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It was “a bit chauvinistic” – Dana White talks about MMA’s initial aversion to women

A few podcasts haunt Dana White regularly throughout his UFC tenure as a 20-second TMZ clip that was taken outside a Los Angeles restaurant in 2011. In the video, White answers a question about Kane Velasquez’s comeback from injury, before being asked “When will we see women?” In the Ultimate Fighting Tournament?” His answer, with a laugh, couldn’t be more succinct.

“Never. Ever.”

Two years later, the UFC hosted its first-ever women’s MMA match. A main event fight between new champion Ronda Rousey – turning her title from Strikeforce as the UFC takes over the rival promotion – with Liz Carmouche. The years that followed have seen the largest mixed martial arts promotion in the world host hundreds of women’s MMA matches. Today, the Endeavor-owned Fighting Organization hosts four women’s divisions and more than 100 female athletes.

In the last episode of Basic! When the cable was cold Podcast, White sat down with former Viacom and Spike TV CEO Doug Herzog to talk about the UFC’s rise to television prominence. All his way to the topic of women’s MMA and Wyatt went on to go from ‘never’ to making female athletes the cornerstone of the UFC brand.

“So, one of the things you have to remember back then – there’s a very popular clip of me on TMZ, coming out of a restaurant in Los Angeles, and they ask me, ‘When are the women going to fight in the UFC?'” And I look into the camera and say, “Never,” White explained, paving the way for his story on UFC and Women’s MMA. At this time, I’m trying to convince people to accept men Fighting in a cage! the correct?”

“I once went to a battle in Northern California, where there was a terrible mismatch between women. And I said, ‘Oh my God.’ And listen, I won’t lie, there is a little of that—being a man—a little chauvinism; in that, ‘Women are beautiful, women. Well – you don’t want to see women get beaten up, you don’t want to see – ‘In a million years, I haven’t seen this coming; where these women are going to be so technical, so tough, so badass. I mean, the women we have now, in the UFC? There are so many It’s things I’ve seen coming, and I didn’t expect that to come. That’s for sure.”

White may not have been at all prepared for the idea of ​​women competing within the octagon, but – as is often repeated – Ronda Rousey’s rise at Strikeforce was a huge game-changer.

“But the thing that changed everything was that I met Ronda Rousey,” White explained. “Ronda Rousey showed all these things that happened. And I met her one day, and in the middle of the meeting, I was like, ‘Damn, I think I’m going to do this.’ I think she is the one who does it. Thank God I was right.”

Surprisingly, after this meeting and White’s growing interest in bringing women into the UFC, the longtime promoter revealed that he had received absolutely no response from FOX executives or anyone else in the UFC front office. According to him, it was the fans who showed great resistance to the idea.

“No,” White replied when asked if he was having trouble convincing other senior officers to bring women into the UFC. “But, I think you hear this stuff about — and that comes from a man’s point of view — you know, ‘Women are not treated like men.'” Women are not this and that. All these other things. And I was always like, [chuckles] “You know, there’s probably some of this and some of this.” Until Ronda Rousey came up front over Dan Henderson and Yuto Machida and people lost their damned minds. I was getting these messages from people, like, “You’re a piece of crap. You’re dah dah dah. I was like, ‘Oh my God!” I never realized this existed because it never happened to me, you know what I mean?

So as soon as I wrote Ronda Rousey I was like, ‘Wow, man. I never realized there would be such a shock from those lunatics out there. Then, that night, we were in Anaheim; when I came out of that tunnel in that arena, I knew I had made the right decisions. Sold, two women fighting in a major event.

He continued, “If I look at women’s boxing — before I had my first women’s fight, I looked at women’s boxing and it was kind of a sideshow kind of thing.” “When Ronda Rousey came out of that tunnel that night? The whole arena erupted. I got goosebumps even from telling the disturbing story. The whole arena erupted. And the fight was amazing. It was one of her way of not only being the biggest star in the sport, but also the highest Pay. Pretty badass.”

Far from simply appearing in one star, or just the idea that math can be a lucrative presence in the fighting business, White admits that the whole experience gave him a new perspective on the sexism women face in their daily lives.

“I learned my lesson, believe me. I learned my lesson,” White admitted. “We live and learn, and I’ve learned. It’s a fact.”


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