For years, UFC president Dana White dismissed calls to include women in the world's top MMA promotion saying that neither the talent nor the fan demand existed to make the idea viable. Then, Ronda Rousey happened.
As the UFC absorbed the now defunct Strikeforce promotion and many of its fighters, they decided to include its women's 135 pound division and champion Rousey, a former Olympic judo medalist. Rousey has proven to be a resounding success, inside the Octagon as well as outside of it with the additional attention she's brought the UFC.
As the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter, where Rousey and rival Miesha Tate coached men and women bantamweights opposite one another, nears it's conclusion, it has become clear that fight fans don't just want to watch "Rowdy" Ronda fight but rather that they enjoy watching women fight, generally. Oftentimes, much more so than they watch the men fight.
Episodes that have featured women's fights on TUF 18 have drawn significantly higher ratings than episodes that featured the men fight. Dana White has evidently seen the light when it comes to women's MMA and Friday announced that the UFC has plans to add a second women's weight class.
“We’re actually working on bringing in another division for the women, which I said wouldn’t happen for a long time,” White said during an interview on the Friday & The Kid podcast.
White went on to say that the new weight class will be 115 pounds. The UFC boss said he's pleasantly surprised at how much women's MMA has caught on with the public.
“There’s a lot of other women’s sports that people don’t care about and people don’t follow,” White said.
“On The Ultimate Fighter right now that’s airing, the women are outrating the men. When the women fight, the ratings are up 44 percent.
“I never in a million years thought it would take off the way it has."
Have you been watching The Ultimate Fighter season 18, and what do you think of the UFC's decision to add more women to its roster? Let us know in the comments section.
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