These tough women get tough, grit their teeth through some gruesome injuries, and sometimes get caught up in drama outside the ring, too. Welcome to the world of women’s MMA.
Ronda Rousey’s Brutal Comeback Defeat
One of the most shocking fights in recent UFC history took place between popular UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and Brazilian Champion Amanda Nunes. The fight was hyped as Rousey’s big comeback, but she faced a shocking defeat in the first round at UFC 207.
Rousey wasn’t even able to build up momentum, as Nunes quickly fired long, straight rights over the top that left Rousey staggering. Power shots left Rousey stunned, and the referee stepped in at just 48 seconds to save her from more damage. Before the fight, Rousey was said to be mentally shaken by Nunes, and had stayed out of the public spotlight for close to a year after her defeat by Holly Holm.
Ronda Rousey’s Husband Wants to Fight Her Haters
After Ronda Rousey’s defeat to Amanda Nunes, haters gleefully celebrated her loss. One Bellator fighter, known as Michael “Venom” Page even created an Instagram photo mocking Rousey’s staggering to a dance remix. Page hasn’t racked up nearly as many championship titles as Rousey, and he’s developed a reputation as an attention seeker.
But Travis Browne, Rousey’s UFC heavyweight boyfriend, was definitely not amused. He tweeted, “[Expletive] you, @Michaelpage247 I’m ready any time [expletive],” implying he would fight Page for the viral video. Page responded by posting yet another video of Rousey. Still, it’s nice to know Browne has her back.
The Cyborg’s Scandal
Before Ronda Rousey came onto the scene, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (formerly Santos) dominated the division. Justino made her MMA debut in the United states in 2008, and developed a reputation for winning fights through ferocity and aggression.
It turns out, she may have had a little more aggression than normal thanks to some controlled substances. In 2012, it was announced she tested positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. As a result, her last fight’s result was changed to a no contest, and she had her license suspended for one year. She was also fined $2,500. After her suspension was up, she continued to fight.
Pearl Gonzalez’s Enhancements
UFC fighter Pearl Gonzalez was nearly ruled out of an event for a unique reason. Gonzalez was slated to fight fellow straw weight Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 210, but after the weigh in, a New York State Athletic Commission official told her she wouldn’t be able to fight in the state because she had breast implants, which are banned among combat-sports competitors.
The New York State Athletic Commission then conducted a full review of the information and cleared Pearl Gonzalez to participate in UFC 210. She made her UFC debut against Calvillo as planned. UFC president Dana White tweeted empathetically about the news, insisting the fight was still on.
Leslie Smith’s Gruesome Injury
Injuries are just a part of the job for UFC fighters, but sometimes there’s an injury so gruesome it leaves everyone in the audience cringing for days. That’s what happened with UFC’s number 3 ranked 125-pound fighter, Leslie Smith. Smith was fighting Jessica Eye when she took a right hand to the side of her head which caused her cauliflower ear to explode. Take a moment.
The fight was stopped shortly after with Smith’s ear basically torn in half, dangling from her head. Her ear was stitched up backstage, but she will have to wear headgear for the rest of her career, and she wasn’t able to fight for 50 days.
Fallon Fox is Shaking Up MMA
41-year old MMA fighter Fallon Fox is shaking up women’s MMA. The Navy vet came out as transgender in a March 2013 interview with Outsports writer Cyd Zeigler and Sports Illustrated following her first two professional fights. Fox is the first openly transgender athlete in MMA history.
Breaking down barriers has never been easy, and Fox faced a lot of backlash after coming out. UFC color commentator Joe Rogan repeatedly insisted Fox wasn’t really a woman and insisted Fox must have more bone density and muscle mass than women ever could in the ring. That was just the beginning of the backlash against Fox.
Ronda Rousey’s Hostile Response to Fox
Ronda Rousey had a very hostile response to Fallon Fox coming out. The MMA fighter said of Fox, “She can try hormones, chop her pecker off, but it’s still the same bone structure as a man has. It’s an advantage. I don’t think it’s fair.”
