Bellator roll into Dublin soon but where are the fucking women?

The 2nd largest largest MMA promotion in the world rolls into Dublin in a little over a month and the full fight card is pretty much filled out. As the guys over at Sports Joe have noted the card has been closed out with a number of local professional fighters.

This card along with the Newcastle card in a couple of weeks, is one of Bellator’s opening salvos in it’s quest to dominate the UK and Irish professional MMA scene in a much more profound way. They went on a summer spending spree in 2018 and signed up huge numbers of local talent in the UK and Ireland. Talent that would have cut it’s teeth in smaller professional promotions like Clan Wars, Cage Legacy and BAMMA to name but three.

Most of the summer and autumn signings would have been guaranteed 4 and 5 fight deals, based on the conversations I have been having with fighters on the subject. The 8 or 10 that have been announced in the last few weeks – I am not so sure about. I would imagine a lot are depending on a win or causing an upset on the night.

While it is great to see Bellator make the investment, their Achilles heel is the same as the UFC’s.

Women.

Yet again we have a situation on a 16 fight card that only two of the bouts are dedicated to the female side of the franchise. You can’t run a credible title series with so few fights and women represented. Although in fairness at least the two fights in question seem to be from the same weight class.

Women’s featherweight bout: Sinead Kavanagh (5-3) vs. Olga Rubin (5-0)

Women’s featherweight bout: Leah McCourt (1-1) vs. Hatice Ozyurt (2-6)

I think Bellator should really have a proper look at this and quickly. Everyone understands that there are not as many women competing in the sport as men but how can you hope to grow the sport for women if you don’t showcase them on your fight cards?

One method, I think, would be to take a concept similiar to the Cage Warrior academy system except to exclusively use it to develop female martial artists. This would help encourage and develop young fighters in a quasi-professional environment on a big stage. Run events exclusively for women at this level to increase the pool of female fighters ready for the next level.

Then at the upper echelons of the organisation dedicate a set number of female fights per event. So in an event such as Bellator 217 in the 3 Arena that would mean a fight card with 16 fights would have at least 5 or 6 female fights on it.

You can’t get to the level described above unless you are prepared to invest the time and develop the structures for it.

The professional organisation that takes this problem by the vagina will reap the monetary rewards in time methinks and then some.

Rest of Bellator 217 Card below.

Main card

Bantamweight Main Event: James Gallagher (7-1) vs. Steven Graham (6-3)

Lightweight Co-Main Event: Peter Queally (11-4-1) vs. Myles Price (10-7)

Prelims

Welterweight bout: Kiefer Crosbie (5-0) vs. Daniel Olejniczak (3-2-1)

Middleweight bout: Will Fleury (4-1) vs. Shaun Taylor (8-1)

Light heavyweight bout: Karl Moore (8-2) vs. Yannick Bahati (8-4-1 NC)

Flyweight bout: Ryan Curtis (4-1) vs. Luis Gonzalez (8-4)

Bantamweight bout: Ian Cleary (1-1) vs. Micky Doran (pro debut)

Welterweight bout: Walter Gahadza (17-3) vs. Ruben Crawford (16-3)

Lightweight bout: Sam Slater (2-0) vs. Chris Duncan (3-0)

Lightweight bout: Paul Redmond (14-7) vs. Charlie Leary (15-9-1)

Welterweight bout: Richard Kiely (2-1) vs. Mickael Bucher (3-4)

Middleweight bout: John Redmond (7-13) vs. George Tokkos (4-0)

Featherweight bout: Richie Smullen (3-1-1) vs. Adam Gustab (3-3)

Featherweight bout: Dylan Logan (2-3) vs. Andrew Murphy (1-2)

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