by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
The face of women’s MMA may not be back until summer 2010, according to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.

Gina Carano, 27, is currently shooting a starring role in the Stephen Soderbergh-helmed film “Knockout.” She reportedly plays a fighter who’s hired by the government to become a spy.

When asked for an update on when Carano would return to the Strikeforce cage, Coker said, “that’s a good question.”

“Her agent and I have been in dialogue,” he added. “We had talked about having her fight again, but not fighting on Dec. 19. She’s going to acting classes, I heard, and doing a lot of weapons training, doing what they do.”

The Strikeforce executive has followed this route before. The promotion’s other crossover star, Cung Le, relinquished his middleweight title in September when a blossoming movie career overtook his fighting responsibilities. Le will return to the cage on Dec. 19 after a 21-month absence.

Coker said he wanted to meet with Carano before making any decisions on how to manage the situation.

“I’d like to sit down with her face-to-face probably in the next 30 days or so, and sit down and see where her head’s at,” he said. “By all means, we would love to have her back, and we would love to have her fight again. I think in her heart she’s still a fighter.”

Amid much fanfare, Carano lost her Strikeforce debut in August, falling prey to Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos in a bout for the newly created 145-pound divisional women’s title. She went into virtual seclusion afterwards, offering but one comment on the loss.

“I know I am a better fighter than the way I performed that night and was heartbroken to not give more to those who have been inspired,” she wrote in a prepared statement. “However, I find some relief in knowing that this has never been only about me, and now more than ever I feel freedom to learn and grow at my own pace.”

Regulars at Xtreme Couture, where she logged most of her training hours, say she’s been MIA since the fight.

One of Carano’s chief trainers, Chris Ben-Tchavtchavadze, said Monday that she had been living in San Diego with family and hadn’t spoken of a return. He said the spotlight of her last fight overwhelmed her and she needed to get her mind in the right place for a return.

“She went out and fought Cyborg’s fight,” he said. “If she fought her fight, it would be a different story.”

For those expecting Carano to surface post-movie, Coker had a very conservative timetable.

“What her representatives are saying is something in the summertime,” he said.