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It’s not something you see every day: moms in the middle of an octagon, fighting, literally, for an opportunity of a lifetime. Welcome to The Ultimate Fighter on Fox Sports -- a fierce competition of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters trying to win a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Never before have I seen anything like it, and I have to be honest: I love it. Put the violence aside for a second and consider that for the first time ever, women are competing alongside men (and they’re actually amazing at it) and even training men to be MMA fighters. Back in 2011, UFC president Dana White vowed never to let women fight in the UFC. Now, they’re coaching one of the biggest sports competitions in the world today.
I've been a huge fan of the UFC for years. The truth is, if you have a husband like mine, who’s always watching MMA and renting the Pay-Per-View events, you kinda have to get into it. And I know I'm not alone -- fellow moms who are MMA fans, I’ve seen you! When I was eight months pregnant with my first son, I went to UFC 101 in Philadelphia and I saw pregnant women everywhere. We were out representing in full force. I guess that’s why this season of The Ultimate Fighter makes me all the more excited. Once, we moms were relegated to the sidelines, watching those fights. Now, we’re actually in them! And even if you're not an MMA fan (yet) you have to admit it's a great leap forward for women.
During the show's premiere on Wednesday night, I had chills when I watched Peggy Morgan and Jessica Rakoczy -- both single moms -- talk about their kids. Morgan explained that when you ask her 3½-year-old son what she does for a living, he says that she “fights in a lion’s cage.” Seriously, how cool is that? This little boy will grow up knowing his mother was strong and fearless. I can only hope my two boys think of me that way.
My heart explodes with pride that women have been given this opportunity, and it gets even better: This week, EA Sports announced that it will feature playable female fighters in a UFC videogame. Your kids can pretend to be a woman fighter. Really, does it get any more awesome?
It’s empowering to see women being taken seriously in the manliest of sports. We already know that mothers are strong and nurturing, but it’s great to see that they can kick a little ass too!
Alison Bucalo is iVillage's director of video. Follow her on Pinterest.
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