While Butler featured many aspects during her MMA Chokehold segment on G4’s flagship series “Attack of the Show,” it is the women’s side of the sport that Butler was in particular support of.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com via email, Butler looked back over 2012 in women’s MMA, as well as forward to the future of the sport and lastly commented on what’s to come for her in the near future.
MMAWeekly: Firstly, Blair, 2012 was a big year for women’s MMA in terms of growth and exposure. Looking back, what are your thoughts on the year and what it did for female fighting?
Blair Butler: Obviously, the addition of the women’s bantamweight division to the UFC is the biggest headline. Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche will be making MMA history in February – a fight I’ll be eagerly plunking down my money for.
But there were other, less obvious, reasons that women’s MMA made huge strides in 2012. For starters, some of the year’s best fights were women’s MMA bouts: Meisha Tate vs. Julie Kedzie, Ronda Rousey vs. Meisha Tate, Alexis Davis vs. Sarah Kaufmann, Alexis Davis vs. Shanya Baszler, and Kaitlin Young vs. Leslie Smith.
And the women’s divisions of the sport became even more viable because of the sudden rise of Invicta FC. Before Invicta, only the athletes in Strikforce’s women’s title fights were getting a great deal of exposure. But now, because of Invicta, there’s a way for future contenders to grow, flourish, and become legit UFC prospects.
MMAWeekly: Looking ahead to 2013, what do you see for women’s MMA this year?
Blair Butler: I think everyone is holding their breath to see how UFC 157 does. But if Invicta can get a TV partner, and if Bellator can put together another women’s tournament – either at 115 or 125 pounds – it’ll be a spectacular 2013.
MMAWeekly: What do you feel about Ronda Rousey’s role in the growth of women’s MMA this past year and her importance on its continuing expansion in 2013?
Blair Butler: We have to give Rousey a tremendous amount of credit – her dominance as a champion and her ability to engage fans (and the media) is the main reason Dana White was willing to gamble on women’s MMA. And, to further put the historic nature of UFC 157 in perspective, not only is it the first women’s MMA fight in the UFC, it’s also the first UFC PPV card headlined by women, and it features the first openly gay fighter (Carmouche) in the UFC. That’s pretty stunning.
MMAWeekly: Changing the subject to you, having parted ways with G4 recently, can you look back on what you accomplished bringing MMA to the channel with MMA Chokehold and tell us what may lay ahead for you in the future?
Blair Butler: Well, I think being involved with MMA coverage was one of the best parts of my job at “Attack of the Show.” We had Chuck Liddell, Nate Quarry, Roy Nelson, Uriah Faber, Daniel Cormier, Carlos Condit, Mayhem Miller, Ronda Rousey, and a ton of other fighters drop by our studio, and as a tremendous fan of the sport, that was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
It’s sad to see the show and the segment go, but I was able to write the MMA comic book “Heart” during that time, so it just felt like everything came together, and I got some closure, in a weird way. That being said, there may be something MMA-related in my not-too-distant future. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, I’ll be doing a ton of writing. In the short term, it looks like I’ll be doing something else that I can’t quite talk about yet – but hopefully, “AOTS” fans will have a place to see me, soon. That’s all I can say for now. I’m not trying to be mysterious; I just can’t talk about it yet.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for your time as always, Blair. Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
Blair Butler: Thank you to everyone who watched the show over the years, and to all the fighters who came by our set to talk MMA. It was a pleasure. And if the MMA injury curse takes a break in 2013, with main events like the ones on UFC 156-158, and UFC on FOX 6, it’s going to be an incredible year.