Lack of Competitive Depth May Be the Downfall of Women's MMA

James MacDonaldFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2012

Courtesy of Apocalypse MMA
Courtesy of Apocalypse MMA

Women’s MMA has received a much-needed boost as a result of Ronda Rousey’s arrival on the scene. However, the lack of competitive depth that has long plagued the female side of the sport may still be its ultimate undoing.

Dana White is fond of pointing out that he is not opposed in principle to the notion of female MMA making its way to the UFC. Rather, he is simply not yet convinced that there is enough female talent out there to justify its inclusion on UFC cards. And, to be blunt, he isn’t wrong.

Unfortunately, female MMA may struggle to grow without the aid of Zuffa’s significant promotional muscle.

Shannon Knapp is doing a terrific job with Invicta FC, but I am still of the opinion that the UFC should purchase the fledgling organisation and use it to grow women’s MMA in much the same way that they developed the lighter weight classes with the WEC.

The good news is that there is a way to work around the sparse female talent pool.

Specifically, the number of weight classes needs to be reduced. Ideally, this would be done by merging the existing weight classes into what would ordinarily be termed a “catch-weight”. For example, the 135 and 145 pound divisions would become the women’s 140 pound division.

As I wrote in an earlier piece, a 140 pound division would combine most of the female talent into a single weight class, boasting the likes of Ronda Rousey, Sara McMann, “Cyborg” Santos, Miesha Tate, Julie Kedzie and Sarah Kaufman, etc.

It would also partially eliminate the excuse offered by “Cyborg” for her refusal to fight Rousey. A steroid-free Santos should be able to make 140 pounds without any trouble, given that the pesky muscle-promoting substance will no longer be a part of her diet.

The problem is that I see no real indication that any of the above will come to pass. These ideas are all merely hypothetical until someone decides to act on them.

Until someone does, female mixed martial arts will likely continue to dwell on the periphery of the MMA scene.