By Anabel Cooper
It is a well-known fact that women are a minority in any fighting sport. If a woman aspired to be a successful MMA fighter, she is guaranteed to spend the majority of her time training and interacting with men. Certainly, it bears certain consequences for her personality, physical and emotional well-being.
If being an MMA fighter is not easy overall, being a female MMA fighter is probably a much bigger challenge.
What Is It Like to Be a Female MMA Fighter
To begin with, training with men has potential dangers to a female fighter’s health. Men are almost always much stronger and faster. In some ways, it is a good thing because a woman can get much better at fighting when fighting stronger opponents. However, sometimes men overdo it, because of being inexperienced or careless, or because of their ego.
Very often, a man will have self-esteem issues and will want to let out their aggression on a woman in some ways.
As a result, a woman fighter gets worse trauma, from head injury to broken ribs. Some female MMA fighters have confessed in the interviews that the only time they have ever been punched out was when fighting men.
As a result, a woman needs to choose well-trusted partners to train with, in order to avoid unpleasant health consequences.
In addition to that, male fighters so often have no idea about women’s physiology. They often stay ignorant about issues like period pain, for example. Also, it is much harder to a female fighter to go through the process of cutting weight, since the female organism retains more fluids and fat than a male’s one.
All the physiological issues of women are largely ignored in the male-dominated sports, which can make women feel frustrated and misunderstood. Largely, women feel that they are alone against the system. Thus, the psychological barrier towards becoming a successful fighter is much stronger than for men.
As if it weren’t enough, female MMA fighters can often get sexist remarks or be bossed around in the male training environment. Women have a hard time proving that they take sports seriously and need to be taken seriously by men who they train with. This can result in higher level of aggression and emotionality in women, which they will ultimately take out on their opponents.
However, even under such conditions, female MMA fighters manage to maintain a healthy view on men and sports, and stay feminine. Once they get to earn the men’s respect in their gym, they get the opportunity to fight with bigger and faster opponents, who can make them rise to their level. They are also capable of having a satisfying private life while dating men with similar interests, or those who are not intimidated by the fact that they fight.
Most often female MMA fighters would have to face accusations of lacking femininity for choosing the male’s sports. But the best thing a female fighter can do is learn to detach herself from such allegations and continue to train as much as she can to reach her goals.
While MMA is a male-dominated sports, girls like Michelle Waterson, Julie Kedzie and Jessica Penne have proven that it is possible to stay sane and feminine while also being a successful female MMA fighter.