With our beloved Strikeforce champion Ronda Rousey now the official first ever UFC women’s champion and set to make her debut for Dana White’s dominant promotion on Feb. 26, more and more females are trying their hands at Mixed Martial Arts. Of course, this doesn’t come without its fair share of criticism and vitriol from fighting purists, as some people might view women fighters as boring compared to the men. And it doesn’t help that White admitted that there wouldn’t even be a women’s division in the UFC if it weren’t for Rousey being such a badass.
"No other (female) fighters have what Rousey has," he said. "She's nasty. She's mean. She'd actually fight a dude if that's what it took to get in the UFC. She'd do it. ... I've seen a lot of tough girls, but I haven't seen a girl with the whole package until I met her."
Thanks to that nastiness and meanness, progress is being made and new female fighters are trying their hands and feet at ass-kicking in smaller promotions across the country. Among them is perhaps the greatest example that fighters like Rousey and Gina Carano before her have made a huge impact in reaching across typical boundaries of stereotypes and social expectations.
Rachel Wray – not the TV personality, but it would be so much cooler if she was – is a former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader who made her MMA debut for Blue Corner in Kansas City in September. Wait, why on Earth would an NFL cheerleader want to give that up to potentially get her ass kicked?
I started working out at Title Boxing Club with some of the girls for an alternative workout. I really enjoyed it and started taking private lessons after a little while. One day,. I came in and they wanted me to spar. I was nervous about someone actually punching me in the face, but I did it.
I was absolutely horrible. This drove me to want it even more. I knew I had to make a choice between fighting and cheerleading. I chose fighting. (Via KCMMA)
So how did Wray do in her debut? She won. How did she do in her second match? She won. Now, some may argue that she won her second match because her opponent didn’t show up, but I like to think that Wray had just become that intimidating. She’ll fight again, hopefully, in January, once again at the Harrah’s in KC, so if you’re in the area, go check her out and tell her With Leather has her back.
*insert a joke about having her front, too, here*
(H/T to our sparring partners at Cage Potato.)
Again, there are going to be MMA fans who aren't buying this gender progress in fighting, like super cool YouTube commenter, Dittani, who chimed in on Rachel Wray's first fight:
I am a *HUGE* proponent of women's MMA and I really dislike trash-talking fighters, but GTFO with this shit.
Neither of those girls has ANY business inside a cage.
Terrible. Absolutely awful. Whoever told them that they could fight ought to be ashamed of themselves.
"Yeah bros, I'm totes for the babe fighters, but these broads? Fighting in their first fights? Fuck that, bros. If these chicks don't know how to fight right from the start, then they need to just stick to holding up those cards with the numbers."
No offense meant to Brittney Palmer, naturally.