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Tag: women’s MMA

Dana White on Gina Carano: “It’s Complicated”


(Gina Carano prepares for a showdown with Ronda Rousey by developing the Rouseybuster Armor MK II. / Photo via Getty)

And no, Dana White is not talking about a Facebook relationship status. He’s referring to Zuffa’s current contract negotiations with Gina Carano, the former “Face of Women’s MMA.”

Not too long ago, White triumphantly announced that the UFC would sign Carano and book her in a fight against UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey. As the old saying goes, be wary of Dana White bearing promises. This boast, like almost every other thing Dana White has ever said since this fateful interview, turned out to be bullshit.

It turns out signing the fighter-turned-actress is harder than Uncle Dana anticipated.

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Must-See: This Female Slugfest From KCFA 10 Is So Bad It’s Good


(Props: KCFightingAlliance via MiddleEasy)

I don’t know if this is a sexist statement to make or whatever, but the great thing about amateur women’s MMA is that the fighters never, ever block punches. Sometimes, that can be really sad. But when the fighters are both awful evenly matched, it can be magical.

On Saturday night, amateur MMA fighter Jade Chun (the girl in the pink top) competed at Kansas City Fighting Alliance 10 against Taeler Jackson, and what Jade lacked in basic understanding of the striking arts, she made up for in heart, determination, and straight-up balls. For the first 20 seconds, the fight just looks like any other slugfest between two rookies with nothing to lose. Then, Jade’s like, “Screw it, I’m just going to throw standing hammerfists for the rest of the fight and see what happens.” She also starts using what I can only describe as “the imaginary shield defense.” It is glorious.

Eventually, Chun gets her lip split wide open by the marginally more competent punches coming from Jackson. Chun spits her own blood — angry, like Bruce Lee — and applies more and more pressure, and fires uglier and uglier punch-like-thingys, until Jackson is KO’d in a heap against the fence. The fight is a true underdog story, played out in less than five minutes. It’s probably the worst thing you’ll see today, but in a weird way, it might be the most inspiring. We are all Jade Chun, just plugging away, trying our best to succeed despite our total lack of ability. Sometimes tough is enough.

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ICYMI: Holly Holm Lands Gorgeous Head Kick KO at Legacy FC 30, but Breaks Her Arm


(Photo via Getty)

Holly Holm is two things.

To the sane, she’s a potential money opponent for Ronda Rousey in a sea of female fighters who simply aren’t up to snuff. Holm is closer to Rousey athletically than most other women in MMA.

To the delusional, she’s the Woman to Beat Rousey™. This sentiment is great for selling a PPV, but let’s not kid ourselves. While Holm is head and shoulders above the division, Rousey is mountains above it.

Still, MMA fans like to speculate about such matters. And whenever a fighter like Holm wins a fighter–or a fighter like Cris Cyborg loses one…in a different sport–this speculation reaches a fever pitch.

Holm fought this past Friday at Legacy FC 30. Holm outclassed her opponent, Juliana Werner, throughout the fight and finished her off with a devastating head kick in the fifth round (check out the GIF via @ZProphet_MMA).

This is good news, isn’t it? Cyborg losing a Muay Thai fight erases all her credibility (we don’t actually think this but Dana White probably does), so Holm winning in such a devastating way must’ve impressed White, right?

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Ranking the Four Most Likely “Huge Announcement” Opponents for Ronda Rousey

As many of us noted following Ronda Rousey‘s quick win over Sara McMann at UFC 170, the women’s bantamweight division is quickly running out of viable contenders. Watching Rousey dispatch any and all opposition has been thrilling these past couple of years, sure, but it has also shown fans just how far above the skill level of her competitors “Rowdy” truly is. And unlike the middleweight division during the Silva era, the women’s bantamweight division is simply too shallow to keep feeding Rousey journey(wo)men and expecting fans to pay the price of admission.

With the division housing their quote unquote “biggest star” rapidly approaching purgatory, the UFC appears to be in dire need of a change-up. That’s where Joe Rogan steps in, as he did during an interview with KROQ’s Kevin & Bean Show (audio above) last Friday, stating that a “huge announcement” regarding Rousey’s next opponent is coming our way:

I can say no more than I’ve already said. I will tell you this, and this is a KROQ exclusive, within the next probably week or so a huge announcement will come about women’s fighting and I’ll be back in [the studio] and we’ll talk some more. It’s going to be crazy. Madness. I wish I could [talk about it now], but I would betray the confidence of my friend and employer.

Knowing Rogan as well as we do (I think Seth bumped into him at an expo one time, maybe?), this can only mean that Rousey’s next opponent is one of four people. Join us after the jump as we definitively rank those opponents in order of probability.

