By Jackie Knapp
When most people picture what a professional MMA fighter might look like they usually visualize a man with huge arms, a solid, thick core and legs that could tow a truck. Rarely does a fit, buff woman come right to mind. Within the past ten years however the advertisement for and popularity of women MMA fighters has greatly risen, and after many struggles on behalf of female professional MMA fighters the sport finally has a significant following and is growing respect daily.
Although stereotypes surrounding females in the MMA are weakening, top female champions all agree that the sport simply needs more exposure before they will have the complete recognition and reverence they deserve. Traditionally, as children men are steered to take up harder body contact sports such as fighting, and women are encouraged to take up more gentle contact sports or hobbies. But top MMA women like Zolla Frausto, Jessica Aguilar, Sarah Kaufman, Cris Cyborg, Tara Larosa, Megumi Fuji and Gina Carano have shattered this gender assignment and made it their goal to have the women involved in fighting in the MMA be considered a norm.
The growing popularity of women in the MMA has helped women across the country to realize this sport and level of fitness could be for them as well. Gyms across the country like in Fredericksburg, Virginia offer classes for Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the like, which all professional female MMA fighters train in before heading to the ring. Many consider these cardio-busting workouts the most efficient form of exercise for the time put into it.
MMA involves many different styles of fighting including strikes, kicks, jabs, grappling, throws, submissions and elbows. Many women not looking to take up MMA professionally take these classes because of their high-intensity and fast fat-burning capabilities. Those women who do pursue a professional career in the MMA world usually train in all forms of MMA on a daily basis, and their bodies surely show it.
One common goal of women in the MMA is to get big name promotions to feature women’s fights. Popularity for the sport can only go so far as the companies that are willing to sponsor and broadcast the fights and female fighters. Although the top names in the sport are preparing to fight against each other to defend or gain new titles for the upcoming 2011 year, they will set aside their differences and all work together to help promote women’s fights and expand the word about women in the MMA.
Jacqueline Knapp is a recent graduate of the University of Rochester in NY with a BA in Spanish. She uses her experience and knowledge of Spanish studies, literary translation studies, literature studies, creative writing, and Internet marketing and related services daily in her job as a freelance writer and blogger.
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