Dana White: Lady Killer

Column originally appeared on www.thegarv.com

“Chick fight!” my friend yelled, standing up and pointing towards the tiny rectangle shaped window in the door leading out of Mr. Ezerins’ physical science class for the less-scientifically mined; i.e. the delinquents.

Mr. Ezerins thought the class was playing a prank on him and refused to budge from his beaker until half the class was pushing their way through the door for floor seats to the hair-clinging, torso-slinging, makeup-smearing brawl between a pair of skater girls. Mr. Ezerins then made the mistake that so many persons in an official capacity have made since then: he stopped the fight too soon.

That experience during freshman year was been my lone live encounter with female fighting until May 2006 when I was covered Total Combat 14 in Del Mar, CA. The eighth fight of the evening pitted Kellyn Huehn (1-2) against the debuting Crystal Harris. Nine minutes later (the women fought three, three minute rounds) and with welts and bruises swelling on their faces, both fighters earned a standing ovation as Harris won her debut via Majority Decision in what was, hands down, the fight of night.

Earlier this week, TMZ caught UFC President Dana White in their camera’s crosshairs while on his way from a restaurant to a waiting vehicle. White quickly fielded a couple of questions from the paparazzo about heavyweight champ, Cain Velazquez’ recovery from recent shoulder surgery and was then asked when we were going to see women in the UFC.

“Never,” White answered with no hesitation and a grin before ducking into the vehicle with a thanks to the onlookers. The answer is no surprise and has remained a constant one for White on the topic of female MMA and will likely remain his stance for some time well into the future. Women are never going compete inside the UFC. Presumably, this edict extends to the WEC as well.

And you know what, on one hand it makes total sense to not have women competing in the UFC. Sometimes we forget that MMA isn’t even legal in all fifty states. And sure, women compete in other male-dominated sports and there’s even professional women’s football, but still, it’s not like the Jets have to play their home games at an Indian casino.

That, and the female talent pool simply isn’t deep enough yet to sustain any long term plans to develop multiple divisions. The biggest female fight to be made already happened in Strikeforce, who is figuring out that as far as female MMA in the United States goes, there’s the 135 pound division and then there’s Gina Carano and Christiane Santos.

Here’s what the women who are grinding their way through the professional MMA ranks have in their corner, and what shouldn’t be overlooked by people flippantly shushing the idea of female MMA: they possess such a need to compete that only the very best are going to deal with the rigors of pursuing MMA. The result is that if there’s a female fight mixed in somewhere on a ten-fight card, there’s a real good chance that it’s going to be a great fight.

The reason for that is unless you’re last name is Carano or you go by Cyborg, there’s very little money for a female mixed martial artist and sadly, that may never change. So say what you will about women in MMA, but you have to say that to the woman, they’re born fighters because there’s plenty of other things they could be doing if they wanted to.

So, for a promoter who wants to put on the best fights with the best fighters in the world to say never to female MMA, completely dismissing the notion altogether it makes me think, are you sure about that never?
Without going into the clichés of when and where to use that most absolute of all words, maybe the question should be is this the same never that once answered nagging questions regarding the futures of BJ Penn, Karo Parisyan, Tito Ortiz, James Toney, and Chuck Liddell?


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