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Is Holly Holm As Valuable to the UFC as Her Manager Thinks She Is?


(Fresquez and Holm field questions after her win over Angela Hayes on Friday. / Photo via Getty)

By Mark Dorsey

Former world champion boxer Holly Holm is an MMA franchise. She’s a marquee star, a better face of the UFC women’s division than Ronda Rousey, and worth a six-figure contract — at least according to her manager, Lenny Fresquez, who has been making the media rounds lately trying to convince the public that his undefeated client is the only worthy challenger to Rousey’s belt.

Let’s get one thing straight: Calling Holly Holm a “franchise” is ludicrously premature. Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva are MMA franchises. Beyond that, the list gets very thin. In fact, the concept of franchise players is fading in every sport as the Lebron Jameses and Jacoby Ellsburys of the sports world show that their loyalty only extends to the highest free market bidder.

The argument could be made that UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is a franchise athlete. After all, Dana White has admitted that the UFC only created the women’s division because of her. But Holly Holm is not on the same level of recognizability as Rousey. Sure she was a big boxing draw in New Mexico, but being a regional draw does not translate to franchise-level success with a global brand like the UFC.

Chances are, not many outside of the hardcore MMA and boxing fanbase have even heard of Holly Holm. The Holly Holm brand might bring a few new eyeballs from the boxing world but she is certainly not selling a PPV on her own.

However, just because Holly Holm is not a “franchise” does not mean she wouldn’t make a great investment for the UFC’s fledgling women’s division. Holm is a fantastic athlete. Once considered by many as the best female boxer on the planet, she was twice named Ring Magazine’s female Fighter of the Year. Training under Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, she not only has the physical ability and attributes, she also has the right team around her to be a world champion in MMA.

It’s possible that Holm may one day be a UFC franchise athlete. She certainly has the potential to dominate a women’s division that is severely lacking in high-quality strikers. She could also develop into a legitimate MMA star. She’s personable, good looking and professional. However, she’s not there yet.

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Dana White Announces That a Women’s (?) Strawweight Division (?!!) Is in the Works


(Strawweights: Willing to go the extra mile on weigh-in night, and that’s really all that matters. Photo via Bellator.)

Hold onto your butts, Potato Nation, because Dana White just dropped a bomb that will make your insides explode faster than the Denny’s Hobbit menu.

During a recent interview on FOX Sports.com’s “The Fighter & The Kid” podcast, The Baldfather announced that the UFC is currently “working on” putting together a women’s strawweight division, thanks in no small part to the emphatic success of The Ultimate Fighter 18:

“I’ll give you guys something nobody knows yet. We’re actually working on bringing in another division for the women, which I said would never happen for a long time,” White told hosts Brendan Schaub and Bryan Callen. “125 pounds or 145 pounds?” Schaub asked. “Neither . . . 115 pounds,” White replied.

“I never in a million years thought that it would take off the way that it has.”

When asked whether or not the significant downturn TUF ratings have taken over the past few weeks have weighed into his decision, White allegedly told Schaub to “go f*ck himself” before storming out of the room yelling “LALALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU” with his fingers in his ears. Allegedly.

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And Now She’s Retired: Megumi Fujii Loses Final Fight After Eye Injury From Repeated Pokes

Megumi Fujii, perhaps the greatest female mixed martial arts fighter of all time, lost her retirement fight Saturday night at Vale Tudo Japan 3rd against Jessica Aguilar in a second round stoppage. Fujii was twice poked in the eye by Aguilar in the first round and sustained a serious-looking injury because of them.

“Mega Megu” decided to fight on despite the injury but in the second round, Aguilar began to take control of the fight and hurt Fujii more. In between the second and third rounds, a ring side doctor inspected Fujii and decided to stop the fight. The fight between Fujii and Aguilar was a rematch of their 2012 Bellator bout which ended with a controversial decision win for Aguilar.

Fujii finishes her career with a record of 26-3, overall. After the fight, the promotion held a retirement ceremony for the pioneering fighter. Watch the fight and ceremony in the video above.

- Elias Cepeda

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TUF 18 Episode 1 Recap: Welcome to Co-Ed Sleepaway Camp Fight Club

By Elias Cepeda

The first episode of The Ultimate Fighter season 18 begins with Ronda Rousey finding out that she will be coaching against Meisha Tate instead of Cat Zingano. She isn’t very happy. In fact, she loses her shit, storms around the TUF gym after Meisha walks in and surprises her, looking for Dana White so he can explain.

