Tag Archives: Dana White

Feminists’ Favorite Sport Should Be Mixed Martial Arts

UFC Women's Bantamweight champ Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey, courtesy rondamm.com.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight champ Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey, courtesy rondamma.com.

Forget basketball, soccer, softball, and those Olympic sports we all pretend to like every four years.  Mixed martial arts (MMA) should be feminists’ favorite sport.  Derived from a blending of martial arts such as karate, wrestling, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu, MMA is unique in placing its female fighters and champions on equal footing with their male counterparts.  Feminists should love MMA.

The chief example of this is UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.  It was not long ago that UFC President Dana White promised we’d never see  women in the Octagon.  What changed?

Dana met Ronda Rousey.

Since coming onto the scene, Ronda has rapidly become one of the UFC’s biggest stars, commanding a crossover appeal (doing commercials, late-night TV, and movies) without parallel among her male peers.  And she’s not just a pretty face.  The former Olympic judoka has defended her title multiple times, improving her performance with each outing despite a staggeringly demanding schedule.  Also, she got it honest: her mother was an world-class judoka who later earned a PhD.  Talk about a family of accomplished women!

Compare this to other major sports leagues, where women hardly get the same platform that men do.  The WNBA cannot boast of anyone who rivals the star power of Lebron James; most other major sports don’t have a league for female athletes that even comes close to the WNBA’s exposure or popularity (which isn’t saying much).

Contrast that to MMA, where, in the UFC and other organizations, female fighters headline cards and draw pay-per-view buyers and serious sponsors.  Moreover, Rousey and her main rival, Miesha Tate, coached a season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) where they coached men and women.  How many other sports can boast that, in their first 20 years in existence, women coach men at the highest level?  Building on the success of Rousey and the bantamweight division she spearheads, the new season of TUF features an exclusively female cast introducing the 115-pound women’s division.

So in my view women, and those who care about the advancement of women (in a society that still too often treats them as second-class citizens), should be among the most vocal advocates for MMA.  In no other sport have female athletes come to occupy such a prominent position, equal to and even surpassing many of the male stars, in so short a time frame.

If you want to be in the business of rewarding activities that empower women and treat them equally, then MMA is for you.

Feminists, your sport is here.  As Bruce Buffer would say, “IT’S TIME” to give credit where credit is due.

The Sad State of Journalism: NBC Sports Skewers Dana White and His “UFC Tree Fort”

Just read an ::ahem:: “article” over on the NBC Sports site dubiously titled “Dana White Doesn’t Want Icky Girls In His UFC Tree Fort.” If you don’t know who Dana White is, well, you aren’t even a casual MMA fan.  The foul-mouthed Bostonian (are there any other kinds?) is President and part-owner of the UFC, and the man most responsible for turning around not only his corporation but the entire sport.  He’s not polished, but he is smart, and I like his product.  He has flaws.  These are readily viewable with a simple Google search.  But that is no excuse for this.  The author, Rick Chandler, concludes his short piece – based on a ONE WORD answer White gave to the ever-invasive cameras of TMZ – with the following scintillating analysis:

OK, I think we get the picture. We now take you to the scene of another 6-year-old mentality, via Calvin & Hobbes, already in progress:

Calvin: Our top-secret club, G.R.O.S.S.– Get Rid Of Slimy girlS!
Susie: Slimy girls?!
Calvin: I know that’s redundant, but otherwise it doesn’t spell anything.

Of course, the head of the UFC must be a misogynistic, immature dolt.  Many people, ignorant of the sport, would say the same about us fans.  But this is ridiculous.

The primary reason that the UFC does not have a women’s division (and likely won’t for quite some time) is a relatively low number of female fighters.  The UFC is the major-league, marquee MMA organization.  They will never have a women’s division until there are enough high-quality female fighters (in a particular weight class) to justify its creation in the top-shelf promotion.  This same logic applies to why there will not be (also for a long, long time) a super-heavyweight (265 lbs. +) division: very few – if any –  high-quality fighters in that bracket.

But I didn’t need to tell you all that.  Hopefully, all you needed to see was the title of this article to know that this was a pathetic excuse for sports journalism.  To run to the opposite extreme, where is Ariel Helwani when I need him?

P.S. Sue, if you read this, feel free to correct me!  Aside from college newspaper experience (ha!) I am no expert in this field.  But as a fan, I was offended by this hack piece.

Mormons and ‘Acceptable’ Sports

UFConVersus2_Poster_NoLocal.jpg

For the first time in the history of the UFC, they are pulling up and moving a show from one city to another.  The reason: poor ticket sales.  The cities involved: Salt Lake City, poised to host its first UFC event, did not sell enough tickets, and now the event (UFC on Versus II) will be hosted in San Diego.  San Diego, a long-time MMA hotbed, is expected to have no problems selling tickets.

Read the details of the press release here.  What no one is saying, so far at least, is whether or not religion has anything to do with the poor ticket sales.  Interestingly, UFC President Dana White defended the original choice of Salt Lake City based on excellent TV ratings in that market.  But for some reason, that normally reliable indicator did not translate into ticket sales.

I can only wonder, is this because of the heavily Mormon population of Utah?  Granted, I don’t know of any specific rules against viewing fight sports in the LDS community, but there may be other issues.  Bud Light has become a prominent sponsor of the UFC recently, and we all know that alcohol is verboten in Mormon life.  My own suspicion is that many Mormons, whose church cultivates (and, to their credit, practices) an image of squeaky clean,  moral families, were simply afraid to attend.  It’s one thing to watch cagefighting in the privacy of your own home; it’s another to go out with all those beer-drinking, TAPOUT-wearing neanderthals and actually place butt to seat.

In short, my thought is that however fond many Mormon men are of Mixed Martial Arts, the sport itself (thanks to bloodshed, ring girls, beer sponsors, and tattoos) still has too much stigma attached to it for a tight-knit, tea-totaling community like Salt Lake City.  If anyone has a better idea, I’d love to hear it.  And for the record, I have beloved family members who are Mormons, and I have no ill will against the LDS Church.  I’m simply reflecting on what seems to be a logical scenario.  Thoughts?

EDIT: It also just occurred to me that this event was scheduled for a Sunday.  Really, UFC?  Does no one in your planning office know a thing about religious practices in Utah?