A 140-lbs. Women’s Division in the UFC?

Posted: August 15, 2011 in Judo, MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What's she have that I don't have?

Yesterday, Ronda Rousey, a former Judo olympian representing the USA and current mixed martial artist, tweeted:

“You know what would be a cool idea? To have a 140lbs div in UFC and 135/145 in strikeforce, with fighters moving freely between promot[ion]s.”

and then followed up with

“That way 140 could be like an “open” division where the fighters from both divisions could meet at for big matchups in UFC events.”

To be clear, you’d have a featherweight and bantamweight division in Strikeforce, but you’d have a UFC division right in the middle, giving the UFC the ability to match up any two fighters from Strikeforce.

This is a good idea for two reasons. The first reason, which is clearly Ronda’s point, is that it promotes far more superfights. That generates buzz because everyone knows both fighters and wants to see who would beat whom. It also helps ensure that the fights are high-quality. The second reason is more important, I think. By effectively combining the divisions on occasion, you combine the talent pool. Every fight becomes a good one, even among the lower levels. This gives the division just a bit more legitimacy in the eyes of the promotions, and the fans might yell just a little bit louder when demanding a women’s division in the UFC.

Of course, both of these reasons are deeply connected and affect each other. It’s almost a single reason. Regardless of how you look at it, the quality of women’s fights go up, the buzz gets louder, and the division gets more interest from female martial artists that are contemplating a career in MMA. Currently, those martial artists see a limit to how far they can go, but if the UFC opens the door just a little bit, maybe they’d be more willing to give it a shot.

But there is a downside . . .

The fact that this is such a good idea speaks volumes as to the talent pool in the women’s divisions. It shows that the women’s division just isn’t deep enough for the big leagues. We wouldn’t even consider something like this with, for example, the men’s middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, would we? If this is the truth, though, then it’s a truth we have to accept and address, and this is a good start. Keep in mind that the concern about the women’s division isn’t quality, but rather quantity. The UFC would do itself a favor by hosting some solid women’s matches.

Conclusion

This remains a great idea to use what talent is available, making it effectively larger than it otherwise would be, but it also is a means to promote the division. That promotion will result in interest, which will result in growth, which will result in more interest, etc. In the end, the women’s division will benefit, and we, the fans, will have even more good fights to watch. That’s the bottom line here. This isn’t a movement based in political correctness for me. I come from the perspective of an MMA fan who’s trained with several competent women martial artists in the past. They have something to offer, and as long as they’re permitted their shot at the professional level, we’ll have more quality fights to watch.

Who can argue against that?

Oh yeah. Him.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Ronda Rousey on Twitter @RondaRousey
Follow Dana White on Twitter @DanaWhite
Follow the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Twitter @UFC
Follow Strikeforce on Twitter @Strikeforce

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