5 Clapbacks to People Who Say Women’s Fighting Isn’t As Good As Men’s
Sexism is nothing new in women’s sports, but combat sports in particular have had a rough history with gender equality. Although we’re living in times where women regularly headline big fight cards, sell hundreds of thousands of pay-per-views, and are often given respect by fans and media as much as their male counterparts, there’s still
1. Women Have More Muscle Endurance Than Men Do
Some call it cardio, others call it pacing- whatever you want to label it, the ability to keep going is what sets women apart from men, as far as ability. Studies have shown that women experience muscle fatigue 15% less than men do. Therefore, even if men have more muscle strength than women do, women have the edge when it comes to the cardio factor.
2. Though Men Dominate Fight Cards, Women Can Sell
Many will point to gender-based discrepancies in combat sports, or sports in general, as being the result of a lack of interest in female athletics. However, much of the disparity is probably due more to a lack of exposure and opportunity for women than a disregard from fans. Consider that women’s sports gets 2% of coverage on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Now, let’s also consider that women in MMA hold some of the top spots, as far as numbers go. Ronda Rousey stands atop the pay-per-view ladder, as she holds the spots for the #8 and #9 best selling UFC pay-per-views of all time.
We’re seeing that’s it’s not just Rousey who can attract sales though- Holly Holm and Cris Cyborg headlined UFC 219, the New Year’s card of 2017 (which are historically some of UFC’s biggest events of the year), which turned out to be the third highest-selling pay-per-views of 2017.
3. Knockouts Don’t Just Come By Way of Fist
Many will point out women’s lack of punching power as a reason that women’s fighting isn’t exciting to watch. However, even though this notion is a vast oversimplification of gender and psychology, I ask you to consider this: not all knockouts come by way of one-punch.
Many knockouts do happen in women’s mma and it’s important to remember that hands are not the only weapons being utilized. There are knees. There are elbows. There are kicks. And many knockouts happen with the assistance of these weapons in women’s fighting. In fact, probably the most famous KO in women’s MMA history came by way of head kick.
Also, the idea that women’s fighting doesn’t produce as many knockouts as men’s is a misnomer: as shows by this data analysis, women’s mma bouts actually produce just as many, if not more, knockout finishes than men’s does.
Round 3 Scores: 10-9 Equality
4. ‘Not Exciting’ Is Code For “I Don’t Understand Technique”
Often, the same people who voice the above complaint also have another line they’re waiting to deliver after their discussion of power about the level of excitement that women can bring to fighting. The idea is that because women aren’t able to punch as hard as men, there isn’t that edge-of-your-seat anticipation that comes with watching them sling leather.
However, mixed martial arts is not about people punching each other...at all. It’s about combat. It’s about heart, skill, footwork, movement, technique, and will. There’s so much that can and does happen in a fight and so much of it has nothing to with punching.
When I hear someone say that women’s fighting isn’t exciting, I think, “Oh, that means you don’t understand anything about technique!” You should follow suit.
5. It’s Not Supposed to be a Beauty Contest- It’s a Fight
One of the subtle ways that you’ll see sexism creep into conversations about women’s fighting are on the subject of appearance- people will focus on how attractive the women fighting are versus their fighting skill.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating someone’s beauty or physicality, but when it comes at the expense of their skills inside of the cage, that’s a problem. When we appreciate the women for their beauty over their talents, that’s not acceptable. When we’re watching a fight solely to see two hot girls punch each other, that’s only further solidifying the reality of inequality.
It’s a called a fight for a reason- it’s supposed to be gritty, dirty, and messy. It’s designed to be ugly.
Beauty is not what we’re going for.
We’re going for war.