The women’s bantamweight division in the UFC will grow – it’s inevitable. UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey is no doubt the main woman in the spotlight as the UFC begins to develop a new division. UFC President Dana White told reporters following The Ultimate Fighter Finale at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that we will start seeing more women signed soon and an TUF featuring women coaches could be on the horizon.
Many had speculated prior to the announcement of Ronda Rousey vs Liz Carmouche as the main event at UFC 157 on February 23rd, how the UFC would feature its newest division. Instead of putting the women on a free FOX, FX or FUEL card, the UFC is putting the women on centerstage in Anaheim, CA, showing fans that the UFC stands behind Rousey and the women’s division.
“She’s the champ. You’ll never see a situation in any fight, whether man, woman, the lightest weight division it is – if you’re the champion, you’re the headliner, you’re at the top of the card. And I’ve seen some people talking [expletive] about ‘Oh the women’s fight are headlining.’ Ronda Rousey’s a bad ass, she’s the champ. Her opponent stepped up to the plate and wanted this fight with her when others didn’t. I don’t give a [expletive] what they say, that’s a fact. And there’s a great card underneath it. So, you know, it’s a great night of fights no matter who’s headlining. She deserves to be the headliner.”
White further explained that back when the UFC added the lightweight division, he received some of the same flack for putting them in main events of par-per-views also. Since signing the first women to the UFC, Rousey, Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche, White explained how important it is to the organization to put the women on the map as much as any other division.
“You gotta keep going with it. What people don’t realize is, there was a time and a day when we put the 55 pound division and headlined it with a title fight and people said ‘You can’t headline a title fight. BJ Penn and Jens Pulver as a title fight, headlining? This is ridiculous.’ BJ Penn became one of the biggest stars of mixed martial arts and a huge pay-per-view draw.”
With the expansion of the UFC’s flagship reality series going abroad to search for future fighters to add to its rosters, White said that India, China and Canada are the next countries that will play host to upcoming seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Currently, no coaches are set for the upcoming shows. When MMA Fight Corner asked White if he would consider expanding the women’s 135 pound division by featuring an all-female Ultimate Fighter, he said that may not happen yet. But, White did indicate we may see the ladies as coaches in the future.
“I don’t know if we’d do women, but we might do women coaches, as coaches. Listen, I’m looking at Ronda and all the other 135-pound women the same way I look at the guys. They’re UFC fighters and they deserve all the recognition, and perks, and all the other things that go along with the men,” said White. “I mean, everybody keeps asking me all this crazy [expletive], it’s not [expletive] 1920 guys. There’s women fighting in the UFC. There’s a woman who’s a champ. She’s mean, she’s nasty, she’s bad ass and there’s other girls in that division that are tough, and there’s fights out there that are interesting, and I’m going to treat them the way that I treat the guys – no different.”
Though only a handful of women have been signed with the promotion thus far, White credited Rousey for sparking the addition of the women’s division. “She is a huge star. She gets more media than anybody else out there and she’s the reason that I was interested in doing this. She is mean, she is nasty and she likes to finish people. But I meant that she’s the one that got this whole thing kick-started.”
MMA Fight Corner also asked White, if he could confirm who else has joined the women’s division. He revealed that Sara McMann, an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, is coming to the UFC. While Rousey still has to defend her title against Carmouche, White said don’t expect to see McMann get a title shot, or fight vs Rousey anytime soon.
“She’s definitely one of the girls that’s going to be in it. But, she said she didn’t say it, but she said it. She wants a fight or two before she fights Ronda Rousey. Nothing to be embarrassed about, Ronda Rousey’s nasty. You want a couple of fights before you fight her, that’s no big deal. But don’t walk around talking [expletive] that you didn’t say it, when you did say it.”
UFC 157 will be headlined by Rousey vs Carmouche in what will be Ronda’s first UFC title defense. The event is scheduled to take place Feb 23, 2013 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Ca. The co-main event is Dan Henderson vs Lyoto Machida. A bantamweight scrap between Urijah Faber and Ivan Menjivar is also on tap for the fight card.
Below is the full video of UFC President Dana White with media: