UFC President Dana White is ready to admit why he was wrong about women in the UFC.
It’s not exactly something you see the polarizing face of the UFC do too often – quite the opposite, in fact. White is more known for his brash, over-the-top style with which he criticizes fans for saying anything remotely critical of the UFC. He implemented that style while suggesting women would never, ever fight in the UFC some years ago.
But then Ronda Rousey came along. The rest is history. She became one of the UFC’s biggest stars of all-time and paved the way for women in the UFC. “Rowdy” has since moved on to WWE, but she’s passed the torch to fighters like current double champ Amanda Nunes. Bearing that in mind, White admitted exactly why he was wrong about female fighters in a recent spot with Hashtag Sports (via MMA Fighting):
“Because they’re good. Because they’re really good. One of the things you have to remember—I completely own up to saying women would never fight in the octagon—but like I told you guys earlier, you’ve got to remember at this time, I was trying to get people to accept the men fighting in the Octagon. It wasn’t allowed on pay-per-view. It wasn’t allowed on TV.”
Never Saw This Happening
White opened up in his assessment. He noted there will always be a somewhat sexist sect of fans who don’t like to see women fighting. But overall the female side of MMA has gotten so popular because the fighters are so good. It was something he never really saw coming:
“There’s always going to be this, it’s changing rapidly, but there’s always going to be this chauvinist side to men that men don’t want to see women getting pinned up against the cage and hit with elbows and getting cut, things like that. So I thought. It’s very popular now. The difference is, the reason that the women’s MMA has taken off and it’s so big is because these women are legit. Really good, very technical, and it’s amazing and I never saw it coming.”
Female Fighters Equal With Men In MMA
The face of the UFC then compared the plight of women in fighting compared to women in other sports. He claimed women were now on par with men in fighting. That all plays into the current narrative of female empowerment, something that never would have happened in the past:
“If you think about in all other sports what they talk about is ‘if women play golf, they hit from shorter tees’, there’s always some excuse about women playing a sport. It’s absolutely an even playing field in the UFC,” White said. “They fight the same style, they fight everything and even the pay. At the time Ronda Rousey was here, she was the highest paid fighter in the UFC.
“These women are incredible. What’s crazy too, when you think about the empowerment of women right now — for most men this is hard to wrap their head around — a woman will kick your ass these days. It’s not like it was 30 years ago. When I grew up, they played with dolls and we played sports. Not anymore.”
Are women truly reaching equal status with men in the UFC?