Gina Carano Talks Steroids and Women’s Mixed Martial Arts

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Gina Carano was once the “face of women’s MMA” when she faced Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos for the first-ever Strikeforce Women’s Championship contested at the 145 weight class on August 15, 2009. The Unified Women’s MMA Rankings listed her as the third-ranked 145-pound female mixed martial artist in the world.

Carano was told that “Cyborg” was using anabolic steroids but Carano didn’t want to consider that possibility as she entered the biggest contest of her MMA career. The fight was broadcast live on Showtime directly from San Jose (California). It was the first time two women headlined a major MMA event.

Carano was defeated in a lopsided match in which Santos won with a first-round technical knockout. Carano never returned to MMA after the loss. (But she may have found greater success in Hollywood as the female lead in Steven Soderbergh’s spy thriller movie “Hawwire”.)

As it turns out, the suspicions about steroid use by Santos may have been well-founded. Cyborg Santos tested positive for Winstrol metabolites last month according to the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). Santos blamed the positive steroid test on a dietary supplement that she used to lose weight. The name of the alleged supplement has not been revealed by Santos.

While other female MMA fighters have had harsh words for Santos after she was caught using steroids, Carano was much more forgiving in her public comments about Cyborg. She shared her feelings about the matter with Thomas Myers of MMA Mania.

“I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t hurt by the whole thing,” said Carano. “That fight with her was definitely the biggest moment of my mixed martial arts (MMA) career and at that time I had people around me telling me she was on steroids and everything. But, if there was a chance that she wasn’t, I never wanted to take anything away from her.”

While “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey was calling Santos a cheater, celebrating the positive steroid results and hoping that they make an example of the Brazilian MMA fighter, Carano continued to speak admiringly of Santos talents and skills.

“She is a wonderful athlete, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little. In fact, I could have gone the rest of my life without hearing that. But, at the same time, she’s a human being and a phenomenal athlete, so maybe someone around her was telling her she needed to do that when she really didn’t. Maybe it was someone around her telling her the wrong things, I don’t know. ”

 Gina Carano, steroids and Chris "Cyborg" Santos


Roth, M. (January 12, 2012). Gina Carano Discusses Cyborg Santos Steroid Test Results. Retrieved from http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2012/1/12/2702691/gina-carano-discusses-cyborg-santos-steroid-test-results