(Esther Lin/MMAFighting)Ronda Rousey and The Rise of Women in MMA Jessica Doerner July 27, 2015 News Women in MMA have been on the rise for a few years now, but will still have a long ways to go. Issues such as the availability of all weight classes in large promotions and equal pay are still at the forefront for women. The talent in women’s MMA has improved considerably over the past several years. The competition is much greater now then it was in 2011 when I had my first professional fight. The UFC has since added two weight classes, the 115-pound division (strawweight) and the 135-pound division (bantamweight). Invicta has weight classes from 105 pounds up to 145 pounds, which is the start of the big stage for most women in MMA. Bellator has recently stepped up and is adding more women’s weight classes. I believe a lot of the veteran female MMA fighters have had to work very hard to evolve with the sport. A lot of younger female fighters are taking the spotlight. They have had the opportunity to begin training at much younger ages as this sport has hit the mainstream for women. What will we see in the next five years for women’s MMA? I stand by the belief that in five years, we will still have fewer women than men in the sport and still have some issues with women receiving equal pay. I do think that the sport will continue to grow and that Bellator will continue to add more women’s weight classes. I think that the UFC will also expand the women’s division. I hold true to the belief that we will see them add a 125-pound division (flyweight) and possible 105-pound division in the next five years. It will be interesting to see how good the women fighters get and if they will ever be equal to the men as far as pay and numbers. Ronda Rousey is the top paid female MMA athlete, but she is not yet in the top 10 highest paid MMA fighters. Look for this to change in the years to come. Juchi A few clarifications would be appreciated, Jessica. When you state, “Ronda Rousey is the top paid female MMA athlete, but she is not yet in the top 10 highest paid MMA fighters.”, do you mean the top 10 highest paid MMA fighters ever or currently? Also, do you have any data you can provide to support your claim? Finally, what is your definition of “top paid?” Does that include endorsements, ppv shares, commercials, modeling, book sales, films, etc.?