I had a conversation with someone recently which made me think. It was about why some shows won't have female fights on their card. This person commented that although he personally was in favour, there were people who were worried that it might damage the sport's acceptance with the public. With MMA just starting to be recognised, showing a women's fight might set that back.
This seems to me to be a dubious argument. Sport as a whole is moving in the direction of more equality. Having a thriving women's scene increases, rather than decreases, the legitimacy of what we do. What's more - excluding women undermines our arguments for the acceptance of MMA. Whenever people try to demonise MMA, we come up with lots of arguments why it's a good thing (or at the very least not a bad one). And every one of those arguments applies equally to female MMA. We claim it is safe, that it's not about mindless violence, that like any sport it's about technique, athleticism, conditioning, hard training and dedication, and that it has physical, mental and emotional benefits to those who take part. So - why not have the courage of our convictions? To claim these things, but shy away from following them through to their logical conclusion just gives fuel to those who would dismiss us all as a bunch of violent thugs.
I also think that in this country we're way ahead on this one. A couple of weeks ago i fought on cagewarriors, it was the first fight on the show and it was exactly the same rounds and rules as all the other title fights. It is to the credit of the show, not to mention the audience and the MMA scene as a whole, that this was (as far as i am aware) accepted as perfectly normal and healthy. In fact, it wasn't until several days later that i stopped to think about it and reflected on how far we've come in the last few years since i started competing.
What we need now is get more women involved and build up a wider base of home grown talent. In order to do that, we need the public to see that we're here. Fortunately there are shows like CW with the courage to make that happen.