Can Amanda Serrano Be The Next Successful Female MMA Fighter?
If there is a need for change, break the mold and be that change. This appears to be the direction that six-division world boxing champion Amanda Serrano is going in. She will be competing in her second-ever MMA fight this Saturday (October 13) for Combate Americas in Tucson, Arizona.
The Brooklyn-born Serrano made her debut in MMA this past April, fighting Corina Herrera to a unanimous decision draw. Her opponent this time around? Erendira Ordonez. What spot on the card is the fight? It will be the televised main event of the evening, something Serrano (35-1-1) has been fighting for in boxing for quite some time.
One of the most dominant forces in combat sports, Serrano has seen the cruelties that women in the boxing world face. In her short time in the world of MMA, she has seen the true difference in how women are treated. Whether it is coverage or pay, which is a big argument that never gets any traction, Serrano has had enough. While she may not be entirely done with boxing, according to many, she is making the ultimate career move that is justified.
Speaking to Sporting News, Serrano discussed why a change was needed:
“It’s like a relationship. I give my all, I give my love and everything I have in me to the sport and I get nothing in return. Why continue on with that relationship? I don’t have to stay in that relationship if I’m not happy. Go elsewhere.”
As stated before, Serrano is a six-division champion, becoming the first woman to do so and becoming the third boxer overall to do so. Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao are the other two. Her win against Yamila Esther Renoso last month was on the undercard of the Danny Garcia-Shawn Porter card, so those at home barely got an opportunity to see the fight. To her, it is truly undeserving, especially when history is on the line.
She isn’t the only one who thinks that. Heather Hardy has been very open to this writer about boxing’s lack of opportunities for female fighters, hence her own transition to MMA. Most recently, Alicia Napoleon spoke to Female Fight Fans about how unfair the world of boxing can be.
“Women are really fighting for equal opportunity, equal recognition and equal pay. I know, and all women know, we are just not being treated right in this sport overall. It is definitely different from what I have seen in MMA. There is a lot of bias in the sport of boxing, and there are many who feel like we don’t belong in the ring. A lot of us are fighting for that to change and to expose those that are blocking us from having those opportunities.”
This statement was proven correct In August when Napoleon’s title fight (the only one of the night) against Hannah Rankin was not televised and put on dead last during a Premier Boxing Champions event on Long Island, NY. Andre Berto v. Devon Alexander was the main event, but many considered Rankin v. Napoleon (a fellow New Yorker) the best fight of the night.
The transition begs the question if the move will work out well for the almost 30-year-old Serrano. Like Hardy (21-0, 1 NC boxing, 2-1 MMA), she won’t be alone in this quest. There are several examples of female fighters who made the transition. While not all successful in the eyes of many, they made the jump knowing what they would be getting themselves into. They include:
- Multiple-time women’s boxing champion and former UFC Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm (33-2-3 boxing, 12-4 MMA)
- Chevelle Hallback (28-7-2 boxing, 1-1 MMA)
- Erin Toughill (7-3-1, 1 NC boxing, 10-3-1 MMA)
Let’s not forget about male stars, including Fábio Maldonado, Chris Lytle and Joe Duffy.
By taking a gamble on herself, Serrano is taking a stand for women everywhere. Will she be as successful as others who have made a go at it? It is not for us to say, but it is not impossible. Citing Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Cris Cyborg as true influences in the success of women’s MMA, Serrano can have the same impact as these women, in her own special way.
Serrano’s leave from boxing is not a definite goodbye. The old saying is, “when one door closes, another one opens”, right? In her case, Serrano is busting down the doors of both MMA and boxing, and hoping for boxing to eventually answer the cracked door in a correct manner.