Despite once famously saying that women would never be allowed to step foot in the octagon as a fighter (something he now laughs about), female fighters are not only permitted to compete, but there are now some big names in the UFC that fight in the female division.
It should be pointed out that Dana White did not, perhaps, mean his comment to come off as sexist or misogynistic, but that the standard of female mixed martial arts fighting at the time of this statement meant that he would not have been able to make this a reality back then.
Today, however, female MMA fighters are not included in the UFC, but their popularity is beginning to grow almost as rapidly as the UFC after its Dana White takeover. So, in what other ways do female fights affect the once male-dominated world of UFC?
Oftentimes in sports that are traditionally dominated by men, the women’s competitions are compared and seen as “less than”, either because they are less brutal or less muscular with less strength and speed. Typically this can lead to more focus on technique in female sports.
As a result of this, you would probably expect female fights to have a stark lack of viewership, but in actual fact, the opposite is true. Women’s mixed martial arts have actually witnessed an exponential increase of popularity, perhaps due to the fact that this is a sport that showcases these specific traits that are traditionally associated with male sports.
Female fighters have therefore been able to not just infiltrate the UFC with female fighting competitions that are as equally respected as the men’s fights, but they have actively played a role in bringing a wider viewership to the sport and helping increase its popularity.
Ronda Rousey at UFC 170 Weigh-In from UFC Facebook
Female fighters have also helped bring the UFC into the mainstream entertainment sphere where fans are free to place their bets on the fighters that they think will come out victorious.
Whenever you are watching the UFC you know that there is a chance for anything to happen. That is one of the great things about this sport and why so many people love it - it can be completely unpredictable, and female fighters have continued to prove this theory.
Click here for more information on MMA sportsbooks and how to seek out the best odds available for any fight or any given event in the UFC. You never know what could happen!
Gender Pay Gap
Female fighters in the UFC are also becoming increasingly vocal over the lack of fair pay in the industry. Across the board, fighters have been complaining that their wages do not reflect all that they are worth, especially considering the fact that they literally bleed for us to watch.
It is worth noting that Ronda Rousey had the ability to draw such crowds with her persona that she was in many cases paid a lot more than her male counterparts (taking sponsorships into consideration).
Women in any type of sport face a set of challenges that their male colleagues will never be able to fully understand, but female fighters like Paige VanZant are changing the game by speaking out against this injustice and asking to be recognized for the hard work they put in.
Unfortunately, there is seemingly still a long way to go before MMA fighters who compete in the UFC are paid proportionately to the entertainment that they provide, but now that there are a few female fighters whose voices are joining the ranks of those complaining, we hope that this will have enough of an effect to bring about some level of change to UFC pay rates.
Inspire Future Female Fighters
Ronda Rousey has not been shy about how difficult it was for her as a young female fighter, but these days, female fighters have collectively had such an effect on the UFC that she hopes to have inspired any young girls who wish to make their start in mixed martial arts.
Where it was once difficult for women and young girls to even step foot in a gym to train, she now claims that she looks at every budding female fighter like she could be the next star.
This could have a great impact on the future of the UFC as the female fighting contests are only continuing to grow in terms of popularity and viewership, so as more and more young women are inspired to take up this form of mixed martial arts, the more fighters we will see.
Female fighters have not had an easy ride trying to get to where they are today, but the fact that they are generally so accepted in the UFC today has changed the way the whole institution works.