OpEd – Feminism & Classiness in WMMA?

The WMMA community has been up in arms about an article that Eric Holden had written this week. He stated the lack of hype around InvictaFC 7 was because the lack of drama and that the fighters are being asked to be “a friendly, humble, respectful, non-sexy female fighter”. The latter because of “staunch feminism”.

He stated in terms of Invicta:

“The fighters are silenced behind the scenes, told to ‘keep it classy’ for the good of the sport. Here’s the thing: being classy and respectful is great outside the scope of fighting. But when a bout agreement is signed, then competitive heat is occupationally appropriate.”

I would like to point out to Mr. Holden that the UFC, NFL, NBA, and MLB all have similar policies for their athletes. Why? The leagues want good media, especially being under the microscope of the main stream. It doesn’t detour them from promoting big events.

There is a way you can talk smack and be classy believe it or not. It just happens this card that several of the major fighters haven’t done as much social media as they usually do. Felice Herrig and Carla Esparza have been promoting on their twitters, but there hasn’t been much animosity towards their opponents, and that’s okay. Most fighters have respect for each other, especially female fighters. Do some fighters not get a long with others? Sure. Do they always have to start a beef? Not at all.

In fact there are many “intriguing stories” on the card that can be promoted. Tecia Torres is looking to move up the rankings against popular fighter Felice Herrig. Kelly Kobold will be returning to the cage after a two year absence. Can the undefeated Lauren Murphy be the first to last against Miriam Nakamoto? Will Leslie Smith have another “Fight of the Night” performance over Barb Honchak? These are just a few.

Another reason I feel the marketing isn’t as solid is Invicta has lost some momentum because of the long break. This couldn’t be helped due to internal situations being ironed out plus having to book the event on non-UFC weekends. The major MMA news outlets have been busy with UFC, Bellator, and WSOF events that interviews haven’t been booked for Invicta fighters. Best solution is for the fighters to reach out to the major programs to get some promotion for their fights.


According to Webster’s dictionary, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Can we call the WMMA community feminist? Yes we can, because they have fought hard to see women get equal opportunities in MMA as much as the men.

Is this detrimental to WMMA? Not at all. In fact, is is giving equal opportunities to female fighters have helped break the glass ceiling in the UFC and see many more promotions add women’s divisions to their roster.

Feminism isn’t about “making sexy people ugly”. It’s about seeing a woman as an equal person; first and foremost. It’s not preventing any fighter from using the skills or tools provided to promote themselves. Are some fighters still going to use looks to promote themselves? Yes. Is Invicta okay with it? Yes. I have yet to see a memo or hear from Invicta that fighters need to “tone down” their look.

Mr. Holden seems to want to use the term “feminism” in a negative way. It shouldn’t be. In fact, all female fighters are feminists, just looking for the same opportunities in this sport as the guys.

And they are more than okay with that.


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