It wasn’t that long ago Dana White, president of the UFC said that women never would find their way to the octagon (unless they dressed down and picked up a sign). As all of us who follows UFC/ Fight Sport knows, this was pre-Ronda Roussey. This women almost single-handed changed White’s mind about female fighters – and he was able to see a superstar in Roussey.
A woman who could both deliver exciting fights and thus keep UFC’s reputation as the ‘most bad as* fight organisation on the planet’ and also appeal to the masses, and of course make money!
Soon (in September) The Ultimate Fighter show will launch again – and this time the house will be full of female fighters! Ronda Roussey and Miesha Tate will be the coaches, and the reality show that got MMA mainstream and in so many ways, was responsible for the huge popularity UFC got (with a special thanks to Stephan Bonner and Forrest Griffin’s epic finale fight), is now being used to promote female fighters to a wider audience.
The big question is (after my humble opinion) how the audience will react to this. I have no doubt the women fighting on the show, will be just as good as their male predecessors. I also believe that the ‘battle’ between Roussey and Tate will be just as entertaining as when Tito Ortiz and Frank Shamrock (S02) clashed, and of course 16 women in the same house, are bound to cause a commotion. If you have any doubts of this, just remember how much the guys were bitching.
However all this doesn’t erase the big question: How will ‘the public’ take to two female fighting each other. Beating each other up – and making each other bleed.
When I first posted about this season of TUF on my Fight Club page (on Facebook), the first response was: Women shouldn’t fight. When asked into the reason behind this mindset, the guy answered: ‘I don’t like to see women beat each other up and bleed and stuff’.
As a former female fighter and professional fight sport reporter my hope is, that this seasons TUF will help the female fighters gain respect and recognition from fight sport fans as the Fight Club fan.
I hope the show will focus on their hard work, their drive, their hope and dreams – and not just on the drama and stupid jokes and situations that the last many TUF seasons have been about.
To get women’s MMA to a higher level, I can see TUF becoming a big step of the way. Unfortunately I can also see the show tear down what female fighters – and the WMMA organisation Invicta have spent years building up. Only time will tell – but for now, I’m just stoked that female fighters are getting their own show – and a platform to show fighting doesn’t have any gender limits.
And I apologize for the delay of my 100 days blogging challenge. Our Internet died, so am now blogging from the nearby cafe.