It was only 12 years ago when the first two women came into the first documented women’s MMA match. Now women have their own divisions in the sport and have national tv exposure. Let’s put this in prospective. It took 50 years for basketball to have a women’s division, 34 years in golf, and baseball and football still don’t have women’s divisions. (The only sport to get a women’s division quicker was tennis – six years.)
Early on it was Indiana’s GFight organization that kept the women’s divisions going. Many of the stars of today sharpened their teeth at GFight, including Roxanne Modafferi, Kaitlin Young, Julie Kedzie, and Strikeforce Champion Miesha Tate. Their insistence and continued support has given these ladies opportunities to showcase their skills and prove to the world that women in fighting is well worth it.
EliteXC televised the first ever female match when Gina Carano and Julie Kedzie threw down in a three round war. EliteXC would also televised the first major network women’s MMA match, as Gina Carano faced Kaitlin Young which would break ratings records for MMA. Strikeforce would follow-up with one of the highest rated MMA fights with Gina Carano facing Cyborg Santos for their first evert women’s title.
The sheer number of participants has increased in the past three years. Over 2,000 fighters have joined the amateur and pro ranks and are still growing week by week. It was only three years ago when you’d barely see one or two fights a month. Now you see a few dozen fights a month in both the pro and amateur ranks. With five ranking divisions, and more possible in 2012, the sport has no signs of slowing down.
This Saturday will set another milestone in MMA as two of the best female MMA cards will take place.
Freestyle Cage Fighting has always been a big supporter of women’s MMA, and their “Fight Strong for the Cure” event this weekend will showcase a lot of female talent. With four pro fights, and six amateur fights, the card is stacked and feature Kailtin Young vs. Liz Carriero in the main event.
Blackeye Promotions had made it their mission to support female fighters, and have already signed some of the best female fighters on the planet. Although this is their fourth card, they have already made an impact by signing former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen. This weekend’s “Breast Cancer Beatdown” will feature seven pro women’s fights, including Roxanne Modafferi verse Barb Honchak in what could be a match of the year candidate. This card will be streamed on GoFightLive.tv.
It has been a long twelve years for women in MMA, with people saying ”the sport will not survive”, and “women don’t belong in the cage”. Twelve years later, the sport is stronger than ever, and will continue to grow coming into 2012. This Saturday, we appreciate and show once again why female fighters in MMA will never leave.