meisha-tate-20.jpg(This story appeared in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

The first time two women fought in the UFC octagon, it was cause for an all-out media blitz by the world’s largest MMA promotion. The second time felt more like just another fight — only better.

At The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in Las Vegas, undefeated bantamweight Cat Zingano (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) came from behind to beat former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate (13-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) by third-round TKO in easily the most exciting and brutal bout on the 12-fight card.

The UFC deemed Zingano and Tate worthy of $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonuses, and fans were reminded why female MMA fighters have a reputation for stealing the show in a male-dominated sport.

But now that the UFC’s experiment with women’s MMA is off to such an auspicious start, it’s hard not to wonder why it took so long.

For years UFC President Dana White complained that there wasn’t enough depth in women’s MMA. Then he met current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, and her potential to become an instant superstar convinced him that maybe depth wasn’t so important after all.

But as Zingano and Tate demonstrated Saturday, there might be more talent in the women’s division than White realized.

That revelation couldn’t come at a better time for the UFC, which has struggled recently to hold fight cards together through the strain of last-minute injuries and a demanding TV schedule. To keep pace without diluting the quality of its events, the UFC needs a new source of stars.

That’s where the women come in, or at least where they should. Women’s MMA offers the perfect untapped resource.

In the next three months, at least two more women’s bouts are slated for UFC fight cards. If they prove to be anywhere near as exciting as Zingano-Tate, the organization might wish it had booked more of them.

The UFC is a late adopter of women’s MMA. Competitors have been featuring female fights for years, but the UFC was reluctant to get into the business until it seemed all but unavoidable.

Now that female fighters are starting to make their impact felt in the cage, it seems like the UFC needs them as much as they need it.

It took too long for White and the UFC to see the potential in women’s MMA. They have some catching up to do.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

(Pictured: Miesha Tate)

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie Rankings, April 26: We have a new pound-for-pound king

  • 29 days ago
  • 29 views

Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson fought back-to-back this past Saturday at UFC 197. They both won convincingly, but “Mighty Mouse” has leapfrogged “Bones” on our pound-for-pound list. Filed under: Be read news >>

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Got Classic Reebok Alien Stompers from ‘Aliens’

  • 28 days ago
  • 24 views

Joanna Jedrzejczyk copped the Reebok Alien Stompers and showed them off on Instagram earlier today. Just another reason why she's the coolest. read news >>

Travis Browne: Media let me down during domestic abuse allegations (Yahoo Sports)

  • 26 days ago
  • 26 views

From Yahoo Sports: Ronda Rousey's boyfriend became emotional and fought back tears on multiple occasions in discussing the claims made by his ex-wife. read news >>

Travis Browne: Media let me down during domestic abuse allegations (Yahoo Sports)

  • 26 days ago
  • 15 views

From Yahoo Sports: Ronda Rousey's boyfriend became emotional and fought back tears on multiple occasions in discussing the claims made by his ex-wife. read news >>

UFC and Wrestling Canada Lutte Announce Partnership

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

UFC® today announced a new partnership agreement with Wrestling Canada Lutte to actively promote amateur and Olympic wrestling throughout Canada. read news >>

UFC Renews Partnership with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation

  • 22 days ago
  • 8 views

UFC today announced the renewal of its partnership with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). read news >>

Returning to MMA at 41, Cindy Hales Wants to See How She Stacks Up Against the New Kids

  • 18 days ago
  • 9 views

Not having fought since 2008, 41-year-old Cindy Hales is back to see how she stacks up against the new crop of kids. read news >>

UFC Rotterdam Video: Gunnar Nelson – Proud Icelandic Fighter

  • 18 days ago
  • 11 views

Gunnar Nelson is proud of the Icelandic roots that helped shape him into the fighter he is today. Nelson faces Albert Tumenov at UFC Fight Night 87 on Sunday. read news >>

UFC to Return to Germany, Announces Hamburg Event Set for September 3

  • 17 days ago
  • 6 views

The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today that it will host an event in Hamburg, Germany on Sept. 3. read news >>