With the rise of Ronda Rousey, a female version of TUF, and women now in the UFC, WMMA has never been hotter (no pun intended). Although it has been widely accepted by most MMA fans and most people in general, there is still a not so small minority that doesn’t seem to “get” what WMMA is about. It’s to those that I write this article.
Now I’m not going to suggest that those that don’t like WMMA are Neanderthals, or Sexist, or not “enlightened” enough to watch two women battle in an MMA match. We like what we like and what I take enjoyment from is not necessarily what the next guy enjoys. That’s fine. Spice of life and all that. No, what I’m going to suggest is that it may not be the fighter that is unsatisfying, but the preconceived notion of what a UFC fighter should be that is unsatisfying. Let me give you an example.
Last week on TUF 18 we saw Julianna Pena defeat Shayna Baszler using her superior striking to rattle Baszler and set up the eventual finish. Now if we scrutinize Pena’s “superior” striking we can say it was sloppy, amateur-ish, unpolished, etc. but that’s only because we compare it to how we expect a Man should strike. Women aren’t Men. Their bodies don’t move the same, their brains aren’t wired the same, and it’s not fair to expect them to preform to identical standards.
Wait! Before you jump down to the comments section to chew me a new one, I’m not saying that Men are better than Women, I’m saying there are numerous scientific studies that show there really are difference between the sexes. Here are some of the more Pop cultural ones.
In the same way a person can enjoy a steak and a pork chop and not expect the same experience from eating a piece of meat, I’m suggesting that if one goes into viewing a WMMA match, it shouldn’t be viewed through the exact same lens as conventional MMA. And the thing is we do this already. We know that a Demien Maia fight is not going to be the same as a Roy Nelson fight and neither are going to be the same as an Anthony Pettis fight. We know that the two Heavyweights on the undercard of the local MMA match is not going to deliver the same striking precision as a UFC Bantamweight fight, but it’s no less enjoyable.
I’m not saying WMMA is going to be for everybody, even if they do stop expecting it to look like Mens MMA. But by keeping an open mind, you at least give yourself the opportunity to enjoy WMMA for what it truly is and not something you’re preconditioned to expect it to be.