John LaRocca talks developing the women's division in UFC
A few days ago, Dana White introduced Ronda Rousey as the first ever UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion and announced her first title defense will be the main event of UFC 157 against Liz Carmouche on February 23rd in Anaheim, California. It will be a historic event in MMA and my thoughts are 157 will do 250,000+ PPV buys.
After UFC 157, what becomes of the UFC Women's Bantamweight division? Is Dana White finally serious about women in the UFC or is this just a hot gimmick that he will use as a special attraction only? My feeling is White sees this division as the latter, but I hope Dana White and Joe Silva seriously look at women's MMA more then a special attraction.
Many arguments against the women's division is the lack of quality of women fighters in MMA. I disagree with that as we have seen with Invicta, Bellator and various small MMA shows that women's MMA is growing at a rapid pace. UFC has the best forum to introduce women's MMA to the UFC audience in their reality TV show, The Ultimate Fighter. Last year, I said the UFC should take advantage of using TUF to get over the Flyweights to the UFC audience. Now, many casual fans couldn't name you five UFC Flyweights and they probably have a hard time even remembering who the champion is.
UFC needs to use TUF to introduce women's MMA to their audience and set their women's Bantamweight roster. Of course Ronda Rousey would be one coach and I would go with Meisha Tate as the other. Both women are attractive which will help bring in the casual audience to watch the show on FX, both are fantastic fighters and both have a rivalry which will make for great TV.
TUF should be full of women Bantamweights and the best women the UFC can find. Women like Sara McMann, Julie Budd, Alexis Davis etc etc.
If UFC really wants to make the women's Bantamweight division something more then a special attraction, then TUF is the way to go. At the same time if will freshen up TUF which has become a stale product. Format can remain the same, but at least with the women it will give TUF a fresh feel again. This will be a win-win situation for the UFC. You get over the womens division and you also freshen up TUF.
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