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Women should be given the same opportunities as men to fight professionally for an equal pay out. One reason for these inequalities lie in society’s deep-rooted ideas of gender roles and the inabilities to see women as protector’s not just caretakers. I am calling for a redefining of these roles so woman can have a fair and equal chance within the world of combat sports and beyond.
As a woman who likes to fight, I often find myself wondering why society as a whole doesn’t take women’s professional and amateur fighting seriously (or at least equal to men’s). For me and women all over the world, it’s just like any other sport, we dedicate ourselves completely, we learn, we train hard, and put in the same amount of hard work as the guys.
Here are some reasons I feel female fighters do not get the respect they deserve:
– It is difficult to see a woman get hit
– Women are nurturers and caretakers, not fighters
– People find it hard to get passionate about seeing two women fight
– For men, seeing their partner get hurt is off-putting
– Women’s fighting does not bring in the money
– Society wants girls to be demure
These are all legitimate concerns; however, the bigger picture is that if a woman has a passion for a combat sport then nothing and/or no one should stand in her way. She should be given the same opportunities to pursue her dreams as much as any man. Yes, there are martial art and MMA schools all over but I know for a fact that when a woman walks in followed by a man the reactions are very different.
I also understand that for the most part it’s all about the money and in the case of women’s fighting, money doesn’t talk.
“Gina Carano became the first female competitor to bank six figures on a disclosed U.S. card, according to figures released by the California State Athletic Commission Tuesday.”
“The face of women’s MMA” earned $125,000 in her first-round technical knockout loss to Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos last Saturday at Strikeforce in San Jose, Calif. Santos, who was crowned Strikeforce’s women’s lightweight (145 pounds) champion, earned $25,000, which included a $5,000 win bonus.”
At “UFC:142” the salary for the top three men were as follows:
“Brazilian Athletic Commissions don’t release fighter pay info, so none of the following salary data for the event is official.
Vitor Belfort: $279,000 ($275,000 to show, $4,000 from Anthony Johnson’s purse)
Edson Barboza: $142,000 ($6,000 to show, $6,000 win bonus, $65,000 Fight of the Night bonus, $65,000 Knockout of the Night bonus)
Gabriel Gonzaga: $134,000 ($67,000 to show, $67,000 win bonus)”
I believe the inconsistencies are due mainly to social stigmas, including the ones I mentioned above, to the point that innate dogma is keeping people from “getting into” this sport. The onset of the UFC has proven that there is money to be made in combat sports and just as boxing has had its long and continued success throughout history, UFC still continues to dominate. There are a few organizations that offer women the opportunity to fight televised professional bouts in the U.S., Strikeforce and Bellator, yet the payout for the winner does not compare to what the men get and the fate of Strikeforce is yet to be determined since recently purchased by, Zuffa (company who owns the UFC). Also, Strikeforce has only 2 weight divisions for women squeezing the pool of talented fighters into a pin hole, thus alienating a world-class group of women.
A NEW ARENA (NOT THE UFC)
This movement has got to start from the ground up; in the basic ways society views women. I believe the focus has to be on the self-defense side versus the sport side. If we teach and encourage young girls and women to become empowered through their own abilities to protect, society will catch on that us women ARE capable of great things equal to men. To improve girls’ chances of maintaining equality, schools should incorporate self-defense for all children ages 6 and up so they can learn how to defend themselves in a controlled environment while taught respect and discipline. Ultimately this could result in fewer crimes against women and an overall redefining of gender roles.
Until this revolution takes place, its business as usual and we women will continue to “shoot” for a place where most people don’t want us to go leaving our girls with a legacy of of unacceptable, don’t you think?
 Hunt, Loretta. “Carano Makes $125,000.” 18 Aug. 2009.
 Fox, Jeff. “UFC Fighter Salaries.” 15 Jan. 2012
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