At the same time, Rousey stated that she would still be willing to fight Fox, “I can knock out anyone in the world.” After those hateful comments, Fox may be looking forward to her chance in the ring with Rousey. Rousey and Joe Rogan weren’t the only critics of Fox. She had to go up against someone even bigger…
The UFC President vs. Fallon Fox
After Fallon Fox came out, the UFC’s president Dana White joined in on slamming the MMA fighter. “I’ll leave it up to the athletic commissions, and the doctors and scientists,” White said about Fox being allowed to compete in women’s divisions. “I don’t think that somebody who used to be a man and became a woman should be able to fight another woman.”
Despite the hostility, Fox continued her efforts to be able o fight in the UFC, citing Olympic committee rules and medical evidence that transgender athletes do not have a significant competitive advantage. Her self-advocacy is documented in the film Game Face.
Jen Aniano’s Feud with Sarah Goodlaxson
Jen Aniano has been dying to fight Sarah Goodlaxson for years, but when Goodlaxson was forced to back out of their first scheduled fight, Aniano fired back on social media. “Sarah Goodlaxson, you are no Mixed Martial Artist,” she wrote. “You are a trash talker that cannot back up your bark with any kind of bite.”
“To set the record straight,” she continued, “Sarah has called me out and then backed out of the fight. I can say with confidence that she is a coward.” Ouch. That blow definitely landed. They’re not the only MMA fighters to have feuds outside the ring.
Rousey Makes It Personal with Miesha Tate
Ronda Rousey stirred up some drama with Miesha Tate when she said she could beat up Tate’s UFC star boyfriend, Bryan Caraway. Then, the feud escalated when Bryan Caraway fired back on Twitter in 2012, saying Rousey was an “unintelligent bimbo,” and promising he would knock her teeth down her throat. Yikes!
Caraway apologized for the comments, but Rousey wasn’t about to let it go. She tapped out Tate with an armbar during their Strikeforce fight that year and later called out Caraway in a Joe Rogan video blog. Tate said she thought people were sick and tired of hearing Rousey “run her mouth.”
Rousey vs. The Ring Girl
Miesha Tate isn’t the only one who has drawn fire from Ronda Rousey. Octagon ring card girl Arianny Celeste has a longstanding feud with the one-time UFC champion. Celeste has called Rousey a “big bully,” but Rousey insists she’s not a bully, she’s just “[expletive] right.”
“What did I say that I was a bully?” asked Rousey. “That the fighters should get paid more than the ring girls? How does that make me a bully? That makes me [expletive] right. I’m sorry, but she wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the fighters. She wouldn’t.” Rousey added, “Do you think her walking in circles around the two guys or two girls out there fighting for their lives is worth more? You think she works harder than they do?”
Salacious Trash Talk
Elite XC’s brash and confident Tonya Evinger made waves with some pre-fight trash talk about Gina Carano, but the hype wasn’t all negative. Before the event held in Hawaii, Evinger said, “I’d rather make out with Gina, but I am here to knock her out. Either way she wants it, though, is fine with me.”
It may have just been a savvy way to get people talking about the fight in a way they weren’t before, but it’s not the only time Tonya Evinger has made waves for something make-out related. You won’t believe the stunt she pulled with this reporter.
The Victory Kiss
After defending her title at the Invicta FC 17 in Costa Mesa, California, Tonya Evinger puked into a bucket (almost a trademark of hers) and sealed her victory with a kiss. Evinger said she wanted to win MMA Moment of the Year, then proceeded to lay a kiss on Invicta in-cage announcer Laura Sanko. Sanko pulled back and laughed it off, later tweeting, “I literally don’t even know what to say lol! That was hilarious.”
Still, the move was a decisive one, with many saying the openly gay Evinger shouldn’t have kissed the reporter. Sanko, for one, would like the haters to back off. “She got so much hate for that on Twitter for months,” said Sanko. “To me, this whole thing is really funny. Then I start reading the stuff that they’re saying about her, and I honestly started getting choked up.”
The Preacher’s Daughter
Holly Holm is one of the best MMA fighters in the ring today. She’s a multiple time world champion in boxing and has defended her titles 18 times in three weight classes. She might be best known for her fight in Melbourne when she captured the bantamweight title and claimed Ronda Rousey’s first lost ever in the sport. She’s known as a quick mover and defeats her rivals with a variety of kicking techniques.
