Gina Carano making a comeback?

November, 2, 2010
11/02/10
9:31
AM ET
Rossen By Jake Rossen
ESPN.com
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Gina CaranoTerry Goodlad/Sherdog.comThere's no doubt the camera loves Gina Carano, but what about the cage?

On a weekday edition of the Savage Dog Show, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker indicated that Gina Carano will make a return to the ring in 2011. This is after Carano (A) was horrifically abused by Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos in an August 2009 title fight and (B) nabbed a starring role in the Steven Soderbergh film "Haywire," scheduled for release in January.

If Carano returns, two things become apparent. For one, the urge to compete in MMA is revealed to be a far cry from the poverty-as-entrapment motivations of many boxers. For another, both Carano and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson might be working prototypes for a new kind of athlete/performer -- one who actually competes in between film shoots. (This might have applied to Michael Jordan at one time, but "Space Jam" numbed that possibility -- along with many, many brains.)

That path seems easier for Carano than for Jackson, for a simple reason: Jackson is constantly being thrown to the wolves in the UFC, whereas Carano is going to have the opportunity for novelty fights in Strikeforce. Coker recognizes a boost to his bottom line when he sees one, and there's little point in forcing Cung Le, Herschel Walker or Carano to walk the plank when everyone seems perfectly happy to see them perform on other levels.

I haven't seen so much as a preview for "Haywire," so Carano's future on screen doesn't warrant comment. But apparently she's good enough for J.J. Abrams, who cast her in his alien/suspense flick "Super 8," scheduled for release next summer. If she needs a method exercise for acting scared, it's probably best to think of Santos.

Jake Rossen is a contributor to ESPN.com. His byline has appeared in the New York Times, Wired.com, and numerous other outlets. He began covering mixed martial arts in 1998.

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