Tag Archives: women’s sports

Poland’s First UFC Champion

By Kaleb Page

March 20, 2015

The world of mixed martial arts is growing ever so rapidly across the globe. Today the ‘fight game’ can be found in every corner, whether it is in Iran, South Korea or Sweden; mixed martial arts is growing.

The UFC, which is essentially the NBA or NFL of mixed martial arts, is taking full advantage of this boom in the sport. Finding rising stars from Russia, Iran, Sweden, China, South Korea and elsewhere. While the time is coming to see these rising countries disperse throughout the divisions in the organization, and eventually take stake as title contenders, first time champions from established countries are still there too.

Poland has and continues to be an MMA prospect proving ground. The UFC has 10 Polish fighters already on the roster, and have recently added three more. As you can see the UFC is making its European expansion and making a big push at the best in Poland.

However, just last weekend a champion was crowned in a brand new division and that champion just so happens to be Polish. The UFC added the women’s strawweight division (115 lbs.) just this year and rising to the challenge was a former Muay Thai and kickboxing champion. Her name is Jonna Jedrzejczyk (Yed-zhey-chik) and her name is something you might want to get to know.

Just like Ronda Rousey who is in the UFC, Jedrzejczyk is undefeated (9-0) and looks like a dominant force to rule the division. As the first Polish champion (third ever European champion) in the UFC, the accomplishment is one that her country celebrated.

UFC president Dana White was very impressed with how Jedrzejczyk took on a veteran in Carla Esparza and made her look like an amateur.

“I like people who try to finish you. I’ve been on the Joanna bandwagon since day one. Coming into this fight, the thing for her was her takedown defense, and boy did she tune up her takedown defense. She’s a beast.” – UFC president Dana White

I think it was interesting to see the coverage by the likes of ESPN’s specialty section on women’s sports called ESPN W. Not very often are we seeing the UFC or much of anything done to make the sport more mainstream (a side from some Fox Sports pieces as the UFC is with Fox). There are great stories in the world of mixed martial arts to be told.

Even though it is a combat sport, there are more to these fighters than just the cage. That is why it is important to not only chronicle the hard-work, dedication and background of these fighters to get to where they are, but it is also important to get to make these athletes centerpieces like we do other athletes (making them more personable).

Joanna Jedrzejczyk is also another women’s sports story to follow and maybe use as something to build more equality for women in the sports world. Especially with her success in a male dominated sport that is just now beginning to accept female participation.

Maybe with more spotlight toward the success of female fighters like Rousey and Jedrzejczyk, it will provide for stronger role models in sport for young girls to look up to and challenge the sports spectrum.

As for now Jedrzejczyk will continue to ride this champions high as the UFC will host an event in Poland this weekend. In attendance will be the new champion of Poland, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

 

Minnesota’s Historic Season Goes Unnoticed

BY LORI RAUDIO

This past Sunday, the University of Minnesota Gophers women’s hockey team made history. Not only did they win their second straight NCAA Championship, but they completed a perfect season (41-0-0). If you only catch the sports headlines, however, you probably didn’t even know women’s hockey was having its tournament.

What the Gophers did is no small feat and they are the first women’s hockey team to complete an undefeated season. Despite their success, there was little to no mention of the team in the media. It wasn’t covered on Sportscenter or any other major sports network, but it was covered online by ESPN’s female counterpart, espnW. The article did make ESPN’s homepage, but only at the very bottom of the page.

Sportscenter doesn’t show many NHL hockey highlights, so women’s hockey coverage is pretty much non-existent. Many other media outlets also chose to ignore this story, as it was overshadowed by March Madness, the Miami Heat’s win streak, and Tiger Woods regaining his world ranking. The Gophers’ accomplishments are a rare achievement and at least deserved some acknowledgement.

This echoes issues raised in my previous article about Brittney Griner and problems in women’s sport. It seems to be a never ending cycle. Women’s sports are seen as less competitive and exciting so the media doesn’t report on them very much. People who rely on these media outlets for news don’t hear about women’s teams or even know they exist. Therefore, women’s sports are silenced and ignored, unable to gain popularity.

It’s a shame the Gophers didn’t receive more recognition for their achievements. Their undefeated season is something no men’s team has done since 1970. These women, and other female athletes in every sport, are achieving exciting things, and the media needs to step up and give them the respect they deserve.

Brittney Griner challenges gender stereotypes

BY LORI RAUDIO

With March Madness in full swing, it is an exciting time in sports. Many people, however, forget there is a women’s tournament happening as well. With hours of coverage devoted to the men’s games, it’s easy to overlook the women. If ESPN or other media outlets even mention the women’s bracket, it’s most likely related to Baylor star Brittney Griner.

An ESPN article titled “What Brittney Griner Says About Us” by Kate Fagan did a great job illustrating the problem facing women’s sports. Fagan mentions because Griner is so good, people accuse her of being male. This occurs with many talented female athletes. Griner creates a problem for people who argue women’s games aren’t exciting or competitive. Because she actually makes the game exciting, she must be a male.

Females athletes are becoming tougher and more competitive. This contradicts the gender stereotype that women should be feminine and not overly muscular. Fagan writes, “Women’s basketball is maligned for not being as athletic as the men’s game, but as women become more athletic, these players are often labeled unfeminine, and therefore unwatchable.” I feel this perfectly sums up the problem facing women in sport.

Griner has changed the game of women’s basketball, but there is still work to be done. She will soon join the WNBA, which is even less popular than college basketball. Griner has handled all the scrutiny well, and maybe she can be the one to increase the popularity of the WNBA. To fix the problems facing women in sport, more people like Griner need challenge the conventional stereotype of female athletes.