Ronda Rousey becomes the first woman in the UFC!

Well, this is exciting! The UFC, the owner of which said less than two years ago that it would never include women, now does! Ronda Rousey will be taking her vicious armbar to the UFC in 2013. But she won't be left without an opponent -- rival Meisha Tate has also signed on, and possibly Sara McCann and Cris Cyborg.

This is a big deal for a kickass lady. Rousey is not just a Strikeforce champion, she's also an Olympic athlete, having been the youngest judo competitor in the 2004 games. Since that global debut, she has become the tenth ranked female MMA fighter in the world. The world.

Now, my question is this: Now that the UFC includes both genders, when will we get to see bouts in New York?

Photo credit: Ronda Rousey Official Site

Ronda Rousey Reportedly Becomes UFC's First Female Fighter [Bleacher Report]



  1. She is so badass. That armbar is truly terrifying. I bet she could take half the guys in the UFC, maybe most of them.

  2. Technically the UFC now includes both “sexes”, as genders are sets of behavioral expectations, and neither Rousey nor Tate will be behaving any differently than any other competitors.

    1. “Meep moop–pedantic robot to rescue–malfunction–stuck on carpet–wheels spinning–can’t return to charging baseeeeee# end of line.”

      Anyhoozers, back to the article about an awesome woman who rips arms off for a living…

      1. I’m sorry, I thought Boing Boing and it’s readers expected accuracy and clarity in the news the site presents?

        If this was an article covering a geopolitical or technological or biomedical event and the wrong terminology was used as concerns the primary topic of the article, how many commenters would senselessly mock others who spoke out to correct the mistake?

        If you give a damn about the treatment of women, you should care enough to discuss it accurately and without lazy, slipshod, conceptual conflations or confusions. But something tells me you in particular chiefly care for your own smug sense of superiority and inflated perception of your supposed wit, as displayed via childish mockery.

    2. Women don’t ungender themselves by taking part in traditionally-male activities. I’m sure Rousey and Tate are still just as female outside the ring, and would be pretty annoyed if you tried to tell them they were”a different gender” because they do MMA!

      1. That’s not the point; Eldritch is correct in that the word should be “sexes” rather than “genders,” although he seems to have confused the term “gender” for “gender role,” the latter of which describes the set of behavioral expectations to which he referred.  Sex is what’s between your legs, male or female (or sometimes intersex).  Gender is a significantly more complicated non-binary spectrum for which “both” is an inaccurate descriptor — it resides in one’s own mind.

        If this is confusing, see the following:

    1. Ronda, for example, takes your arm home with her once you get into that sort of position.
      but bwahahaha, they’re totally, like, lying down on one another, etc.

  3. As official as everyone says this is, it isn’t official yet, as no contracts have been signed (according to Ronda herself), but that’s just a footnote at this point. Ronda is a monster. Smart, pretty, and deadly is a helluva combination. 

    The best possible first match would be against Liz Carmouche, the GirlRilla, a US Marine for 5 years, openly gay, and another all around bad-ass fighter. The Marine vs the Olympian. That’s my bet as to the first female fight in the UFC.

    1. Carmouche’s last Strikeforce fight made me a fan of hers. She was so damn tiny that she couldn’t be held down by Marloes Coenon.

    1. Differences in physiology wouldn’t make it sporting. In a self-defense environment, the differences in speed and size and how to use these to one’s advantage is interesting, but as a sporting event, you need your opponents to be equally matched (e.g. weight classes) for it to be a fair fight.

      1. The place them in the appropriate weight classes? Surely you concede a man and woman of similar physique and build don’t differ in any substantial way?

        Men may have a biological TENDENCY to have larger builds and weights, but with appropriate pairing this is a non-issue. In sport, you don’t put someone up aganst an unfair weight class EVER, physical sex aside.

        1. Agreed, I’d think it would be obvious they would need to be separated by weight class, and in that case, not sure what the problem would be. In highschool wrestling, for example (at least where I competed) girls wrestle in the same competitions as guys (pretty much always in the lighter-weight classes, but..), and often do just fine against them.

        2. I’m sorry, but if you think a male and female fighter of equal weight will also have equal power, leverage and speed, you are being blinded by your own desire for equality. Body fat ratios alone seperate men from women, not to mention the drastic difference testosterone has on your ability to train hard, gain lean muscle and recover from injury.

          1. And what makes you think a female professional athlete has substantially different body fat ratios compared to a male of the same weight class?

            Moreover, are you unaware that testosterone is not only naturally occuring in the female body, but can also be ingested as a supplement, something which many male professional athletes already do?

            You’re spouting nonsense. Two men can be in the same weight class and have VASTLY different physiques. This happens all the time in MMA, and no one bats an eye at it. There are untold ways two competitors in the same weight class can physically differ – height, girth, skeletal structure, muscle density, muscle tone, limb length, joint strength, flexibility, reflexes, hand-eye coordination, vision acuity, inner ear sensitivity, center of balance, pain threshold, andrenaline production capacity, adrenaline sensitivity, water retention, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

            There is no substantial difference if the combatant is a man or a woman.

