Women's MMA: It's Here To Stay

Ken FossAnalyst IOctober 14, 2009

If you read this article questioning the staying power of womens mma, to be featured in the November issue of Fighters Only Magazine, and you've read the title then you probably know what the rest of this article is going to say.

For the rest of you, August 15 was more than just a landmark social accomplishment. A title was on the line, and while many have dismissed it as a “crackerjack prize” it's the declaration in the long term goals of Scott Coker's ambitious company.

We won't remember Carano vs. Santos as a spectacle of blood and bra straps because it wasn't a one off fight with no backing behind it. It made it through those tempestuous moments, overcame xenophobia and paid its dues.

What we watched on August 15 was the beginning not the end.

With an upcoming title eliminator, and two contenders tournaments (as well as another main event) in the works, Strikeforce is showing nothing but faith and we have no reason to think otherwise.

While the list of contenders now is on the thin side. I could have said the same thing about the WEC's featherweight division when it started, or its Bantamweight division until just recently, and eventually their Flyweight division.

I could question the “BJ Penn division” when it was scrapped for a while. Now 155lbs is by far the deepest division in the sport worldwide. With names like Shinya Aoki, Eddie Alvarez, etc outside the UFC making a splash.

When new divisions, form they take about a year before the hierarchy of fighters is established and they know what to look for. This is true in any organization.

The 145, and 135lbs women's divisions will be no different, and if they're successful so to will be the 125lb and 105lb divisions if and when they'll see the light of day in North American.

Contenders will come, they always do.

While we look at women athletics as fledgling properties who routinely get dwarfed, by there male counterparts and eventually fold due largely to lack of interest; heading the way the WNBA is, and WUSA did.

That hasn't been the case for Women's MMA.

So far smaller organizations have used women as an easy and cheap way to put good fights and fighters on cards. In these bouts they've been hits, and often draw the loudest cheers, and most praise. It's to the point its a running cliché.

This isn't a team sport where women can't co-exist with men, thus having to form a league themselves, and hope to draw their own audiences. They CAN coexist in the sport. They CAN fill card space. And they HAVE earned the opportunity to do so.

Now that Strikeforce has provided a spot for them to do just that. Bellator has announced a women's tournament for next season signing top 10 p4p talent Rosi Sexton to participate, organizations like DEEP and JEWELS, are there waiting to give women opportunities in the far east as well.

The infrastructure is there already, and it has been for a while.

What's held the sport back is leadership and political will. If the sport does fail it wont be because of novelty wearing; it'll be politics and social strife that dooms it.

ESPN's Rachel Nichols interviewed Dana White on the topic and he flat out rejected the notion of women fighting in the UFC in her piece “Crush” for E:60. Siting the fact Carano was too pretty, and he didn't want women to get hurt.

He later softened when he offered Carano a chance to fight one off sideshow fights in one of ZUFFA's organizations. But likely only to drive up the price for Coker to land his girl.

It's this sort of misogyny that is bubbling up from the cracks of mma's sub-culture. Mohawk'd fighters sporting tribal tattoos, and fans posing for photos with fists up like after the shot their going to throw down.

These are women who have to endure countless number of people like Dana White. People who told them go be a cheerleader, when they asked their fathers if they could train karate, or muay thai.

After all, you might get hurt.

If they didn't love the sport do you think they'd endure what they have to make it this far...I think not.

If nothing else these women deserve your respect.

In the face of pop culture telling them what they should be doing. They've told everybody to go F### themselves, and have done exactly what they want.

I don't know about you, but I think I can get behind that.