Fight for what you deserve
Ronda Rousey, Ultimate fighting championship (UFC) Women’s Bantamweight Champion, won her title in 2012 and managed to defend this title for over six times. In 2015, Ronda became the first mixed martial artist to win an ESPY award for “Best Fighter”. Since then she increased her net worth to around $12 million, making her one of the richest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in the world.
Ronda claimed that MMA is the most pro-women sport in the world. When being questioned on this matter by an interviewer, she responded with the following: “For the first time ever there is no distinction between men and women in sport. There is WNBA, there is Women’s tennis, there are all these W’s everywhere. Women were introduced into the Octagon for the first time, just as Bantamweight, there was no need to put the women in front. They don’t say men’s Bantamweight division, why do they have to say women’s. It is the first sport in the world to completely irradiate the separation”.
In regard to the gender pay gap, Ronda feels equal to her male counterparts. “How much you get paid should have something to do with how much money you bring in. I am the highest paid fighter, not because Dana and Lorenzo (President and CEO of the UFC) wanted to do something nice to the ladies. They do it because I bring in the highest numbers, and I think that the money that you make should be proportionate to the money you bring in”.
How come mixed martial arts, a traditionally ‘masculine’ sports and perceived by many as far from ‘feminine-appropriate’ be at the pinnacle of women in sports worldwide?
The answer is simple. The women that participate in the UFC aren’t excellent fighters considering their gender, they’re just excellent fighters in general. Fans understand this and appreciate the female athletes for exactly the same reason as they would for the male athletes. In addition, the women get the respect, the visibility and the paycheck that they deserve, equal to the male fighters.
Another important aspect is the similarity that UFC aims to achieve. Like Ronda mentioned: “There are all these W’s everywhere”. How are we able to create equality when we are giving it a different name? As long as there is no such thing as men’s football there shouldn’t be such a thing as women’s football. Football is football no matter who is hitting the ball.
Time to wake up
The examples are given as organization like the UFC have taken the initiative and have proven to succeed in less than 10 years. The time has come for the remaining organisations to break the “chicken and egg” cycle where audiences will not get excited about women’s sport due to match differences and minimal exposure in the media, and the media would confirm the lack of coverage by saying that female sports do not generate enough audience.
The number of female spectators is on the rise and the male spectators are more than ready for more exciting gameplay. More coverage means more girls inspired by female athletes and more boys developing greater respect towards female athletes.
We at SportyCo have a lot of respect for the UFC and what it has accomplished. By acknowledging these accomplishments, we hope to contribute to the equality, also on the SportyCo platform. Equal media attention, equal opportunities, equal funds.