Tonight, Female MMA Fighters Smack Down Opponents, Sexism

Illustration for article titled Tonight, Female MMA Fighters Smack Down Opponents, Sexism

If you're staying in and skipping Eat, Pray Love tonight, check out Strikeforce on Showtime, where 135-pound MMA phenom Miesha Tate will be part of a one-night tournament. She's not just fighting her opponent — she's battling sexism.


Tate tells USA Today:

I would like [women's MMA] to [get] more attention. Obviously I think we deserve more, because we work hard — or harder than the men do, because we have to go through an approval process, and there's constantly people questioning can we, should we, could we, would we. There's always that kind of secondary guessing of whether females can even do it — we have to go through this whole proving process.


Tate's not alone — there are hundreds of female MMA fighters making the rounds in various tournaments, but they often don't get the same respect the men get. (In this article, the point is made that announcers sometimes describe the female fighters as "the lovely" Gina Carano or "the beautiful" Gina Carano… something they would never do for men.)

Four women are fighting tonight; Tate (above, on the left) is up against Maiju Kujala from Finland (on the right), and as welterweight champion Sarah Kaufman puts it:

"So many people say they've never seen a boring female fight… So many of us are scrappy and we just love this opportunity to compete. I don't want to speak for anyone else, but I see an incredible opportunity here and I want to take full advantage of it."

Strikeforce's Miesha Tate: 135-Pound Division Has 'Hundreds Of Girls'[USA Today]
MMA Gaining Acceptance As 'Women's Work' [Yahoo Sports]
Strikeforce Challengers []

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Sad to say, I think the prevalent notion among some male spectators is this: Why would you want to watch a fight between "lesser" fighters?

I think that if you put a woman in the ring against a man, and she wipes the floor with the man, only then you'll get those fanboys to give her a modicum of respect. At the moment, it just seems that some male sports fans view women's sports as "just not THE BEST" out there, due to the being segregated by biological sex - ie. Separate is NOT Equal.

I have to admit, I struggle with this too. I only watch the English Premier League, and couldn't care less about all the Leagues below that: The First Division, Second Division, Third Divison, etc. Because I feel that the Best of the Best would be in the Premier League. This is not saying that the players in the lower divisions don't try just as hard, but if hard work by itself was good enough, all the teams would be in the Premier League.

Same reason why I don't watch the Japanese League, or the Korean League....I simply think that Asian Football is not as high of a standard as the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, Serie A.....

Do they have mixed sex MMA fights in American? Like still allowing for weight differences?