The face of women’s sports changed forever in June of 1972 with the passing of Title IX. Originally created to level the educational playing field for both men and women, Title IX became a revolution for women’s sports. After Title IX, it became common place to see a woman toting a baseball bat, or out on the court shooting hoops. But what about a woman with boxing gloves slung over her shoulder, or in a gi?

MMA is a sport dominated by men. Arguably, the most powerful man in the sport, UFC President Dana White, has said that women will never have a place in the biggest promotion on the planet.

Under the Zuffa banner, which includes the UFC and Strikeforce, as well as the now defunct WEC and Pride FC, there have been hundreds of events and thousands of fights. Yet, only two have been headlined by women, with both taking place in Strikeforce. Gina Carano and Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos headlined an event in August of 2009 and earlier this month, Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey headlined another card in Columbus, Ohio.

While Tate and Rousey put on a highly entertaining bout, with Rousey ultimately taking the bantamweight title from Tate with a vicious armbar, neither of these fights has made it out of the first round (Cyborg defeated Carano via TKO for the featherweight title).  After less than 10 minutes of main event action, and the UFC not being an option, it was only a matter of time before the ladies got another promotion of their own to showcase their abilities.

Enter Invicta Fighting Championships. Invicta FC is the latest all-female MMA promotion and is set to make their debut on April 28 in Kansas City, Kan. with an 11-fight card. Former Strikeforce bantamweight champ Marloes Coenen headlines the card in a rematch against Romy Ruyssen. While Coenen he may have the bigger name, Ruyssen will be looking to avenge the only loss of her six-fight professional career.

Invicta offers female fighters the chance to truly shine. Unlike most cards, where female fighters are relegated to the undercard and robbed of opportunities to reveal their talents, the promotion offers women’s MMA a chance to gain the traction it needs.

The timing couldn’t be better as the most prominent promotion showcasing female talent, Strikeforce, has seemingly forgotten about the featherweight division since Cyborg tested positive for steroids in late 2011.

Not to mention, since the Zuffa acquisition, Strikeforce’s future has been in constant limbo. Showtime currently has a contract with the promotion, guaranteeing its future through 2012, but with the network being at odds with Zuffa over production issues, there’s no guarantee that Strikeforce will be around come 2013.

With the uncertainty of Strikeforce, and more importantly the need for women’s MMA to have a higher level of visibility to ensure its longevity, April 28 and Invicta FC’s first event can’t come soon enough.

Photo: Marloes Coenen (Esther Lin/Strikeforce)

About The Author

Paige Berger

Relatively new to the sport of MMA, Paige is a life long athlete. She attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y., where she was a pioneer member of the women's ice hockey program. She also excelled in softball and soccer before deciding to focus on hockey. Born and raised in New York, she is an avid Yankees fan. Currently residing in Las Vegas, a move she made after falling in love with MMA while training at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., she is currently studying public relations and advertising at UNLV.