Johnny Beyrooty sent along the following:
NEW YORK (June 9, 2009)-After an eight-month hiatus, mixed martial arts’ (MMA) leading lady, the undefeated and extremely popular Gina “Conviction” Carano (7-0) will compete in the first fight of her multi-fight agreement with STRIKEFORCE and is set to square off with rival powerhouse Cris “Cyborg” (7-1) in what is one of the most eagerly anticipated battles of all time, Saturday, August 15, live on SHOWTIME at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Carano and Cyborg, the consensus two best female fighters in the world, will be the first women in MMA history to headline a major MMA fight card. In addition, they will fight for the first STRIKEFORCE 145-pound Female Championship.
“I’m really excited to be coming back and to have a new home with STRIKEFORCE,” said the 27-year-old Carano, whose combination of stunning looks and athleticism have cemented her role as the face of women’s MMA. In a Yahoo! online poll that named the “Top 10 Influential Women of 2008,” Carano ranked fifth, placing ahead of First Lady Michelle Obama and famed journalists Katie Couric and Barbara Walters.
“I’ve wanted this fight with Cyborg for a long time and so have the fans so it was important to me that it happen in my first fight back. I’ve been training hard the last few months and come Aug. 15, I will be in the best shape of my life. This fight will absolutely deliver on all the hype.”
The live SHOWTIME telecast of STRIKEFORCE: “Carano vs. Cyborg” will begin at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the west coast) and will include up to five bouts.
Tickets for STRIKEFORCE: “Carano vs. Cyborg,” priced from $30, go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. PT at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and the official STRIKEFORCE website (www.strikeforce.com).
Carano has soared to superstardom over the last two years while dominating opponents live on CBS and SHOWTIME. She raised her profile further during a stint as “Crush” on NBC’s athletic competition series American Gladiators. Carano is represented by Wasserman Media Group.
The matchup with Cyborg will be the second start of Carano’s career under the STRIKEFORCE banner. On Dec. 8, 2006, she turned the tides on a determined Elaina Maxwell, a protg of Cung Le, and pulled out a unanimous judges’ decision at STRIKEFORCE: “Triple Threat.”
The media has emphatically shown its appreciation for Carano’s individuality. She has been prominently featured in a number of national magazines including Muscle And Fitness and Maxim. Big Biz Magazine voted her “The Hottest Woman In America” in its Spring 2008 issue and Maxim ranked her No. 16 in its Hot 100 list published in May 2009. Carano has also been profiled in the popular ESPN documentary series E:60.
The 23-year-old Cyborg, who hails from Brazil, has established herself as Carano’s top rival by leveraging her superior strength and striking skills to pummel opponents. In her last start, also her STRIKEFORCE debut, Cyborg manhandled Hitomi Akano on April 11, stalking and battering the Japanese fighter before finishing Akano at the 35 second mark of the third round.
Cyborg is a member of Brazil’s famed Chute Boxe fight squad and trains alongside her husband and fellow Strikeforce competitor, Evangelista “Cyborg.”
After co-promoting two events live on SHOWTIME in 2007 and 2008, STRIKEFORCE in March 2009 signed a multi-year agreement to stage live MMA events on the premium cable television network.
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of Strikeforce, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.
About Showtime Networks Inc.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME, THE MOVIE CHANNEL and FLIX, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2, SHOWTIME SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME, SHOWTIME BEYOND, SHOWTIME NEXT, SHOWTIME WOMEN, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE and THE MOVIE CHANNEL XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV.