According to a March 1 post from Bleacher Report, women being great fighters doesn't sell. Sex does.
At least that's the argument made by Matt Saccaro of Bleacher Report, as he explained the chilling aftermath of Ronda Rousey's historic UFC 157 victory.
Instead of journalists focusing on Rousey's superb armbar technique to tap out Liz Carmouche, some media members honed in on controversial, sexy topics such as nip slips and wardrobe malfunctions.
The questionable reporting about Rousey opened the discussion amongst fans, fighters and media members, exactly what place sex appeal has in women's MMA, as the sport continues to push forward to mainstream legitimacy.
In the aftermath of UFC 157, some female fighters are coming out to take a stand against media members who use the sex appeal angle in their coverage of women's MMA.
Invicta FC star Sarah D'Alelio made an interesting point on the topic via Twitter, as she essentially blamed the media for making female fighters think they need to act sexy to get anywhere in MMA.
"I don't blame the girls who get 'sexy' for pervs like you" D'Alelio said in response to a media member who often takes a scandalous, gossipy TMZ/Deadspin style approach to reporting. "I blame pervs like you for making girls think they have to act like that to get anywhere in MMA."
D'Alelio makes a valid argument, but the situation is essentially a classic example of a "chicken-and-the-egg" scenario.
In the "chicken-and-the-egg" scenario, it is impossible to say which of two things existed first and which caused the other, and it's a perfectly fitting way to describe the relationship between female fighters using sex appeal to get ahead and the way the media decides to cover it.
Is the media to blame for making female fighters think they need to act sexy to get anywhere in MMA, or are journalists simply reacting to what they see from athletes?
Female athletes may decide to play up the sexy angle for a variety of reasons, only one of which being media coverage. Felice Herrig, the No. 5-ranked strawweight in the world, says using sex appeal helps her gain key sponsorships and help pay the bills for fight training.
Herrig decided for herself to market herself in that fashion to enhance her fighting career, and journalists reacted by opting to cover her fights.
Herrig's sexy angle existed first, which resulted in media coverage. Not the other way around, as D'Alelio argued.
"But you jumped on that trend and are perpetuating," D'Alelio added of the controversial sex appeal angle. "And it's not her fault."
Sure, the media does jump on the trend and perpetuates it, but part of the issue is that some female fighters market themselves as models and appreciate media coverage from a sexy angle.
Other female combatants frown upon that approach, which makes some media members conflicted as to how female fighters want to be reported on.
Moving forward, it seems the best approach would be for media members to aim for a "sexy" angle solely for the female fighters who market themselves also as models, while providing coverage of the other warriors of the sport in a more traditional fashion.