Do Women have a place in MMA?

Don’t worry ladies; we haven’t gone back to the fifties despite my rather dated and antagonistic title. A more fitting title would have been ‘how big will women’s mma get’? My answer to this would be ‘Massive’!

We’ve seen the sport of Mma sky rocket to new uncharted areas of growth so it’s easy to forget just how new the sport actually is; really it’s still in its infancy. Within the last five years women’s Mma has sky rocketed and thus, so has the quality and amount of women competing in the sport.

On a side note: Something that puzzles me is ‘how come women’s Mma is steadily growing and gathering pace whereas women’s boxing has been at a virtual standstill’?, and that’s being kind. I wonder if it’s because people don’t like to see woman solely punishing each other with punches and even though Mma is seen as brutal by some, there are more varied ways to win other than by a KO. Some will say it’s simply all a fad and women’s Mma (along with Mma in general) will shine bright and then will burn out shortly after, but if you look closely at who’s saying this you’ll find it’s mostly crusty old men who are all about “the sweet science “… Boxing, and so stuck in their crusty old ways they can only ever imagine women putting on gloves to clean. These boxing dinosaurs are nothing to be scared of, I suggest tolerating them like a bad smell – unpleasant to be around but it won’t kill you. They will fade out long before women’s Mma… That’s enough pensioner bashing, for now.

Mma is an extreme sport both mentally and physically. It’s hard to compete seriously at any level. Because of this there are only a certain percentage of people who will ever dedicate their lives to compete at it professionally. Add to that the amount of time it takes to get half decent at it, not to mention the small amount you’ll be getting in compensation for the vast amount of time, effort and sacrifices you’ll have to make, and then not forgetting the likelihood that you’ll be working a day job for a long time – to fund your quest for Mma greatness- and you’ll forgive people for thinking you need your head seriously testing (which you’ll have to pay for as 95% of mma org’s won’t, as a cat scans are pretty expensive) to enter this sport.

All the points above rule out a lot of men from the sport yet alone women that also have to overcome a stigma that they shouldn’t be fighting as It’s pretty fair to say Mma isn’t the most feminine sport out there. It’s not like you see that many (if any) young girls pitting Barbie against Cindy in a fight of physical supremacy! So then, when it comes to women’s Mma the numbers are already depleted for all of the reasons above and it’s safe to say that we’re now in single digits. What we are left with is a slightly unhinged, tough, athletic female who likes to fight. You’ll see the number one issue facing Women’s Mma is… numbers. There are not yet enough women involved in Mma right now, right down to the amount of women competing and facing each other to training partners and having a deep enough talent pool to sustain the public’s interest…

If more women watch mma and take an interest in it, it will then filter down to more women actually training in Mma. As long as things keep going in this vain then the knock on effect is that eventually we’ll end up with more women competing. The numbers of women in the sport will vastly improve, like they have been doing, and hence the skill level will rise. In the last 5 years the thing that surprises me the most is the speed in which this has happened.

A common factor I’ve noticed in women’s Mma is the intensity of it… Generally it’s flat out right from the off. I would say (speaking very generally here) that women Mma fighters seem to fight with more passion and are willing to leave it all in the cage/ring. I think the reason for this might be because women are evil and they’ve learnt to harness this evilness- I’m joking (a bit).

No, really I think it might be what I alluded to earlier in this post. By the time you’ve filtered everyone out through the training, low initial pay, stigma etc. then what you’re left with are the real female savages that want to fight for no other reason than to test themselves….It’s either that or something to do with PMT.

When asked why women’s Mma isn’t in the UFC, Dana White simply states that the ‘depth of quality isn’t there yet’… which is a valid reason. But this reason won’t be valid for too much longer.

If someone had said to me five years ago that a women’s match up would garner enough interest to headline a UFC, I would have bet that you either had ovaries, or you were going out with a female fighter and you didn’t want her to beat you up! But this has been and gone, with the likes of Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg which was a co main event at Strikeforce. That was a while back but these days the match up of Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg could easily headline a UFC.

It doesn’t get much clearer… Women’s Mma is going from strength to strength. Let’s not forget we got two high profile women fights in one night when Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman and Miesha Tate vs. Julie Kedzie fought on this past Saturdays Strikeforce show

I do believe Dana White has made the right decision showcasing these fights on Strikeforce first because as good as these fights were you’ll notice that Cris Cyborg’s name has been linked twice in the biggest ever women’s fights (Gina Carano whom she already fought and the eagerly anticipated fight with Ronda Rousey which hasn’t happened yet). This goes back to the problem that keeps occurring that I mentioned earlier, there just isn’t enough depth of quality or variety with female Mma fighters yet.

What women’s Mma doesn’t need is to get forced out front and centre with a few fights from these female fighters that are capable of captivating massive audiences on a main event card, which in turn gets people excited and really into women’s Mma, but then doesn’t have a talent pool deep enough to draw from… meaning we end up watching Cyborg vs. Ronda Rousey twenty times! That would be a great shame, would hurt women’s Mma greatly and would make it harder to get back to the UFC. That doesn’t need to happen and that’s why -at the moment- the way Dana Whites dealing with this issue is correct, in my opinion.

