We’re lucky as MMA fans. We’re in a privileged position where women don’t really take much of a back seat. We, as well as pro wrestling, are ahead of the curve with the way that the female talent is booked and when compared to all other sports, the difference is staggering. I think I speak for every MMA fan when I say I’m so proud we’re at the stage where women are able to main event cards and draw huge numbers. When a high profile female contest is on, you don’t even notice they’re women. Their fighters, athletes, warriors who are just as exciting and talented as the men. As I’m sure many men will attest too, without my girlfriend I would be a complete mess unable to accomplish basic tasks necessary to live, they’re incredible, and they make up some of my favourite active fighters today. It’s true we’re years ahead and women have a fairly similar platform, but we still have a ways to go. International women’s day is a lot like black history month to me, how in the hell can you expect to condense the entirety of women’s history and suffrage into one day? It’s insulting. But regardless, it’s an opportunity to shed some light on female accomplishments that wrongly aren’t as acknowledged the rest of the year. I’m super excited for this article, so here it is, the top 3 things we want to see happen in the women’s division.
- A Champ champ… champ?
I know I know, I can hear your collective sighs from here. The proliferation of huge super fights is one of everyone’s main contentions in the UFC. Interim belts, dragging champions out of their usual division and preventing number one contenders is a gripe of mine, and yours, any everyone that cares about our sport. However, as much as we hate to admit it, some of these fights are absolutely mouth watering and we want to see them, as much as they could damage the individual weight classes. Look at Holloway and Dustin. Is this the best thing for the featherweights or lightweights? Absolutely not. But do you want to see it? Can you not wait for it? Are you up every night envisioning the contest underneath your life size Holloway poster? Just me? Okay then. They draw huge, and the women deserve the same treatment, which is why we were ecstatic when Nunes defeated Cyborg to unify two divisions. What a super fight on paper, Cyborg being touted as the best, most feared fighter of all time and steam rolling through the UFC when she eventually came. Nunes had a mountain to climb, we were all pulling for her and the weight jump must have been a struggle. But knocking out Cris in the first round was the icing on the cake. It was a huge draw, a huge and brilliant moment for Amanda and women’s MMA. So this is what I’m proposing. For the first time in MMA history, Conor’s wet dream, a triple champ. It looks like the featherweight division is on the way out, so before that belt disappears why not set up Shevchenko vs Nunes 3. A great, storied rivalry and the promotion would write itself. A controversial decision in their last fight will now lead to an unbelievable unification bout. Lets make history again UFC. If Nunes wins she will become the first triple weight champion ever, if Shevchenko wins she has an argument of being one of the greatest of all time, plus this sets up the fourth match further down the line. It’s a win-win-win.
2. More Women Main Events on Numbered Cards
This one goes without saying. Women need to be near the top of the card and although we are seeing main events such as 219 with Cyborg vs Holm and Nunes vs Rousey, we still need more. A female title match needs to start having the appeal to headline a card full of talent. Yes we see a lot of co mains and yes we see a lot of fights towards the top of the card on fight nights, but we need them to be headlining events and having that mainstream media appeal. Before she became the worst professional wrestler of all time Rousey was one of the biggest draws in the UFC, and I’m sure she’ll come back one day to way over 1million buys, but we need more women in that position. Fighters like Shevchenko and Nunes have huge appeal and with the right booking and marketing they could be draws as good as Ronda if not better. They’re better fighters, they’re more respectful and in the long run I believe they’re more marketable. Don’t get me wrong, we are seeing more women in the main events, but we need to see it and they need to be getting paid more. Look at the pay offs at 235 for example. Zhang on the main card got paid criminally less then the men on the prelims. This isn’t fair and it’s so backwards.
3. Lose Featherweight
I’ve alluded to this above. It’s just silly. Let’s get rid of it. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some great fighters and great fights in this division, but no one can argue it wasn’t hastily thrown together in an effort to plicate Cyborg. The UFC is great at having a few divisions and stacking them to the ceiling, filling them with the best talent the world has to offer. What they’re not too good at is having every weight class available with enough depth to compete. ONE championship is where you’ll find all that. To it makes sense to cut it, keep the divisions you have now and build on them. A lot of the girls have voiced their concerns about the difficulty in the weight climb to featherweight and how hard it is dropping it back after. With the lack of depth and the difficulty getting to the weight in the first place it just makes sense, you have the champion, Nunes, who is pretty much unwilling to go back up and there aren’t many great fights for her there anyway. Overall, if we focus on the other classes we’re gonna get a much better talent pool which will get us more big money fights going forward. It’s better for the girls, and it’s better for the fans.