Hot female MMA fighters – Waterson vs VanZant raises sexualisation in sport debate

MMA Gateway hot female fighters ufc sexualisation sport rosie 15063284991Now it seems to me that within the realms of certain sports, there is a problem of sexualisation, and coincidentally it seems to be the sports where sexualised marketing of attractive athletic women that participate is seen as integral to making the most money. So within this article we are going to be looking at how hot female MMA fighters are marketed and the general topic of sexualisation of women in MMA as well as sports in general.

The reason i am writing this article is because of the “Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson vs “12 Gauge” Paige VanZant match that was announced a few weeks ago by the UFC, which is scheduled to be their main event on the UFC on Fox 22 card on December 17th.

Now while both of these women are excellent martial artists, to most people in the MMA community there seems to be an elephant in the room that nobody wants to mention regarding this fight, which is that both of these women are absolutely beautiful, take a look at this breakdown for yourself –

Now of course i enjoy looking at an attractive woman as much as the next guy, but when it comes to martial arts, the two have no correlation in anyway whatsoever. So whenever i see women with incredible martial arts skill in MMA, or even when they are not very good martial artists but are developing, and then they are given the main event spotlight MMA gateway ronda rousey return rock rousey wm31purely based on their looks instead of their skills it concerns and frustrates me.

Ever since November 2012 when women were first allowed to compete in the UFC, many fans enjoyed the fact that Ronda Rousey the first female champion in the UFC, was a highly effective fighter, while also being beautiful. Now while Rousey herself has never had an issue with being sexualised, as she has featured in many highly sexual modelling shoots outside of the octagon, as well as making statements like –

“I want everyone to talk as much as possible about everything. As long as they’re talking, I’m happy.”

But regardless of that we need to look at the implications here, because sure if a female fighter wants to be sexualised to get more followers/make more money, then it is her choice to allow that, but obviously if a female fighter does not want to be sexualised, she should be applauded and supported, not punished.

I mean we know the UFC understands the power of sexuality, because obviously if we look at the UFC Ring girls their MMA_Gateway_hot_female_fighters_ufc_sexualisation_sport_6800px arianny celeste cropwhole role at events is to keep interest for the main target audience (18-30 men) during the ends of rounds in a fight through sexualisation.  They wear tiny revealing outfits, then literally just “shake their money makers” all fight week, and in the case of the most well known ring girls like Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer, they often have more fans for looking sexy and posing, then some of the fighters do for courageously competing in the octagon, sadly.

In 2013 a fox sport blog post was pulled from posting, as the tagline header of the article was –

“Are Rondas fans no longer aroused?”

The article was highlighting that on the Ultimate Fighter TV show, Ronda Rouseys rival Miesha Tate was garnering more fans, and that it may not be to do with martial arts skill, but rather character and looks.

Now i watch the UFC because i want to see the best high level martial arts that i can see, i am not watching to see when the “hot chick” fighters are scheduled. But unfortunately it seems that the UFC is starting to do a lot more gearing towards favouring more attractive women above less attractive women in certain areas.

MMA_Gateway_hot_female_fighters_ufc_sexualisation_sport_cyborgWhen i think about this topic, i think of one name more then most – Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, who in my opinion is the best female martial artist in the world at 140-150 pounds. Yet many people have noticed the UFCs reluctance to book her for fights, or to give her own division at 145 pounds (which is needed because cutting to 140 pounds is really unhealthy for her).

The reason many people believe that Cyborg does not get as much attention, is because she is not considered very attractive by many male MMA fans. This is a massive problem for me which i want to see corrected immediately – if i want to watch the “worlds most beautiful girls” contest, i could watch any number of model programs, but this is the UFC, and a true fan of MMA does not care what any martial artist male or female looks like, but rather how they fight.

Cyborg has been under contract with the UFC for years now, but has only had 2 fights, which for me as a fan of her capabilities as a martial artist is really annoying. I wonder why she has been booked so infrequently despite being one of the best female martial artists in the world? There’s that elephant in the room again.

MMA_Gateway_hot_female_fighters_ufc_sexualisation_sport_800px-e3_2010_ufc_undisputed_2010 booth babesThe biggest problem here, is that while the UFC get some extra viewers – the media they are creating is targeting male viewers through sexualising female athletes. What is often missed here, is that through objectifying women, the men become brainwashed to not be engaged in women’s martial arts seriously, but to just watch to see attractive women.

Literally the UFC are encouraging mens pornographic addictions, by increasing the objectification of women in UFC content.

Just look at what happened to the career of many female Tennis players, lets say Ana Kournikova for instance. It is widely known that many people around  her were constantly trying to push her to sexualise herself to make more money. Then as she did this, her performances began to get worse and worse, as she began to realise she could likely make more money from sexuality then from tennis skill.

As she did more highly sexual calendars, videos and model shoots, her fans became nothing but porn addicted men with no interest in her skill as a tennis player. You can still find videos all over the internet of male fans heckling inappropriate remarks throughout her matches. Needless to say, she retired from Tennis at 26, which is a ridiculously young age to retire, as the strains between sexuality and tennis became too much.

So back to the Waterson vs VanZant main event on December 17th, while i really enjoy watching both women compete for their martial arts prowess, i have to say this all just seems so strange. I do not like that this fight has been put as the main event, above other higher ranked female and male martial artists, purely based on the fact that Michelle Waterson and Paige VanZant are both very sexually attractive.

