Naturally, we’ve been very happy about the rise of Ronda Rousey and what it means to the future of women in UFC and just Mixed Martial Arts competition in general. But as much fun as it has been to talk about the successful, charismatic and, well, attractive Rousey, I’ve regrettably ignored what is an equally important – or maybe even arguably more important – story in Rousey’s opponent, Liz Carmouche, becoming the first openly gay fighter in UFC history.
The move is a nice one for UFC President Dana White, who famously dropped an F-Bomb (f*ggot, not f*ck) in an interview several years ago, as he can now boast of the UFC’s universal inclusiveness with both women and homosexuals all in one fell swoop. PR stunts aside, though, it’s just good for everyone, as long as it’s not the only thing that defines Carmouche. I’m sure she’d like to be known as a UFC champion, in addition to being a champion for equality.
In the meantime, her presence is a win-win for everyone involved, as the UFC takes a step forward in fighting the stigma of White’s mistake, while Carmouche goes into her championship match at UFC 157 on Feb. 26 against Rousey with not only female MMA fans supporting her, but also gay MMA fans, and that’s something that means a lot to her.
One of the main reasons that I brought this up, aside from the whole great news aspect, was that before Carmouche was signed to fight Rousey in the UFC’s first ever women’s championship match, if you Googled “UFC gay”, the two most common results were Dana White using the F-word and Ultimate Fighter contestant Dakota Cochrane’s gay porn past, which White has previously acknowledged being “cool with”.
It has been three years since White made his slip of the tongue in a video blog, and he’s been dragged over the coals for it to this day, which is why he still apologizes for it any time that it’s mentioned, albeit with his unique style of not giving a sh*t about the people who attack him for it. In fact, as recently as October, he’d expressed his willingness to have a gay fighter in the UFC:
“I’ll tell you right now, if there’s a gay fighter in the UFC, I wish he would come out,” he said. “I could care less if there’s a gay fighter in the UFC. There probably is, and there’s probably more than one. It’s 2012. Give me a break.”
Maybe it’s a coincidence that Carmouche is in the UFC now as the best possible competition for Rousey, or maybe it’s simply a scratch-my-back scenario that helps White look a little better as he tells activist groups to “F*ck off”. Either way, if you Google “UFC gay” now, the main story is Carmouche, and that’s good, because it’s time.