The Rise of Women’s MMA
Over 8 years ago Fight Chix was started as pretty much a dare. A dare of passion, creativity and Monster energy drink induced insomnia. As soon as I heard this idea I was immediately intrigued and on-board. This was such a cool concept. At this point in time MMA was one of, if not the, most popular growing sport and women hadn’t even been looked at one bit, but we all knew that that day would come and it did.
We have watched and helped WMMA (women’s mixed martial arts) grow from literally the ground up. We were the farmers that helped cultivate this sport into what it’s become today. We believed in the sport, our empowering women worldwide message, the promoters, and especially the female fighters. We listened to their stories, we sponsored them in every way that we could by either sending apparel or monetary, we brought them to events, we even hung out with them on a social basis because we believed in them and still do. This sport is so male dominant and aggressive that when we got into business we were pretty much laughed at, not by our peers, but by some men in the business. Those men are no longer influential in the world of MMA (mixed martial arts). It took more than hard work and dedication, it took heart, a lot of heart to be behind an extension of a sport that wasn’t even acknowledged. But we believed. The ups and downs of WMMA were obviously mirrored by the standard MMA trials and tribulations. Starting out in small venues, working with local promoters, having small meetings at coffee shops, brainstorming sessions that kept us up all night, we knew this sport would take off and we knew it needed a leader or leaders…
When you think of WMMA and /or the UFC most think of Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg or Gina Carano. But one of the most influential women in WMMA is Invicta Fighting Championship President Shannon Knapp. She is a pioneer of the sport and someone who is constantly growing and grooming female fighters. Without women like her, who knows where WMMA would be today. Her passion for the sport and for building relations with these women is identical to Fight Chix CEO Elisabeth Nuesser. Both of these women want to build the sport and the fighters, create more opportunities for female fighters and tell the stories of these women to encourage others that you CAN be successful in this business.
As of late Dana White has been flirting with bringing on some exceptional female fighters into the UFC. He recently signed boxing sensation turned MMA star Holly Holm, a 7-0 fighter training out of Jackson’s MMA. A few months back he briefly spoke about a comeback from Gina Carano which was slowly moved to the wayside possibly the cause was that it may take her some time to get back into a competitive MMA training schedule. Now Mr. White has moved on to the discussion of signing Cristiane, “Cyborg,” Justino. It’s quite obvious that Dana White wants to build WMMA in the UFC, so much that the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, TUF 20, will be focused on the females of the sport. 16 hand-picked women in the 115lb division will compete and, “A Champion will be Crowned.”
Over 8 years later, here we are, talking about Dana White, President of the UFC, building WMMA with the help of Ronda, Miesha, Shannon, and Elisabeth and all the other women who have been there since day one. Dana initially laughed at the thought of this but it took the right person(s) to convince him that this is the natural progression of the sport. Women’s Mixed Martial Art has been here and will always be here to stay. It has grown and will continue too. Those young girls training with boys, trying to fit in, will now have more options to explore as they grow as fighters and women. Fight Chix will be right next to them encouraging these young warriors to live out their dreams as we did.