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Today in Ladies Who Can Beat You Up: The UFC Starts a Female Division, Hires Its First Openly Gay Fighter

You might not be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA. That’s fair. But even if watching people beat the crap out of each other on Pay-Per-View isn’t of particular interest to you, this bit of news is still pretty cool: UFC, the world’s biggest MMA promotion company, has created its first female division. And crowed its first female champion. And signed its first openly gay fighter, also a woman.

Heck yes. Butt-kicking ladies, coming through.

The champion in question is “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (pictured), whose extreme popularity is part of the reason the UFC decided to create a female division. In addition to all the fights she’s won in the arena, she also represented the U.S. in judo at the last three Olympic games. (When she competed at Athens in 2004 she was only 17, making her the youngest judo competitor there, and her bronze medal at Beijing made her the first American to win an Olympic medal in the sport since it was added to the Olympics in 1992.)

Basically, in the world of MMA Rousey is a really big deal. Her first UFC fight will take place in February against Liz Carmouche, who became the UFC’s first openly gay fighter when she signed on yesterday. UFC isn’t the most inclusive in terms of sexuality (president Dana White once threw a fit about a male fighter wearing lavender spandex shorts), so hiring an openly gay athlete (even if, as Jezebel notes, “it’s doubtful that openly gay male fighters will be given the same welcome anytime soon”) is particularly good.

UFC has promised that it will promote its women’s division as much as it does the men’s. I don’t give a hoot about sports, and my knowledge of MMA begins and ends with the movie Warrior, but I think this is really cool. The Atlantic Wire points out that if the UFC actually does promote its female and male fighters equally it would become the first major sports organization to do so.

(via: Jezebel)

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  • Anonymous

    I’m mentally putting armor on her and a sword in her hand.

  • Anonymous

    Not a huge fan of MMA but Ronda Rousey is incredible. Most of her fights end the second she uses the arm bar on her opponent.

  • Anonymous

    All of her fights end when she puts the arm bar on them. My partner believes this is a cop out, that she’s only got this one move. My opinion is that every fighter she goes against knows that arm bar is coming, and they still can’t stop her.

    I’m a huge fan, and her name is an awesome for a fighter. I just want to know what will it take to get her and Gina in the cage together(though I know they are different weight classes).

  • Anonymous

    Rousey is indeed awesome. Check out this analysis of a fight of hers where she has the current champion at her mercy, then LETS HER UP just so she can have an opportunity to put her in an arm bar. Key part is at 6:00.

  • Anonymous

    golden tiara. Silver braces. Leather girdle. Hippolyta tattooed on her right shoulder, Athena tattooed on her right. Golden lasso holstered on her belt.

    Gentlemen, meet the closest approximation of Wonder Woman. The fact that she’s lesbian is less important that she’s bronze in Olympic judo.

  • Life Lessons

    Oh Squeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chanel Diaz

    I’ve never been interested in sports, just because it’s not my thing, but as long as they don’t treat their female athletes like glorified strippers/porn stars, than I may start to peak an interest.

    Women in sports would be SO Amazing if Promoted Equally with male athletes.

  • Lilah Woods

    Actually, Ronda is not a lesbian. Her opponent, Liz Carmouche, is the one who’s openly gay. So they’re both making historic entries into the UFC.