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Origins

Kit Cope often gets credit for getting Gina Carano into fighting, something he doesn’t deny but also something that turns out not to be true. It was another boyfriend of hers by the name of Kevin Ross, and here’s the story in her own words:

Carano supported her boyfriend’s decision, attending training sessions with him until eventually deciding to join herself.

“I went and saw (Kevin) train and the Muay Thai master called me fat. He told me, ‘Hey, baby, you need to train; you’re too fat; you need to train.’ I was overweight at the time, and so I signed up and ever since then my life has changed and taken off,” Carano said.

The couple would turn out to be competitive sparring partners.

“When we were dating we used to beat the crap out of each other,” Carano said.

“It would be pretty funny to watch because I’d get emotional and try and knock his head off and he would have to gently put me in my place.”

“He really did start off my career and gave me meaning to my life” Carano said. “It’s weird that it happened, I don’t know if it wasn’t for him. He’s the kind of person who in one day completely just changed his life and that affected mine.”

Meanwhile, Cris Cyborg was introduced to the MMA scene after some guys from Chute Boxe saw her playing handball on the beach:

So how did you start fighting in the first place?
Everybody asks this question. My husband makes jokes about it. I always loved to compete and I used to be a handball player in Brazil. One day a coach from Chute Boxe saw me play and I guess he saw something different in me, some competitiveness, and he gave me his card and invited me to the gym. I went and I began to train in muay thai and six months later I had my first muay thai fight. Then I started training some jiu-jitsu and a month later I had my first MMA fight. So I was only training for seven months at the time of my first MMA fight. I just liked competing and enjoyed the adrenaline of the fight.

That timeline would mean Cyborg has been training since late 2004. I originally thought Gina had been around the sport for a while longer but from what I can tell, she’s only been training since 2004 as well. Well, ‘only’ isn’t a really good word to use for 5 years, but I had thought she had been around longer. Other fun fact: Gina is 27 years old, but Cyborg is only 24. Yep, I’ve got Cyborg vs Carano on the brain today.

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