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Fight for the Troops 3: Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back for Women’s MMA

Dana White once dismissively claimed that women would never fight in the UFC.  He would cite a fight he once saw involving a completely overmatched female take a violent beating, and stated he never wanted to see that happen again.

No more than  few years later, Ronda Rousey would be promoted to the UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion.  And her first fight in the promotion, against Liz Carmouche, would not disappoint.  The two fought a high paced grappling battle, with Rousey nearly being submitted, only to come back and win with her patented armbar.

And then the UFC announced a number one contender bout between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano.  Nobody was quite sure how the fight would play out, and it ended up exceeding everyone’s expectations.  The two went to war, with Zingano coming back in the third round to finish Tate with strikes.  There would be no real loser in this fight, and Women’s MMA was the biggest winner of all.

Fast forward a few months, and things are not as rosy as some might have expected.  Not every fight has played out as a barn burner, with Julie Kedzie and Germaine de Randamie putting fans to sleep.  Then, very recently, Jessica Andrade did to Rosi Sexton what Dana White had warned us about:  Sexton endured a terrible beating that was entertaining for pretty much nobody.

Then on Wednesday, Fight for the Troops 3 saw two women’s fights, and neither propelled Women’s MMA in the right direction.

The first one saw Amanda Nunes cruise through Germaine de Randamie with a violent assault of elbows from mount.  Although, it wasn’t the violence that made this fight set Women’s MMA back – it was de Randamie’s complete inability to even try to escape the mount.  It looked amateurish.

Then, in the co-main event, two top ten women collided, with former title challenger Liz Carmouche taking on fellow Strikeforce and Invicta veteran, Alexis Davis.  The fight was by no means violent, but it wasn’t entertaining either.  The fight played out primarily in the standup realm, and Carmouche was easily outclassed by the inside low kicks of Davis.  Carmouche had absolutely no answer for the kicks of Davis, and like de Randamie earlier in the card, looked amateurish.

At the end of the day, fans just want to see the best fight the best, and to see them put on good fights.  For the most part, the women do this.  But anybody who tells you that the women ‘lay it on the line’, or fight with ‘something to prove’ more than the men need a reality check.  Women’s MMA is great because all high level MMA is great.  There’s nothing inherently special about the women.