It’s been a long time coming, and women’s Mixed Martial Arts is finally in the big show. The UFC is doing a fantastic job of marketing female MMA and building stars like Ronda Rousey, who appeal to both men and women alike. I suppose now is the time for the question, will it stick?
Women have competed in all sorts of professional sports for decades in America. Basketball has the WNBA. There are female boxing divisions. The LPGA has become the longest standing women’s sports league. Just about every sport has a women’s division, but none of these divisions are treated with the same respect or legitimacy as their male counterpart. There are many theories and reasons behind this, including a propensity toward male competition due to gender roles, or a simple lack of appreciation for the technical side of sports.
Men in this day and age are much more open to the idea of women competing on the same stage. Will women’s MMA power through the ground floor to be viewed as a legitimate enterprise? Or will it fail in the same places other women’s sports have? I believe the twenty-first century audience is ready for this. I think culture has shifted to such a degree, that women can be treated equally by every audience, and can create their own selling power without the tacky use of sex appeal. It goes without saying, that the talent in women’s MMA cannot be denied. We have olympic judo and wrestling practitioners for crying out loud. The only thing lacking in the women’s division is depth, and depth tends to increase with pay. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get these women paid!