Bob Dylan said “Times are a Changin’” and Etta James sung “this is a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing…nothing without a woman or a girl” that leads us to get in to BCMMA 16, their next card is one to be witnessed. On July 26th the Essex based Mixed Martial arts organisation have announced an all-female main card, hence the Etta James thing. The promotion owned by Cage Warriors veteran Jack ‘Stone’ Mason and Chris Young are about to raise the bar. I said to some overlords of UK MMA knowledge “this must be the first time this has been done, an all-female fight card?” Cue impressions of Rodin’s thinker. The answer that came back was “NO! An event happened three years ago, which was full of female fighters”. That proves this type of card doesn’t happen often in this country, which is why that event is remembered by the special ones, the brain trust of the UK MMA guvnors.
BCMMA 16 is a far cry from Bellator cancelling their female division back in 2014 and companies struggling to carry a division due to not enough female warriors out there. This is changing (hence the Bob Dylan reference). Since the moment Cris Cyborg and Gina Carano headlined Strikeforce, since that moment Ronda Rousey became the PPV star for the UFC, this enlightened promotions to enlist their own female stars and build for the future.
With this Essex based group growing in stature with their amassed talent filled roster, such as undefeated flyweight champion Andy Young, Flyweight contender Luis Gonzales, Bantamweight Corrin Eaton and Welterweight champion Thomas Robertson, the company is making waves like King Knut. Adding to the growth are top female athletes on their roster, such as Bryony Tyrell, Polly Beauchamp, Molly Pearson-McCann and Kerry Hughes who are all involved in the next showcase. This shows progression, a progression that the rest of UK and European organisations are missing. This is BCMMA’s first all-female pro card since their debut in 2012 and will be a night to remember.
Kerry ‘Rocksteady’ Hughes is signed to fight French 27-year-old Stephanie Page. Page is on a two fight winning streak. It’s been two years since Hughes entered the cage and will be a slobber knocker as Jim Ross from WWE fame would say. The return for Kerry Hughes would’ve been sooner, but a bout with Sinead Kavanagh at BAMMA was cancelled due to Kavanagh wanting to change the agreed weight. ‘Rocksteady’ stood her ground about the weight issue and the fight was cancelled. More athletes and companies can make a stand to enable this evolution. Hughes vs Page is for the Bantamweight title and main event at Charter Hall in Colchester, 45 minutes by train from Stratford and a long walk back if you miss the train.
Next is Molly ‘Meatball’ Pearson-McCann vs Clemence Schreiber is for the inaugural flyweight title. ‘Meatball’ comes off a victory at April 16th Shock ‘n’ Awe event. Her pro record is 2/1 with the loss via decision at the XFC 12 in Brazil. French fighter Clemence Schrieber is looking to get that winning streak back, after a submission loss at HFC 6 in March this year.
In the Strawweight division, Bryony Tyrell fights 23-year-old Dutch Kickboxing champion Mellony Geugjes. Tyrell is undefeated in her pro career with victories at BCMMA and Shock n’ Awe pro events. Mellony is beginning her MMA career, as she joins this historic fight card for British Challenge Mixed Martials arts. Polly Beauchamp and Wendy McKenna, two rising stars battle it out for the Amateur Strawweight belt.
Will there be a world beater of the future on this card? Will Hughes, Tyrell, Beauchamp, McKenna, McCann follow the footsteps of Laura Howarth to Invicta. Will any of them follow the path led beautifully by Rosi Sexton, who fought, battled and bled in cages belonging to Cage Warriors, Bellator and the UFC, against the likes of Gina Carano, Aisling Daly, and current UFC Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Sexton is the first British female to fight in the UFC. So she didn’t just open that door, she built it for moments like this. With events like BCMMA 16 it shows that they didn’t come from Venus to take part, they came to take over.
This article comes to you by way of Mark Wincott. You can follow him on Twitter @Tattooed_Ginge
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