing her legacy in both sports and entertainment.

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