Sunday was our Pride Parade here in Victoria, BC, and as a Pride present from the UFC (or at least I’m going to take it that way), we got to see, for the first time, a belt going to an openly gay fighter, Amanda Nunes. On Saturday night for UFC 200, Nunes defeated Miesha Tate, the previous title holder in the Bantamweight division (Ronda Rousey’s division), by rear-naked choke. Though Tate tapped out, and the fight was technically won by submission, it was Nunes’ excellent striking, breaking Tate’s nose, that really gave her the victory.
Nunes’ girlfriend, Nina Ansaroff, is also a UFC fighter, but in the strawweight division.
To top it off, this title fight ended up being the main event at UFC 200, one of the most highly publicized UFC events to date. This is a pretty big deal for women’s MMA, because every single name on that main card was a big one. Two women headlined an event that also featured Brock Lesnar’s much-touted return to the octagon against Mark Hunt, a matchup between Daniel Cormier and recent substitution Anderson Silva, a fight for the interim Featherweight belt between Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo, and a Heavyweight match between Cain Velasquez and Travis Browne. Admittedly, there are a lot of ways in which Tate vs Nunes was the logical choice, since they were the only title defence on the card. But there’s no denying that fans were expecting an exciting match, and that the women delivered on that. And all this only a few years after UFC President saying that he was against women’s divisions.
So happy Pride, everybody, and let’s hope for even more encouraging times for women’s MMA.