            ANYONE who takes MMA seriously will, by virtue of their efforts and training, be of an appropriate physique to compete within their weight class at their level of skill.

          2. Real sport science and nutrition begs to defer. And did you just seriously suggest that women should take steroids in order to be competitive with men?

          3. ‘There are untold ways two competitors in the same weight class can physically differ…’

            Why yes, and apparently the vast majority of these differences favor men in the particular case of hand to hand combat. Even after you match for weight. I don’t like to put much weight into evobio arguments generally, but in this particular case I think the fact that men have spent geological spans of time kicking the shit out of each other with far greater enthusiasm and frequency than women have really is reflected in their physiology. You could of course match Rousey or Carmouche against some guy who was not absolutely top class (kind of a Riggs vs Billy Jean scenario) and that would be interesting, but they’re not going to be competitive against the very best male competitors in their weight class.

        3. Not true. I know rowing and MMA are very different, but let’s take rowing as an example as it’s a sport I know about and one where performances are easily quantifiable. Rowing has a separate “lightweight” category, and lightweight crews do not perform as well as heavyweight crews.

          At international level, heavyweight women do not perform as well as lightweight men, despite often weighing more and having access to the same training and facilities. The physiological differences are not simply differences of scale.

        4. This is actually done in wrestling, where the weightclasses are smaller. You also see it in some judo and jiujitsu tournaments (esp at the woman’s discretion if no competitors register for women’s brackets) 

    2. Rousey trains a lot with men, and they’re pretty open about how that training goes.  I watched her spar with Nate Diaz a bit.  She’s an amazing fighter and I’m a big fan – but she’s not up to the standard of elite males at her weight class yet (to be fair, Nate Diaz would clobber all but the elite male fighters as well).  Rousey is already definitely good enough to beat males her size at lower tiers.

      The gap will narrow over time (as there gets to be more experienced female fighters), but there’s good reason to believe females will not overcome a deficit in striking power.  On the flipside, they seem to have advantages in flexibility that can prove very important for submissions.  I’m not sure those balance out, but it’s not out of the question that mixed fights could be fair at some point – and certainly could work with a weight handicap. 

      Attitudes would have to change a lot, though, for a serious promoter to actually try this.

  4. So excited about this.  If Cyborg stays clean and makes bantam they could blow the roof off of any arena whether on FOX or PPV.

    1. 2nd point: She’s no longer the “#10 ranked fighter”. That bit of the bio was written when she was in an entirely different weight class. She’s now ranked as #1 in her current weight class.

  5. When did the boingboing community decide MMA was not a barbaric spectacle for bloodthirsty closet homosexuals after all?

    1. Closet?  Honey, there is nothing closeted about my love for Forrest Griffin.  Keep your pearl necklace; I’ll stick with the guy who wears a ruby sweater.

      1. At least as long as there are no glass eating Indian bears taking sledgehammers to their abs while being run over by a 4×4 available I take it?

          1. “When you meet a guy for the first time, two things go through your mind, ‘Is his dick bigger than mine?’ and ‘Could I take this guy in a fight?’. Well, you can’t do much about the first but you can sure as hell do something about the second.”
            -Forrest Griffin

    2. You were good up to the “closet homosexuals” bit.

      So now women can beat the shit out of each other on ppv like the guys do. That’s progress? OK, whatever.

      1. I’ll second that.  Hard to imagine a dumber “sport” than beating each other senseless.   Though I do find office discussions of it to be a good indicator of intelligence and compassion, and their lack.  It also correlates with other expected deficiencies.

        1. You know what? your local MMA academy would probably give you a free week of classes. You might find there’s an aspect of it you enjoy. It’s actually very meditative, and there’s more going on under the hood than people think. 

          Neglecting your body is just as much of a sin as neglecting your mind, fwiw. 

          1.  Striking another person until they receive enough temporary (or permanent) brain damage to prevent them from being able to defend themselves is not my idea of meditative.  Neglect of the body is a shame.  Active abuse of the body of another is insane.  I’ll stick with my gym and cycling, thanks.

          2. ‘chess with the body’, there, made it sound all intellectually stimulating an’ that.
            also, go to a jiu jitsu class and be pleasantly surprised.

      2. I’ve always thought of professional wrestling as a legitimate sport (even though lots of it is choreographed fakery and theater), while boxing is not a legitimate sport (even though the fighters aren’t faking anything.) 

        Boxing (and as far as I can tell, MMA) is about causing your opponent enough body injury and possibly brain injury that he can’t stand up, and there’s absolutely no excuse for that kind of barbarism by either the fighters or the audience.

        Wrestling isn’t about injuring your opponent, it’s about being stronger and more coordinated than they are, and that’s ok.  (And just because I think a lot of it’s fake doesn’t mean I’m going to last five minutes in the ring with any of those guys :-)  And of course college wrestling is the real thing.

        A lot of my friends do various martial arts, and they put a lot of effort into making sure nobody gets hurt.  Boxers may do that when they’re sparring, but if a knock-out gives a win to the person who does it rather than giving them an instant loss, it’s not a sport.