She earned the nickname “The Preacher’s Daughter” because her father, Roger Holm, is a Church of Christ Preacher in New Mexico. This UFC champion definitely doesn’t fit the fragile, naive stereotype of a preacher’s daughter though.
Rhonda Rousey Poses For ESPN Body Issue
In 2012 Rhonda Rousey posed for, and made the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue, much to the delight of fans. In an interview with Jim Norton and Opie Radio, she revealed what persuaded her to pose for the shoot. Rousey explained that she found naked photos of herself on an ex-boyfriend’s computer that were taken without her knowledge. “You know when you’re just comfortably naked around somebody… I just thought that he was on his phone texting people.” Furious, she deleted his computer hard drive and decided, “If there’s naked pictures out there, I’m going to go take naked pictures myself and I’m going to put it out there on my terms.”
The Fighter Nicknamed “Cupcake”
With a nickname like “Cupcake” you may think there’s nothing to be intimidated by—but you would be wrong. Miesha Tate is known as a pioneer in the women’s MMA world. Though she’s semi-retired now, she was known for her grappling ability, her feuds with Ronda Rousey, and for taking down Holly Holm via technical submission.
Tate had her eye on a career after fighting and also modeled for numerous websites and publications. She was also featured as a character in the EA Sports UFC video game. Recently, Miesha Tate signed a contract with Fox Sports, and joined the UFC analytical desk for FS1.
Miesha Tate Is a Real-Life Superhero
In addition to being one of the most awesome MMA fighters, Miesha Tate also moonlights as a superhero. She was hiking a trail at Mary Jane Falls near Las Vegas when she came across a family and a 6-year old girl named Kai who broke her arm at the top of the mountain. The parents were struggling with their decent down the 2.6-mile trail when Tate arrived and saved the day.
The parents described Tate as “an amazing and humble person” who “saved us hours of hiking and helped us get her to the hospital sooner.” Tate also wrote about the experience on Facebook, saying it was “one of the most rewarding days of my athletic career.” That’s not all she had to say.
Miesha Tate also pointed out that helping Kai get to the hospital faster was only possible because of her strength. “I want to point out that I have been told many times that I am ‘too buff’ or ‘manly’ that I should stop lifting weights, that it’s ‘gross’ and not attractive for a woman,” wrote Tate. “I am so happy I never listened to the limitations others wanted to put on me and I hope that our youth knows that [they] don’t have to conform.”
“We agreed we would both be strong for each other,” she said of Kai. “Teamwork at its best!” This isn’t the only time Miesha Tate has stepped in to save the day.
Miesha Tate Saves Her Boyfriend’s Mom
Miesha Tate definitely knows how to win over the parents. When she and her UFC fighter boyfriend Brian Caraway were on vacation in Mexico, Tate stepped up in a heroic way. Caraway brought his mother along since she’d sacrificed vacations to support him and his siblings growing up.
However, his mother, who is asthmatic, had an attack when she tried to swim back to the boat. By the time Caraway and Tate swam back to her, she was completely blue. CPR wasn’t working, so Tate grabbed the inhaler. “Without even thinking about what it might do to her, she takes like, 10 puffs … and starts giving my mom mouth-to-mouth,” said Caraway. Tate’s quick thinking saved her life.
The Pint-Sized Fighter
Who says a 115-pound woman can’t dominate in the ring? Joanna Jedrzejczyk may be pint-sized, but this Polish strawweight champion of the world takes down her opponents with devastating speed and precision. She’s also the #1 pound-for-pound female MMA fighter in the world.
She constantly varies between high punches and body shots, while using high front kicks, knees, and elbows to confuse the opponent. UFC president Dana White said, “Her killer instinct is ridiculous.” Because her last name is difficult to pronounce, fans have dubbed her “Joanna Champion” or “Joanna Violence.” We can’t think of more appropriate nicknames than that.
