Invicta FC 22, the latest installment of the all-female MMA organization, proved that women’s MMA is as healthy as it ever been.
The card had a little something for everyone. An entertaining strike fest; Felicia Spencer vs. Madison McElhaney, a promising young upstart; Miranda Maverick, a comeback from a consummate professional; Ashley Cummins, explosive dominance; Livia Renata Souza over Ayaka Kamasaki in less than two minutes, and a stellar performance from a female pioneer; Tonya Evinger’s submission victory over Yana Kunitskaya.
The capacity crowd, in Kanas City, MO., was engaged and entertained throughput the night, as was the fans who watched the fights on UFC Fight Pass. Fans were even tweeting that the Invicta series is the only reason why they keep their UFC Fight Pass subscription.
There is little doubt that women’s MMA is high-level combat sports. The fans appreciate it and the powers that be get it. What of women’s boxing?
Now, I do not ever want to be that guy who compares boxing with MMA; I love both sports and do not get the arguments fans have with each other regarding both combat sports. With that said, I must point out the fact that women’s boxing is way behind women’s MMA. Not in talent per say, but in the treatment it has been given.
With the surge of Claressa Shields, as well as, more recognition for veterans like Heather Hardy and Amanda Serrano as of late, some of you might feel this is an odd time to make such a claim.
But Hardy and Serrano have been solid pros for years, and are now just cracking the surface of recognition. Long overdue. Besides, there are a bunch of other talented female boxers not many fans know about and they are getting zero recognition. Where are these women on the television? Or in Ring magazine?
Rhonda Rousey can make the cover of the ‘Bible of Boxing’, how about a feature piece on Alicia “Slick” Ashley? Women in MMA get more than adequate press coverage and have even headlined pay per view cards. The popularity of Shields might suggest a female lead in a boxing PPV in the future, which would be monumental. However, another problem with female boxing is in the semantics.
In MMA, women fight the standard five minute rounds. Same as the men. Could this be possible for women in boxing? Could we ever see a change from 2 minute rounds to 3?
Popular female boxer, Noemi Bosques, offered a unique take on this question, she said, “I’m not with it unless same pay as 3 minutes for men was also adjusted. If I’m getting paid same amount as a 2-minute fight, why fight 3 minutes?”, “If they pay more, then I’m with it. But if we will still get paid “2 minute rounds pay” we may as well stay fighting 2 minutes.”
Now this raises the issue of equal pay for women, an issue that has plagued the United States for eons. With MMA, men and women are equally underpaid. So, there is that.
I do not think female boxing can really blow up unless it makes the change from 2 to 3-minute rounds. In a fight with 3-minute rounds, females can really showcase their skills, and ultimately demand the kind of scarol that is in keeping with their skills. While the fight between Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent was epic last August, how great would it have been if they were fighting under men’s rules?
So, the big question is why is women’s MMA is so far ahead of women’s boxing? My theory is that the long tradition and history boxing has had never had a real place for women. We are talking about a gentlemen’s club that has stood proud way before the Queensberry Rules of the sweet science was implemented. MMA does not have that long history.
Also, boxing has long been a sport of male chauvinism. As a television announcer, Ferdie Pacheco would excuse himself from the telecast on the rare occasions when a female fight would be put on Showtime Championship Boxing. Could you imagine Howard Cosell calling a female fight with any objectivity? Even today, while acceptance and interest gotten much better, many of my boxing friends have told me their displeasure for female boxing. One respected boxing pundit called female boxing a “pure novelty act.” UFC President Dana White may have once said females will never fight in the UFC, but he realized the foolishness of this stance, and the organization if much better off for it.
Before Claressa Shields, Lou Dibella was the only prominent promotor who put female fighters in high profile fights over the last few years. While the tide appears to be turning for the better, real progress will be made when female fighters can fight 3-minute rounds, and get paid adequately for it.
Evidenced from the latest Invicta, female MMA needs no such evolution, and will continue to grow and entertain crazed fans who appreciate high level combat, regardless of gender.
Boxing has much catching up to do in this category.
Zutes Boxing Talk & Zutes MMA Talk are podcasts that bring you the world of combat sports straight up with no twists. In each episode, “Zute” calls upon the best boxing & MMA minds in the business to talk about the current state of the fight game, and interviews some of the best fighters in the world of combat sports. Carlos Palomino, Mikey Garcia Sergey Kovalev, Shonie Carter and Jeremy Horn are among the guests that have been featured on the podcast.Contact the Feature Writers