‘Road to the Belt’ of a Female Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

Education Quarterly Reviews

ISSN 2621-5799

Published: 30 October 2019

‘Road to the Belt’ of a Female Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

Jocelyn Alberto Floresca, Gilda Lasat Uy

University of the Philippines Baguio, College of Human Kinetics UP Diliman

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10.31014/aior.1993.02.04.102

Pages: 732-743

Keywords: Culture, Gender, Motivation, Social Media

Abstract

The inclusion of females in the male-dominated sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has come a long way. Slowly but surely, women in the sport are coming to its prominence. Social changes, combined with adjustment in the society’s work force, have caused the creation of new spaces, such that women started to occupy sectors that formerly belonged solely to men. This paper looked into the factors contributing to the successful engagement of a Filipina professional fighter in the sport. A qualitative approach was used, specifically employing observation, unstructured interviews, data cross-checking, and netnography, to explore multiple realities of the subject under study. It yielded the following results: no serious personal problems were encountered being a female fighter in professional MMA; acceptance in the community was highly visible, and social media is both an ally and a detractor in the chosen career. Culture, team cohesion, fan support coupled with strong determination, conviction, and hard training were found to be key elements in pursuing the goal. While gender is a factor to be considered in the sport, it was not seen as a diminishing factor in the pursuit of dreams. As a highly televised spectator sport internationally, sports marketing was seen as an important tool in promoting the participation of female athletes in professional MMA. The “road to the belt,” thus, goes beyond the plan for the title in the “big fight.” It is, rather, the recognition of the athlete in the pursuit of championing the female in the MMA in the Philippines.

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