UFC president Dana White was at one time one of the most-staunch opponent’s of bringing women’s MMA to the Octagon.
For the longest time, he said that the talent pool in the various weight divisions on the women’s side of the sport just weren’t deep enough to start promoting women’s MMA in the Octagon.
The times they are a changing.
White has publicly softened his stance on the matter in recent months, particularly with the emergence of Strikeforce bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and the star power that has followed.
“I don’t think I’ve been too shy about what I think about Ronda Rousey, and not only did she look impressive (against Sarah Kaufman), but her numbers killed it on Showtime, too. Ronda Rousey is a star,” White said during a recent fan chat for Metro PCS.
“I don’t know how many of you have Showtime Extreme, but the fight with Miesha Tate (against Julie Kedzie) was awesome, and I am warming up to women’s MMA.”
“Warming up” may be an understatement.
White now seems dead set on women’s MMA making its way into the Octagon. It now appears to be simply a matter of when, not if.
White on Tuesday told SI.com’s Melissa Segura that a women’s division in the UFC is “absolutely going to happen.”
That doesn’t mean that adding women to the UFC roster is going to happen overnight. Even adding the men’s flyweight division took more than a year to be instituted after White’s initial declaration that it was coming.
The UFC would be hard pressed to institute a women’s division without Rousey, but she is currently under contract to Strikeforce – the UFC’s sister company – and locked in for three more fights.
Strikeforce, of course, has traveled a rocky road recently. There has been and still is strong speculation that the promotion’s days are numbered despite an intended January 2013 event.
Following back-to-back cancellations of Strikeforce’s two most recent events, a contract with promotion won’t mean much if everything finally unravels and Strikeforce calls it a day.
All of the ifs, ands, and buts mean little. The real focal point is the shift in thinking.
As White told SI.com, “The point is I’m committed to this.”
So women’s MMA is coming to an Octagon near you, it’s just a matter of who and when.
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