The Evolution of Women’s MMA
I want to talk about Rose Namajunas and the Karate Hottie Michelle Waterson.
When you think of Rose’s evolution as a Mixed Martial Artist, kind of a Jiu Jitsu grappler, really smooth scrapper now. She knows how to put her fist on you. But with Michelle Waterson, again, you think of her as this stand up Karate girl. And then we saw she can take your back in two seconds. She can put you on the ground.
When you think about strategies and game plans, Women’s Mixed Martial Arts continues to evolve. That it’s maybe a little bit behind because they got a late start. Money, or whatever the case may be.
What is the approach of the coaches?
It is a little bit behind?
Ronda Rousey was a grappler, she got beat by Holly Holm, who was a striker. It’s Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman, all over again.
That is true, and why is that so?
Because before, they just got into the UFC, without the money. 15 or so years later money became involved.
Money being made by coaches, teams, people, gyms and the fighters themselves. Money influences things. That happens in society. In everything we do.
We’re a commerce driven democracy, commerce drives innovation and development. It drives everything. If the best money isn’t being made, the best coaching isn’t being assessed, so there was an unfair second class citizen kind of vibe to women’s fighting.
Now we’re seeing an even quicker change in it because now, all of a sudden, There’s more numbers putting women fighting on Fox. There’s more money coming in.
There are millionaire women fighters now. Obviously, Ronda. I’m sure Holly made plenty of money too. All of that will really quickly change it. But we are still at where we are, on some level, Waterson went in to fight Paige VanZant and she really looked like a Karate fighter.
Stephen Thompson throws hook kicks and he plays with a particular influence from where he came from, but it’s not just that. Michelle fought with a “Oh I’ll throw a hook kick, I’ll kick out here”. It really looked that way, and it was really cool. If that is how she still likes to fight, if you can carry that over. Rose is very much a boxing mutated Muay Thai fighter. When we watched her move at the open workouts, I was blown away. The little pivot points of her body all move really smooth and independently.That is an athlete. Women’s soccer or futbol, the WNBA. All of these things, you get to a point where they can’t run as fast or they can’t kick the ball as far.
Fighting is something different, we are starting to realize because the way that women can move themselves as ballet dancers, or as gymnast. They can do some things better than the male counterparts in some of those other sports.
That will be very possible in fighting too, and so it’s going to be cool to see. They’re both pretty, people like them, they are popular, and the fight is cool. This one’s got me pretty jazzed up. West Coast Dave, our buddy, he’s obsessed with Rose.
It really feels that women take it very personally. That they feel a responsibility, that when they’re on the card, they have to put on a bigger show than some of their male counterparts.
Because let’s say you want to be a fighter. You’re going to take physical abuse. People are going to think you’re crazy, it’s going to cost you, you’re going to have to get a part-time job, it’s going to cost you a lot of money to invest in it, there’s a chance you won’t make it, you’ll never get to go out for beers, you won’t see your family and your friends that much.
There’s going to be 17 more reasons if you’re a woman doing it. You’re going to face some type of sexism, you’re going to face bullying, your mom’s going to probably cry in some cases.
There’s way more reasons for women to bail before this point. So, by the time they get there and you see Rose Namajunas, or you see Michelle Waterson, anybody you see at this point, they had even more obstacles to overcome.
All of them. Every one of them, and that makes them even rare breed.
That’s one of the things we’ve always like about women’s MMA, when we’ve got to call it on the grassroots level. It takes a particular type of person to make the sacrifices to fight, but it’s double or triple for women.