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The sport of mixed martial arts has come a long way since its near-barbaric inception decades ago. Ultimate Fighting Championship, specifically, laid the ground rules for how the sport should be approached and helped elevate it to where it is today.
While UFC did a lot of great things for the sport, it took them a while to catch up with the fact that women can throw down in the octagon just as hard as the men. UFC President Dana White eventually wised up and let the women prove all along what diehard fans of the sport knew all along: Women belong in the octagon.
Along with the major spotlight comes more attention, and the UFC fanbase isn’t exactly the most mature group of men you’ll see. Even though these women can tear right through them, these fans take to the internet and request nudes and send nudes of themselves to female fighters. The harassment has to stop, so Bethe Correia and Claudia Gadelha have started to speak out about the controversey. They spoke to Combate:
Bethe: “Once, close to my house, a man on a motorcycle showed me his genitals and drove away. I’ve been through complicated situations. Online, though, they are braver. I hope it doesn’t go beyond that. I know how to defend myself and I would have to use it. Maybe break an arm or choke someone out. I hear some indecent proposals. Guys who want to hold me against my will at parties. Some men think we’re giving them freedom to do those things when we are just being nice. Ignoring is one way to deal with it, you can’t fight them all. It’s a matter of awareness. I embrace the ‘it’s not your fault campaign.’ Walking around in short clothes or in a bikini doesn’t give anyone the liberty to act like that.”
Gadelha: “Personally, I never had a guy approaching me and doing something,” Gadelha said. “But on social media it happens all the time. We get messages not only from fans, but also from pervs all the time. It’s annoying, I get messages like this ‘I fantasize about you hitting me.’ It’s very weird. Some men send pictures of their junk. Some guys really bother me. I try to ignore them. When I see it’s not important, I try not to read it, but it happens all the time. After I became a fighter, nothing ever happened to me. I hope it doesn’t because I know I would be really upset and I could punch them in the face.”