The 5’3″ Warrior
Joanna Jedrzejcyk isn’t the only tiny woman who packs a powerful punch in the MMA world. Megumi Fujii, though she’s now retired, weighed in at 106 to 120 pounds during her career, but her fights were can’t miss events. She had a 22-win streak before her first lost.
Fujii specialized in submission and frequently used the Inazuma Toe Hold submission, dubbed the Megulock by fans. Fujii is also a decorated fighter outside of the mixed martial arts world and holds a black belt in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While Fujii has left the MMA world, her unforgettable fights will live on in memory (and on YouTube).
Rousey Spotted With Ring, Browne’s Ex Furious
Top MMA fighters Travis Browne and Rhonda Rousey announced they were together in October of 2015. At the time Browne was still married to Jenna Renee Webb, who he married earlier that same year, in January. However, they were separated after Webb posted her images of her bruised body on Instagram and stated she was considering pressing domestic violence charges against Browne.
Webb and Browne didn’t officially divorce until February 21, 2016, so when Rousey was spotted wearing a large rock on her ring finger while co-hosting Saturday Night Live on January 23rd, Webb was furious. The model couldn’t help but take to social media once again to bash Rousey, but it appears she may have deleted the angry Instagram post. Rumors began to circulate about an engagement, but both parties denied it.
They Officially Announce Their Engagement
On April 20th, Rhonda Rousey and Travis Browne officially announced their engagement after a TMZ camera spotted them stepping out in LA. Browne said he proposed while they were on a trip to New Zealand, standing under a waterfall a week before.The MMA power couple says they plan on marrying soon.
Now that Browne is officially divorced from Webb, the couple is able to enjoy their engagement and ignore any criticism of their relationship. The ring spotted on Rousey’s finger is not the same one she was wearing on SNL, and the love-drunk couple appears to be carefree from any drama.
Wedding Pictures Officially Shared!
The two were wed outdoors in Hawaii in what Ronda Rousey described as a backyard Mexican Corona party. Designer Gala Lahav was adamant in praising how happy Rousey looked at her final fitting, saying she was the epitome of a blushing bride.
Her husband posted a picture on Instagram of the two with the caption: “What an amazing day!! She is so perfect in every way! She makes me so happy! She is my other half! I Love You @rondarousey #browsey2017” It sounds like it’s true and real love. Hopefully, it stays this way the whole marriage.
Jessica Aguilar Adult Film Appearance
Jessica Aguilar made a special appearance in an adult film. It’s special because it was a non-nude and non-intercourse appearance but it still counts. A niche in these videos involving wrestling women is that the more they wrestle, the fewer clothes they begin to have and eventually it turns into the real action.
In one of these videos, Aguilar was showcasing the proper way to choke a woman. Then soon after, what people came to see starts to happen but she isn’t part of any of that in the video. Do you think the fact that she is lesbian she agreed to do this scene? “I am not bisexual, I am 100 percent a lesbian,” she told Huffington Post in 2012. “I am proud to be a leader for females across the globe in the LGBT world!”
Ronda’s Leaked Pictures
Thanks to Ronda Rousey’s previous boyfriend, she had to discover a horde of nude photos of herself. Rousey called him “Snappers McCreepy” because he would take pictures of her discretely.
“It was like two weeks before (my first title defense) and I was pumping out a lot of social media to try and get people to pay attention,” she said. “He went to work and I stayed behind and was using his computer.” “I was downloading something and then I just saw a bunch of [expletive]! ‘What is that?’ It looked like it was amateurly taken. I had to look so I looked at it and it was all me.”
Controversy Over Man Vs. Woman
On Dec. 20 back 2013, history was about to be made. Juliana Velasquez was set to take on Emerson Falcao as the first ever match between man and woman. The promoter of the fight said “everything will be done within the law and safely” but how safe can it be?
“Andre Pederneiras came up with the idea,” Velasquez said. “He asked Team Nogueira for a female fighter and my team believes I’m ready, so I accepted the challenge. My expectations are the best. I’m well trained to get there and win.” The fight never came to fruition.
In the middle of 2017, Miesha Tate gave her opinion on the whole Germaine de Randamie and Cris Cyborg fight. People were saying that Randamie was afraid of this bout and that caused a ton of controversy. Tate, however, had a different opinion.
