Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp said on March 16 in an exclusive chat with Long Island MMA Examiner Eric Holden that she is not necessarily opposed to MMA writers playing up the "sexy" angle for female fighters.
"No, not all! They are attractive girls and there is no reason to try and hide it," Knapp said of an article about Invicta FC 4 being the "sexiest card" of last year. "I didn't feel like you were disrespectful at all and that is all I care about. It is up to us to create the want and desire to get people to tune in and watch the girls. Once they do tune in they will be sold on the girls talent."
Knapp hit the nail on the head, as fighters who play up the "sexy" angle may help draw in casual fans that may not have otherwise tuned in.
Once the casual fans are drawn in for whatever reason, the hope is that those people will discover the true talent inside the cage.
Female fighters who play up the "sexy" angle by posing in bras and bikinis for seductive photo shoots, such as Felice Herrig, Rachael Cummins and others, help draw interest from crossover fans who may not have otherwise given fighters like Tara LaRosa or Sarah D'Alelio a chance to begin with.
Rousey appeared in promotional ads wearing tight-fitting leather, and followed it up by posing artistically nude for ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue.
Those shoots helped enhance her career personally, but it was also beneficial to the sport of women's MMA because she gave people the desire to tune in and watch girls fight.
When folks did ultimately tune in for the Rousey vs Tate fight, what they saw was a far cry from lingerie football league action.
Female MMA stars are serious athletes who come to brawl just as hard as the men, and they leave the cage bruised, bloodied and battered much like their male counterparts.
Many people wouldn't have tuned in for the Rousey vs Tate fight had it not been for Showtime's marketing and promotional efforts, where the ladies were essentially portrayed as a couple "hot chicks" fighting inside a cage.
For whatever reason it was that fans decided to give the fight a chance, there's no doubt that "sexy" fighters such as Rousey and Tate helped draw attention to other female brawlers that do not play up their good looks.
While Knapp is not necessarily opposed to MMA writers playing up the sexy angle, she is hopeful that other female fighters receive attention from the media.
"You have a right to write what you feel," Knapp said. "Also, just as we don't want to discriminate against girls that are not as attractive, we don't want to hold back or discriminate against those that are."