        1. MMA is actually far safer than boxing in terms of brain injury, because of the way the matches are reffed – in MMA there is no ten count, the second a fighter has a relaxed neck the fight is generally called. Also, those who tap to submissions are not knocked out at all. Very few UFC matches end in KOs and non of them have the dangerous standing 8 count that exposes boxers to further competition with a concussion. 

          The UFC is safer than the NFL or the NHL. 

          Obviously, sparring to a knockout isn’t practical in daily martial arts training – but pressure, real pressure, is needed to test your practice. If you’ve never, never done what you’re training live, it’s untested and may – probably will – fall apart on you, and careful, theoretical sparring with your buddies will have set back, not helped, your training.

          Randori (Judo competition) was introduced to judo for this reason – so that practical technique would be maintained. Think of it genetically – if your technique can propagate in the wild, it belongs in your martial art. Competition is where your martial arts swap DNA and face a bottleneck. That’s why one judo black belt is worth 5 guys who do kung fu in the city park in a real fight – because he knows what he knows all the way through to the ground, not just the pretty parts. 

          But to inform your questions about the validity of fighting full contact – you take the risk of it to earn the chance to fight without constraint yourself. The right to fight with as few limits as possible and the trust that the fight will stop within the parameters of the competition are honors the fighters extend to one another.  You’re saying, “I trust you to be in shape for this and not make me the guy who critically injured you” to the other guy, and he’s responding “I trust you to know this stops in this ring and with the bell” 

          Despite the vitriol of their press appearances  from a certain point of view, no two people treat each other with more respect than two people who agree to fight full contact. 

          At the end of the day, you don’t get to really judge the algebra of harm vs experience consenting adults make. I don’t think I’ve suffered any more brain damage in martial arts than a triathlete that depletes her sodium to the point she’s a twitching mess or a programmer who takes adderal to make 90 hour crunch time goals. Life isn’t free, and you’re going to die of something. 

  6. Wow. Learn something new everyday. Today: Waaaayyy more boingers than I would have ever guessed like watching people beat the shit out of each other. And to all the folks who will say: “Its about technique” or some other bullshit, no, its about watching people beat the shit out of each other. That is fine, not criticizing, just surprised. And a little sad.

      1. If it wasn’t about just watching people beat the shit out of each other, there would be scoring, and at least some protection, similar to most other froms of martial arts. The goal is explicitly to knock someone unconscious,  or to submit. There isn’t much wiggle room there. Please explain how this is not like watching the roman gladiators, other than it is not to the death, yet. 
        As I said, mr. snarky, not criticizing, just surprised BB has such a large audience. Never called anyone ignorant.

        1. For one thing, there is scoring and has been for many years. The times of open ended fights without scoring are long past. Many fights don´t end with a KO or submission. That bit of knowledge would have taken you roughly a minute to acquire by yourself.

          The tired roman gladiators comparison? The first and most important difference that comes to mind and doesn´t require much pondering is voluntariness.

          “Not to the death, YET.” Cue dramatic chipmunk.

          You could call any sports with physical contact barbaric with just as little warranty, many of which bear a higher risk of lasting damage to the athletes than MMA.

          You have probably seen footage of MMA fighters covered in blood, all very dramatic looking, but those are really just a bunch of nosebleeds or cuts, the likes of which most of us have sustained multiple times in the course of our childhoods. Less serious and faster to heal than many common injuries in soccer for example. It does make for some effective scaremongering though.

          If you don´t want to watch MMA, you´re free not to do so, but the ignorance is all yours in this case.

          1. The ultimate goal of MMA/UFC is a knockout, correct?  I realize that they also fight for points, but is there any fighter who would pass up a chance for a knockout punch, and does that not win the contest? 

          2. No. The goal is to win by knockout, points or submission. A submission by jiu jitsu, that you profess to love, would be just as desirable if not more than a KO, depending on the fighters, among which there are striking specialists as well as submission specialists. The ultimate goal of course would be to become a fighter that is well rounded in both areas, hence the term Mixed Martial Arts.

            I get why some people would feel uncomfortable watching MMA and I respect that, I just don´t like the ignorance and self-righteousness in statements like “it´s just about beating the shit out of each other”.

            To me, it´s one of many ways for consenting grown-ups to pit their strength against each other, one that I personally enjoy watching just as I enjoy watching a judo fight or a tennis match.

          3. To me, and the MMA employees who edit their highlight reels, it’s about beating each other senseless. But you go ahead and enjoy your concussions and contusions, or do you just like to watch?

          4. Jeez dude. I said I was NOT critisizing, nor did I call anyone ignorant. Really sounds like I touched a nerve, didn’t mean to get you all riled up. No scaremongering either. I honestly did not know there was scoring, forgive my ignorance, and I didn’t look it up because I don’t really care. Enjoy watching by all means, mr. touchy.

        2. For one thing, gladiator fights to the death (bum bum bum) weren’t actually the norm for much of history. Gladiation had many forms, ranging from something very like the modern UFC to something very like pro wrestling – the fashion in arena rules changed with the emperors. Fights to the death were actually usually pretty poor fights, since they usually involved trained men executing untrained men. They were used more as a form of execution and a warm up to skilled fights later in the bill.

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