Over the past year, White has had a change of heart on the subject, largely due to the inaugural UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey.
By now it’s likely you’ve heard the tale of Rousey. A 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo transitions over to MMA and buzz-saws through the competition, snatching six first round arm bar victories in as many appearances.
Leveraging her looks, skill, and the gift of the gab, the UFC titlist has been unstoppable, forcing the UFC’s hand into implementing a female division, beginning this Saturday at UFC 158 as Rousey will defend her championship against Liz Carmouche.
This decision has received mixed reaction, with the fight community seemingly split on the controversial topic. Let’s take a look at both sides to the argument.
Whether you love it or hate it, it’s unmistakable there is a market for it: Two of the six top rated events in Strikeforce history were headlined by women’s bouts (Gina Carano vs. Cristiane Santos and Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman).
Carano, just as much as Rousey, is responsible for the rise of women’s MMA. The Hollywood movie star brought women’s MMA to the bright lights of Elite and XC and Strikeforce, which was a major step in the right direction.
It’s impossible to deny that the female talent pool has not reached the depth of males, but Rousey is the golden example of how quickly that can change. In two short years, Rousey went from an amateur to the top female fighter on the planet.
But if you hear these girls speak, they don’t act like they have made it. They’re thankful for the opportunity. It’s a throwback to when combatants fought for respect instead of inflated bank statements.
Just as Carano opened the door and inspired girls – including Rousey – to enter the sport, the UFC champion will boot that door open further and galvanize the next crop of talented young women.
Women sure have come a long way. They can vote, join the military and do just about anything else a man can do. However, when it comes to sports they will always play second fiddle to their male counterparts.
In tennis, Serena Williams is an exceptional athlete but she is not held in the same light as Serbian sensation Novak Djokovic. In the WNBA, the Indiana Fever is the cream of the crop, but pale in comparison to the Miami Heat.
It’s not sexist, or anything against the athletic prowess of the women who dedicate their lives to their chosen career but women have never had equality in sports and I don’t foresee that changing overnight.
Women’s MMA is the flavour of the month right now. The UFC has a stunning champion who seems unstoppable, but the longevity of women competing in the Octagon rests squarely on her shoulders.
There is a baseline of diehard supporters who will advocate these girls in their battles until the bitter end but the fact remains that the average sports fan who is flipping through channels doesn’t want to watch two women punching each other in the face.
Which side of the argument to you fall on? Attack the comments section below!
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