Five years ago, MMATorch columnist Jason Amadi asserted that women’s MMA wasn’t at the level worthy of being featured in UFC yet. Later that week, MMATorch columnist Frank Hyden countered with an argument that it was time to bring women’s fighting to the biggest MMA organization. This column was published originally Aug. 24, 2011.
I’ve seen a lot of talk lately about whether or not there should be a women’s division in the UFC. It’s hard to judge public sentiment, but it feels like 50/50 at best. There are those who feel women should be given a chance to compete. Then there are those who feel as though there’s not enough good female fighters to fill a division. MMATorch’s own Jason Amadi has posited that women’s MMA isn’t on the same level as men’s MMA – that it’s too sloppy and just not good enough for the UFC’s standards.
I totally disagree with that, and I base that on years of watching substandard UFC fights. There’s no question that there have been a ton of great fights over the years in the UFC, but there’s also been a lot of garbage over the years as well. To say that there isn’t room on the card or room in the organization for 7-8 female fighters is just wrong.
I’m not suggesting that the UFC employ bad women fighters. I just don’t think it would be very hard for them to find female fighters who are actually good. Of all the female fighters in the world, I don’t think it would be too hard to find some good enough to be featured.
The truth is, women are simply not as physically and athletically gifted as men are on a whole. However, that alone will not win you fights. Nor does that equal men’s MMA automatically being better than women’s MMA. What’s also important to keep in mind is that the women are fighting other women, they’re not fighting men.
Anyone who wants to make the argument that you have to be a premier athlete to succeed in the UFC has clearly never seen the Coaches Challenge episodes on The Ultimate Fighter. Some of the coaches have done fairly decent, but most of them look like fish out of water. These guys are great at what they do, not because they’re great athletes, but because they train hard. It’s the same way with women’s MMA; they train just as hard as the men do. Being athletically gifted will certainly help you, but it’s by no means a prerequisite.
Some want to make the argument that women’s MMA is too sloppy. I disagree with that, but even if it is, that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. Hyden’s Law states that the smaller the fighter, the more exciting the fight. Female fighters are on the smaller side of things, therefore their fights are generally pretty exciting. Fans were just subjected to a three-round borefest between Cole Konrad and Paul Buentello at Bellator 48, and you can’t tell me that fight was anything remotely resembling exciting. I understand Konrad just wanted to get the win since he’s the Bellator heavyweight champion, and sometimes you have to win ugly; however, you can’t criticize the women for being sloppy but then let the men have a pass for the same thing.
I know the argument is that the UFC has higher standards, but this has happened plenty of times in the UFC as well. You can take any UFC event that’s ever happened and I guarantee you that you can find at least a few fights that were sloppy.
The UFC wants to be known as the face of MMA. There’s no doubt they’ve succeeded in that for the most part. However, if they want to be the true face of MMA, one of the things they have to do is install at least one female division.
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(Frank Hyden has written columns for MMATorch since 2009.)