UFC Crowns First Female Champion and Signs First Openly Gay Fighter, All in One Punch

Exciting news for female mixed martial artists and the little girl playground scrappers who aspire to be them — the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced its first ever female division and has promised to give it the same level of attention (meaning heavily promoted pay-per-view fights) as the male divisions. UFC has previously been adamantly against the idea of women's MMA, but has changed its tune after acquiring female fighter "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey in the buyout and shutdown of a rival promotion.

Rousey already has quite the following. Not only was she on the cover of ESPN magazine's Body Issue, but she also competed in Judo at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Additionally, she already comes with several titles in MMA — titles which UFC honored yesterday by transferring over, making her the company's first ever women's champion.

Rousey's first official fight with UFC will air on pay-per-view in February when she goes against Liz Carmouche in the 135-pound women's weightclass. Carmouche comes with her own buzz of excitement. Signed to UFC yesterday, she has become the company's first openly gay fighter. Carmouche's involvement represents a major step forward for UFC, especially considering their past history of homophobia. (UFC president Dana White once threw a tantrum because a male fighter stepped into the ring wearing a pair of lavender shorts.) While it's doubtful that openly gay male fighters will be given the same welcome anytime soon, Carmouche involvement is still a sign of progress.

Maybe one day soon, everyone — gay, straight or bi, male, female or trans — will be given equal opportunity to beat the crap out of one another.

This Girl Is Not Afraid of You and Will Beat You Up [The Atlantic Wire]