Publish date:

Carano withdraws from June bout


Gina Carano has withdrawn from a middleweight bout against Sarah D'Alelio on June 18 in Dallas, Strikeforce general manager Scott Coker announced Tuesday.

Coker said during a conference call that Carano (7-1) hadn't received medical clearance from her own physician to participate at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum. Coker had no additional information regarding Carano's status and didn't offer a timetable for her return.

Susan Stanford, the public information officer for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, confirmed to that Carano's contestant application, which included a physician's examination, an ophthalmologic exam and requisite blood test results, had been processed and approved.

"Gina Carano had met all of the state of Texas' requirements and the agency received notice today that she was off the card," said Stanford.

Strikeforce's official website listed the bout as "postponed," but didn't have a new date for the fight.

The bout, which would have been contested at a 145-pound weight limit, was one of five main-card fights scheduled to air on Showtime. The event will also host the second quarterfinal bracket of Strikeforce's heavyweight grand prix, which kicked off in February.

Coker said a preliminary bout between lightweight prospects K.J. Noons and Jorge Masvidal will fill the void on the main card. Coker was unsure if D'Alelio (4-1) would receive a new opponent and remain on the June 18 roster.

SI Recommends

Though she hasn't fought in nearly two years, Carano is arguably the most popular female fighter in the sport. The 29-year-old Las Vegas native and Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos made history in August 2009 when they were part of the first women's bout to headline a major televised event in the United States.

Santos (10-1) dominated Carano with strikes for the majority of the first round, prompting the referee to halt the bout at four minutes and 59 seconds. Santos, 25, claimed the promotion's first middleweight (145-pound) championship.

Carano hasn't fought since. However, a stint on NBC's American Gladiators and some small independent film roles led her to a starring gig in the Steven Soderbergh-directed spy thriller Haywire, which will be released in August.

Coker attributed Carano's extended absence from competition to the movie, which shot throughout Europe and the United States in 2010, and also stars Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas. Carano also completed months of weapons training to fill the lead role of Mallory Kane, a "black ops super soldier" betrayed by her colleagues.

In recent months, Carano had taken up training at the well-regarded Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA academy in Albuquerque, N.M., a change from her usual routine in Las Vegas that included residency at former UFC champion Randy Couture's gym, Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts.

Jackson told that he had no additional information on his newest pupil, other than that she is well-liked by his team.

"I'm seriously disappointed not to be fighting on June 18," Carano said in a statement read by Coker. "I'd like to thank Greg Jackson and Team Jackson for such an amazing camp. I hope this is only a brief setback."

Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum will be anchored by two heavyweight tournament bouts -- a rematch between champion Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum and an elimination bout between former UFC champion Josh Barnett and Brett Rogers. The event will be televised at 10 p.m. ET/PT.