There is the argument that says the quicker women get into the UFC the better, as the added exposure to a bigger audience will get more women out there involved in the sport hence the quality of women fighters in mma would get better. While I think all these views are correct I do think you have to be careful because, even though it’s unfair, you have to remember practically all of the audience that views Mma and the UFC are male and if you don’t constantly deliver top quality Mma female fighters it won’t be long until you hear grunts and sexist moaning, about a woman’s place being in the kitchen etc., from shame faced males who wish they had the balls to do what these very women they’re criticizing are doing.

I think the way it is at the moment hits a perfect balance with Strikeforce getting female Mma out there to the masses, without diluting it needlessly. If the progress continues, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t, I’d go as far to say that we’ll see women’s Mma in the UFC in within the next five years.

I haven’t mentioned the people who think women’s Mma shouldn’t be allowed or isn’t somehow right since it’s not feminine. If you’re a male and have this view I’d say the real issue that keeps your sadly deficient in testosterone body up at night if you dig a little deeper, is the fact you don’t like the thought that there are hoards of trained up females able to kick your ass at the drop of a hat and even though I can see why this is a terrifying thought for you, I’d simply say ” man up son, grow a pair and get to the gym”

If you’re female and have these views I’m not quite sure what to say other than not every female wants to be in beauty pageants or a glamour model… Oh yeah I forgot, you don’t want women doing that either as it’s seen as degrading. In fact seems like whatever you do as a woman you’re upsetting someone- whether it’s going to work, staying at home, showing your tits or punching someone else in them…someone is going to have an issue with it… So the advice from The Colossus is… do what you want, because you’re the one that has to do it and be happy doing it.

In short, I don’t see Mma as divided up in to sections or groups… If I see a beautiful armbar, a perfectly timed double leg or a spirit sapping body shot… it’s just that! It doesn’t matter who’s throwing it, all that matters is that it’s executed well. If Llamas could fight Mma I’d be there front and centre row getting involved, not just because I like Llama’s (who doesn’t) but because I love Mma whoever or whatever’s doing it. Anything else is just people projecting their issues onto the sport… And no one wants or needs that.

Right, now I’ve done burning my bra (don’t worry I have lots left) for the cause of women’s Mma. So to all you women out there, go train some Mma but don’t forget to wash up first. Oh come on, that’s only the second sexist joke in the whole blog!! I reckon I’ve done pretty well.

Here are a few female Mma fighters who have caught my attention. All of them are at different stages of their careers. Some are very well known others are up and comers, either way… all are deserving of respect for deciding to try and master the toughest sport out there.

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Ronda Rousey- an Olympic judo competitor that’s been making people take notice since she got into the cage. One of the few people who has applied their knowledge of Judo to their game plan and made it work in Mma and this is before we even get to her Ju Jit Su prowess. Once the fight hits the floor your thinking it’s only a matter of time until you see bones cracking, such is her ferocious technique. I’m sure she working hard on her stand up now to make her the complete fighter. Here is a female fighter that I’m excited to watch and no one will deny that a match with herself and Cris Cyborg is a worthy main event on any Mma card

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Cris Cyborg- another woman fighter I’m always exited to watch. She always comes in ready to fight flat out and leaves it all in the cage. Stopped the unbeaten Gina Carano and finishes most her Mma fights which is something you can’t argue with.

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Gina Carano- No longer fighting but brought a lot of attention to the Mma world when she was champion. Off making movies now so I don’t know if we’ll ever see her back in the cage.

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Felice ‘Lil bulldog’ Herrig – A former Thai boxer that made the move to Mma. It seems like she’s added the ground game to her arsenal. Always full of energy and exciting to watch.

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Lena Ovchynnikova – Lena competed at Thai before making the switch to Mma and picking up the ground game, which has fared well for her since 7 out of her 8 victories have come from armbars. I’ve watched Lena fight twice at SFL and both times she was on the losing end, but to say I was impressed not only by the level of Mma I was watching but by her never say die attitude. If I had to choose the heart of any fighter male of female I’d choose her. So many times I thought she was done and she came back time and time again.

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Jo Calderwood- When I heard Jo was fighting Lena Ovchynnikova at SFL 3 and it was only her second fight I thought it was unfair and throwing her in at the deep end, but what I actually witnessed was someone who’s is proficient in all areas of Mma. She fought a great fight and took a decision, proving me wrong and impressing everyone who saw the fight… Her press up needs work though!

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Rosi Sexton- Rosi’s been top of not only the UK but the international rankings for what seems like forever! She also has a doctorate in maths-science from Cambridge uni, showing she can do more than just smash pretty faces in. A great female fighter and ambassador for female Mma. Check out her well written blog at – http://rosisexton.wordpress.com/

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Sanja Sucevic- She was the K1 champion of Serbia in 2010 before moving over to Mma. She impressed here as well, as after winning both her SFL fights she has been selected to be a coach on the SFL reality show because of her strong showing.

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LJ ‘Xena’ Adams- LJ is relatively unknown and pretty new to the sport of Mma. I’ve been impressed with her wrestling and never say die attitude LJ trains at the same Olympians Mma gym that I train at, so I’ve witnessed her thirst for knowledge and hard work first hand. If she keeps at it, at this pace she’ll be making waves on the UK scene soon… mark my words.