When he does, Rousey looks relieved. For some reason, she thought that seeing Tate there meant that she herself was being kicked off as a coach. Not sure why she’d assume that, but it just reaffirms that Rousey’s mind is a dark, scary place built to use everything it encounters as anger-inducing motivation. She’s a terrifying, awesome chick.

The reality sets in — Ronda will coach against Mr. and Mrs. Tate on TUF and will rematch Meisha when it’s all over. Rousey seems cool with it, finally, talking of destiny and broken limbs. This season, of course, will feature both men and women bantamweights vying for a UFC contract.

Thirty-two fighters, sixteen of each gender, have been invited to Vegas and will fight their way into the TUF house. First up, is the obligatory former female model turned fighter Jessamyn Duke out of Kentucky winning by triangle choke. The Invicta vet is 5’11 and somehow makes 135 pounds. Nuts.

Next up, David Grant from Britain faces Dominick Cruz’s teammate Danny Martinez. Martinez is desperate for the take down from the get-go. While defending a takedown against the fence, Grant throws a downward elbow to Martinez’ spine and has a point deducted.

Martinez finally gets a takedown near the end of the round but Grant immediately works a triangle choke. Time runs out and Martinez is saved by the bell. The second round starts and Martinez looks gassed.

Grant knocks Martinez down with a punch, then transitions to his back and, as Martinez gets up, Grant knees him to what he believes is the shoulder but what referee Herb Dean calls as an illegal knee to the head. Another point is deducted.

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Interview: New UFC Contender Jessica Eye Steps Up to the Big Leagues


(Photo via Keith Mills/Sherdog)

By Elias Cepeda

In case you hadn’t noticed, Jessica Eye has been a Bellator fighter for the past couple years. The flyweight/bantamweight had been signed to the organization since 2011 but, like other women on the roster, she had trouble getting fights with regularity.

Between Bellator appearances, Eye stayed busy by taking fights for the Ohio-based NAAFS league. But Eye knew that her time in Bellator was drawing to a close even before the promotion recently informed her that they were about to release her and all of their roster’s female fighters.

“I’m a smart woman so I knew something was up,” she chuckles.

“It was getting to the point where, if they didn’t get me my last fight in June, they would have soon been in breach of contract.”

Eye nonetheless managed to take on and beat marquee names such as Zoila Frausta Gurgel and Carina Damm (who botched a drug test moments before their fight), compiling a 10-1 record and seven-fight win streak since her pro debut in June 2010. At worst, Eye’s release from Bellator was bittersweet.

The MMA world was not at all surprised when the UFC quickly signed her to their bantamweight division and booked her against Sarah Kaufman, October 19th at UFC 166. The Cleveland fighter, however, never took the signing for granted.

“I’m 27 years old and that’s old enough to have learned that you shouldn’t assume anything,” Eye explains. “But I did have confidence that I had done enough in MMA that people had learned about me and that I would get picked up by the UFC.”

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Women in the UFC: Looking Back at the First Six Months, And What It Means for the Future


(Is the women’s bantamweight division still reliant on the star power of its champion? / Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

For years, UFC president Dana White was firmly against bringing women into the Octagon to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In 2011, just two years ago, White told TMZ that women would “never” fight for his promotion. And yet now, in 2013, there are 15 women signed to a Zuffa contract and the UFC women’s bantamweight division is quickly becoming one of the promotion’s most crowd-pleasing weight classes.

So what changed?

The answer is simple: Ronda Rousey emerged as a superstar, and it’s Rousey that has singlehandedly brought women’s MMA into the mainstream — although White must be praised for giving her and other female fighters the platform to perform.

Now I really hate admitting this is the case, because I have been a fan of women’s fights ever since the HOOKnSHOOT days and I want to believe it was all of the women in sum putting on great fights that changed White’s mind, but it’s not a coincidence that White’s softened stance on allowing females to compete in the UFC coincided with Rousey’s unbeaten run to the top of the sport.

White, who is one of the smartest promoters in all of combat sports, was quick to realize Rousey could be a draw based on her good looks and vicious fighting style, and therefore make his company a lot of money, and the decision was made to bring her along with some other notable 135-pound females into the UFC earlier this year as a test drive of sorts.

And so far, the ride has been nothing but smooth.

UFC 157, which took place in February, featured not only the first women’s fight in UFC history but it was also the first UFC event to be headlined by two female fighters (Rousey and Liz Carmouche), and yet it did 450,000 PPV buys and a $1.35-million U.S. gate despite having a poor undercard. To the UFC, those numbers were a huge success and a slew of ladies were quickly signed by White and Co., who realized the fans loved Rousey vs. Carmouche and that they’d probably enjoy watching even more women fight.

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