Years ago, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White adamantly stated he would never (he even emphasized “never”) have women fighting in the Octagon. He has since wisely admitted he was wrong. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is becoming the fastest growing sport in the world. Its popularity is huge, and adding women to the mix (so to speak) will only increase its hugeness. There is a simple reason for this: Women fighters are more exciting.
Now before you get all hippity scotchety and start pointing the finger at me and accusing me of sexualizing two women fighting, let me clear the air. Women’s fighting is NOT sexually appealing. There are many things that two women can do that are sexually awesome (kissing, dancing, baking cookies, shellacking a deck). Pummeling each other is not one of them. The reason women’s UFC fighting is so exciting is because of variety.
There are fewer knockouts in female mixed martial arts. Now, no one is arguing that a one-punch knockout is super cool. Who doesn’t like seeing that? The one punch knockout is so awesome that it is pretty much the basis for nearly every scene in Road House. But the fact that female fighters can’t completely rely on knockout power means they have to utilize other skills such as grappling, Brazilian jujitsu, defense and “ground and pound.” This leads to a much more varied and diverse fight, which ultimately leads to a more interesting fight. Again, knockouts are cool, but there is nothing worse in the men’s division than seeing two huge heavyweights stand in the middle of the octagon and stare at each other, waiting for the right time to throw that big haymaker.
And if a women’s UFC fight does stay on its feet, man, it is a SLUG FEST. Female fighters just do not stop punching. They punch with purpose. And although I am not smart enough to be a sports psychologist here is my $1.43 opinion as to why:
They take it personally. Women fight like someone slapped their kid, insulted their mother and told them that they shouldn’t be allowed to vote. They fight like something important is on the line. They fight like they are in a fight, not a sporting competition. I’m not saying that professional women MMA fighters aren’t technical or strategic or well trained – they are. And I am certainly not saying that female fighters just go into the Octagon and catfight – they don’t. (And if I did say that I am 100% sure that I would get my ass kicked for saying so.) What I am saying is that it feels like women fighting in the UFC fight with an urgency that sometimes can be lacking in the men’s division. Want proof?
Look no further than Ronda Rousey.
Rousey is the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and arguably the most popular MMA fighter at this moment. Rousey is straight up badass. You believe that she wants to do damage to her opponent. Not just win, but destroy. When Rousey wins she is absolutely jubilant. If she loses – and who the hell knows when that will be cause she ain’t lost yet – you just know that she will take it very, very hard.
See, Ronda wears her heart on her sleeve and before you spout off with, “Screw that. I like my fighters acting like stone cold killers,” I have two words for you: Rocky Balboa. He wore his heart on his sleeve – for god’s sake the guy cried at the end of both Rocky and Rocky II, and everyone loves Rocky (except the Communists, of course). Ronda does the same thing. She takes every moment personally. It means everything to her when she steps into that cage. Ronda is Rocky – except much better looking and with an absolutely indefensible arm bar.
Women fighting in the UFC is not just a victory for equality, but a victory for anyone (like me) who likes to sit on the couch, order up a boatload of pizza and be entertained by a sport they could never participate in. And if you still think male fighters are tougher than female fighters, then just watch some behind the scenes footage. Part of the pre-fight preparation for most female fighters is that they have their hair put in cornrows. It is a long and painful process but necessary to keep their hair out of their eyes.
No male fighter has got the stones to go through that.