MMA_Gateway_hot_female_mma_fighter_sexualisation_in_sport_800px-kaufman_vs_yabushita_afc5r The Photography ElfIt leaves a bad seedy after taste for me, however in a world where the Hollywood kingpins WME-IMG are now running the show at the UFC, we have to expect that more marketing stunts like this will be coming more regularly. I just truly hope that this doesn’t begin a regular trend of only booking hot female MMA fighters and disregarding more skilled but less attractive female fighters, which would compromise and diminish the sport of MMA in general –

Remember this is the UFCThe Ultimate FIGHTING Championship, not some weird mix of Playboy and WWE, and women are completely equal to men as living beings, so they must be treated/marketed in the same way that men are. I want to see women given opportunities in the UFC based on their martial arts skills and character, not anything else. so like and share this article if you agree that you would like to see a reduction of the sexualisation of women in sports, and as always any comments then drop them below.

Thanks for reading.



Marley Dawkins


  1. Great work and site information. I am a huge fan of MMA and UFC. I do like the fact that you are making the public aware of an issue that is not thought about very much. Many people who watch these kind of sporting events don’t even really think about the idea of woman being sexualized, they just think they are pretty. But in truth the women have much more to offer than just their bodies…
    Keep up the good work!

    • Hi there, great to hear your an avid MMA fan 🙂 and your clearly aware about the problem of sexualisation of women in sports. In the future hopefully we can get to a point where the purity of the sport of Martial Arts becomes the main focus within organisations like the UFC, instead of always focusing on what makes the best ratings as it is currently structured.

      Thanks for your feedback!

  2. Marley,

    I must say, you’re onto something here. I never really thought about it until now. Especially with the main event being Waterson vs Vanzant. As you said, these two are very attractive woman, but could it be that the UFC is doing this for those reasons? I guess I could understand that they’re trying to get their views up. As a marketing technique, but that is so unethical. Like you said if guys want to see model girls, tune into playboy.

    • Thanks Jonathan, glad to hear you can see the issue here. I mean sure the UFC wants to maximise ticket sales, and yes sometimes putting attractive fighters on cards does help with that. Thats understandable.

      But any true martial artist has no care what a person looks like, but rather how they express their techniques in real fight situations. I just really hope we don’t see the UFC turn into some depraved blend of Playboy and WWE in years to come, i do not want the sport of MMA to diminish by being turned into a freak show calamity.

      This is the limit for me, and i can bear it because Waterson and VanZant are both excellent martial artists, and as long as the competitors are excellent martial artists, then its ok i suppose, but personally i don’t wana see any sexiness sales in the fight business.

  3. I follow this sport just because I have a big crush on Ronda Rousey, I just love her body and personality I get mad when she loses a game, I know a fun fact about here, one day an interviewer asked her what do you do before a game, she replied I have sex before every game lol
    Love her, and thanks for your post

    • Well there we go, i gess the UFCs marketing has worked on you bro lol. More importantly though, are you a fan of martial arts? If your just following UFC to see Rondas body, then i suggest you turn off UFC and stick to Playboy.

      Dont get me wrong Ronda is an attractive woman, but that really should not matter in comparison to her achievements in the cage, because what a fighter achieves in the octagon is the most important reason to follow any fighter.

  4. Great article, I have to think your point carries some weight but at the same time Paige is a top 10 fghter and this fight carries some weight in that weight class. Even if paige was less attractive she puts on exciting fights. To your point, there are fighters out there, like Tonya Evinger who is openly gay that do not get a fight in the UFC and she more experienced (fought Miesha Tate, Gina Corano….) holds the invicta belt and on i believe over a 10 fight win streak. Having trained with both Tonya and Paige I would love to see them both do well and Tonya get her shot in the octagon.

    • Hi Kurtis, i hear what your saying and i agree because Paige is a great martial artist, and does have an exciting style. But she sits at number 10 in the UFC 115 pound rankings right now, and has never defeated a top 10 fighter in the UFC yet. I can see her maybe beating Joanne Calderwood and Jessica Aguilar, but at the moment i wouldn’t pick Paige to beat any of the other top 10 Strawweight women in the UFC –

      Personally i think Michelle Waterson is a more effective martial artist then Paige, skill for skill right now, and i prefer her character, so i expect her to win, but Michelle is prone to injury and its a crazy sport so who knows – great main event nonetheless, but this article was just to highlight the elephant in the room that cannot be and should not be ignored, because MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts, not Mixed “Needle Mover” Arts , which is what many elements of the sport unfortunately are increasingly becoming.

      And yes how Tonya Evinger is not in the UFC is ridiculous, because she is clearly one of the top 135 pound women out there, she has never been KOd in the cage against some of the worlds best. Evingers career clearly is exact proof of what im saying, her sexuality and lack of male fans has been used against her and many other great female martial artists out there.

      As martial artists and fans of the sport of MMA, it is our responsibility to comment on and offer direction on where we want our sport to go, martial arts is a lifestyle of doing whats best for all life, having the discipline, bravery and honour to mentally grow, while also having the techniques and physical capabilities to protect ourselves and those in need – sometimes we have to remind the UFC of this – where did MMA come from? Bruce Lee – these were Bruce Lees principles.

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