Women’s UFC fighting has been experiencing a huge surge in popularity. This has a lot to do with Ronda Rousy and the work she has done for bringing women’s MMA fighting into the mainstream. She has helped pave the way for the amateur female fighters of my generation. Fighters such as Rousy, Holms, McMann, and countless others have given young women the confidence to step into the ring and put on some gloves. I had the opportunity to drive up to Revolution MMA and interview Hannah Scoggins, an amateur UFC fighter, and gain her perspective of what training and fighting are like for an amateur female fighter:
When did you start fighting?
“Three and a half years now but I started with krav maga… which is like gun and knife takeaways and self-defense but I also really like the challenging aspect of it. But pure MMA has been about 2 years…”
What made you make the transition from self-defense to competitive?
“Well, I just wanted to get better at my self-defense but then I started taking jujitsu and striking classes and won a lot of competitions in jujitsu so I really liked it. I also really started loving jujitsu as well. So I put them all together and made it MMA.”
Who are your role models?
“I would have to say Sara Mcmann, I really look up to her and I would watch her hit mits and I’d be like ‘man I really want to hit mits now’ and then Ronda Rousey. I’m not a really big fan of her attitude but I know she has to put it on because of the show but she has definitely done a great deal for MMA”
What is it like to be an amateur female fighter?
“I’m excited to go pro but you have to be really focused during your amateur years and being a female is hard because there aren’t a lot of female fighters, so finding fights is hard and definitely finding training partners”
Do you have any advice for girls out there who want to start fighting?
“if you really want to do combat sport, it’s not easy. There are days where you feel like you on top of the world and then days where you like why am I doing this is I feel terrible everyone is beating me up I’m working my butt off and it’s not even showing. You are going to have days like that and sometimes you are going to have a lot of good days in a row and a lot of bad days in a row. But the bad days just ignore them, you are getting better , even if you think so or not you are getting better. Just show up and do it and listen to your coaches and don’t forget why you started it.”
With upcoming pro’s like Hannah Scoggins, amateur MMA has been experiencing an increase in popularity. Hannah and other amateurs like her will take fighting to places we never thought possible and I can’t wait to see it. This rapid growth and popularity of Women’s MMA are denying all preconceived notions of women’s sports. Historically, women’s athletics have been greatly overshadowed by men’s. With 96% of sports news reporting on men’s sports and merely two percent accounting for women. To read more about these numbers and check out this 2009 study of the USC Center for Feminist Research.
But Women’s MMA and amateur fighters such a Hannah Scoggins are challenging these numbers. MMA is a combat sport and arguably one of the most “male” sports out there. However, Ronda Rousy is a household name across America and arguably more well known than current male fighters such as Conor McGregor or Vitor Belfort. Some speculate that women’s fighting has recieved this excess attention do to the ‘hypersexualization of the fighters’. As BleachReport states in their article Examing the Growth and Popularity of Women’s Mixed Martial Arts:
“In mixed martial arts, they’ve been able to hypersexualise the women, from someone like Gina Carano—who was the original queen of MMA—to Ronda Rousey, as well as others who have come along. They’ve been able to tap into that, and at the same time these women display a kind of gutsiness and aggression that is appealing. Men may at first be drawn to the fact that these women are physically attractive, but they have ultimately been able to garner a level of respect based on their technical and physical prowess when they enter the cage.”
So what does the future of Women’s fighting hold? Stay tuned into amateur fighters like Hannah to find out.
Further Research and Reading:
Rokala (Scoggins) vs. Hilditch// youtube.
Rousy’s legacy// ESPN.
The future of female MMA after Rousy// The Guardian