“I do respect and understand what Germaine is saying,” Tate said. “And I don’t think she’s scared of Cyborg. She’s a fighter. She’s been kickboxing forever. She’s one of the baddest women on the planet. “If you beat Cyborg, you’re on another level of respect. And if you lose, it’s like, well so has everybody. So, my opinion of it is, as a fighter, just from a fighter standpoint I think it would be an awesome thing to be able to fight Cyborg.”
Amanda Nunes Responds To Critics
When the head of the sport calls you out, you know it’s bad. You’ve already been the topic of conversation from the UFC community so that just adds insult to injury. The reason for all this is because she backed out of her rematch with Valentina Shevchenko. She backed out because she was hospitalized the morning of with sinusitis. That’s when Dana White said her withdrawal was “90 percent mental and maybe ten percent physical.”
“I want to say something. This is the fight that I want,” Nunes said unprompted Thursday on a UFC 215 media conference call. “I don’t have anybody in this division that I don’t want to fight.”
Getting Under Their Skin
Before her fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Rose Namajunas was intimidated. That’s what Jedrzejczyk hoped would happen because she has a history of getting under the skins of her opponents. Luckily, Namajunas is as stone cold as they come.
“I think that they almost lose the fight before it even starts,” Namajunas said about Jedrzejczyk’s past opposition. “You see that with all the greatest in the world or all the greatest of all time. They’re not joking around. I think that a lot of the opponents she’s faced, not all of them, but they’re afraid of her and it shows. I’m definitely the most complete fighter she’s ever faced. I have that going into it.”
Let’s dive into some of the biggest upsets…
Zolia Cooks Rosie
Having worked her way to a 10-1 record, Rosie Sexton was primed for a victory against Zoila Frausto in 2010. Sexton is a women’s MMA pioneer over in the United Kingdom so her victory was only more fitting to be. However, right from the start, it was clear that Frausto was the superior opponent.
Sexton was aware that in order to survive the fight, she was to take it to the ground but as she tried to move low leading with her head, Frausto struck her right in her head with a crucial knee that folded Sexton.
Monica Franco Surprises Many
Up until her fight with Jessica Doerner, Monica Franco had an amateur record of 1-5. Rightfully so, no one expected much from Franco heading into her professional debut with a record like that, especially since Doerner was a seasoned fighter back in 2015.
As the fight went on, Franco threw every type of punch and kick, landing in pivotal places but somehow Doerner withstood all of her attempts. Franco knew she had to summon something special to win. A spinning backfist to the face 12 seconds into the second round is what it took to knockout Doerner.
Alida Gray Ends It Quick
In a fighter’s third professional fight, there isn’t much expectation for anyone who is under the radar. That was the case for Alida Gray when she headed into her bout with Soannia Tiem. Once the fight started, it didn’t last very long. Tiem tried to do a push kick for distance creating but Gray negated that and responded with an unimaginable force.
Gray planted her feet after she avoided the kick and landed a bomb right on Tiem’s head! The strike immediately sent Tiem to the canvas and the fight only lasted five seconds.
Jinh Yu Frey Takes Down Darla Harris
It was the second professional fight for Jinh Yu Frey and her background made her a bit of a mystery. Frey has her associates degree in Nuclear Medicine and her bachelors in Radiological Sciences. Oh, and we can’t forget that she was working on her MBA and working full-time at a cancer facility while training for the fight. All of those factors made her an interesting challenger.
Fighting against Darla Harris, she made Harris see stars with a head kick then a left to the chin made Harris go to sleep on the canvas. Since the fight, she has completed her MBA.
Miesha Tate Gets Punished
This isn’t the first time Miesha Tate has been mentioned here and this time she’s on the negative side of things. In 2007, Tate agreed to fight in the BodogFIGHT tournament. She started off with a victory but her next fight with Kaitlin Young would prove to be her last in the tournament.
Young was an up and coming fighter that had no fans but that would soon change after she gave Tate a hurting she wouldn’t forget. After a head kick, a knee and one more kick to the head, Tate fell to the ground. Her experience allowed her to get back up but all it took was one more powerful kick to finish the fight.