Ronda Rousey Gets Rowdy for the Legalization of MMA

By Dana Zillgitt, Regular ContributorAugust 12, 2015

There’s nothing more intimidating than a woman who knows her worth and isn’t afraid to fight like hell to preserve and further it. In a nutshell and then some, that’s Ronda Rousey. Currently, she’s the biggest name in the game with only 12 fights under her undefeated belt. Her opponents have lasted a combined 25 minutes and her past two lasted 14 and 34 seconds. She’s a straight up beast, and she’s just getting started, which could be terrifying if you’re ever in the octagon with her, but frankly, it’s just inspiring.

In March, Ronda went on Good Morning America to discuss legalizing mixed martial arts (MMA) in the great state of New York.

But wait.... She’s a professional MMA fighter-what do you mean it’s illegal in New York? Is it illegal everywhere else? Nope, just at the professional level and only in the Empire State.

So why’s Ronda Rousey fighting for it, no pun intended, if it’s legal everywhere else?


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Simple. Sixteen thousand MMA fighters competed last year in amateur events. And anywhere else, those would be great number. But the thing about these events being amatuer events only means that there are no regulations: No drug testing preventing performance enhancers, no medical screenings, and no educated or trained referees who have any idea real what they’re doing. And for the female MMA fighters? That means no pregnancy testing either. There’s no protection if an athlete gets hurt like there is at the professional level. Ronda Rousey met with the governor of New York to discuss the legalization of the sport and pushed through both the state Senate and Assembly. Nothing that has been done before. But she believes he’s on their side.

There’s always the argument in this process that MMA is somehow anti-feminine. That women shouldn’t be competing in this dangerous sport-it’s simply too hazardous. Leave it to the boys, and let the girls be the ones to switch the round numbers. Rousey’s responds to these opinions by saying, “There are so many ridiculous arguments that MMA is somehow anti-woman. Fighting is not a man’s thing, it’s a human thing. To say it’s anti-woman is an anti-feminist statement. I’m the biggest draw in the sport, and I’m a woman. How is that anti-woman?”

She goes on to explain why legalizing professional fighting in New York means more than just regulations and pregnancy tests. It’s more than the fact that it pays her bills and has earned her international recognition. In her words, MMA is the first sport to not differentiate between the genders.

No matter if it’s a female or male fight, each competitor is simply introduced as the defending champion of each weight class. There’s no pronoun introduced beforehand. No other sport has done this to date.

Maybe mixed martial arts can do this more easily because it’s such a young sport, but the truth is, it’s still seen as a male dominated sport, making this lack of distinction that much more impressive.

So where to go from here? The bill recently went to the state legislature and is currently in the state Assembly, waiting for either a stamp of approval or a straight up veto. Fingers crossed it actually goes through this year, but if history is any indication, there is a chance they simply won’t vote on it. But knowing Rousey, she’s not afraid to get a little rowdy in order to make sure this goes through to make sure each fighter has the chance to fight professionally and be safe while doing so.

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About Dana

DANA_ZILLGITT_writer_bio_(1).jpgDana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.

Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.


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