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Friday, Apr 12, 2002

Are You Ready For The ‘revolution’?all-women’s Mma Card Becomes A Reality

Are You Ready for the ‘Revolution’?
All-women’s MMA card becomes a reality

By Joe Hall
Photography by Loretta Hunt

Jeff Osborne
EVANSVILLE, Indiana — Promoter Jeff Osborne stepped to the microphone surrounded by fighters on both sides. To his left were seven women — and no men. To his right were seven opposing women — and no men. As Osborne spoke, the press conference began for HOOKnSHOOT "Revolution," an event set to write U.S. mixed martial arts history as the first-ever all-women’s show.

Other than individually standing and introducing themselves, the women sat quietly as Osborne expressed his vision and confidence in women’s mixed martial arts. As a group, Saturday night’s combatants appeared a bit green to the tidal wave of media attention surrounding the groundbreaking event. In addition to the hype that has been building in MMA circles for months, various media outlets are converging in Evansville for the weekend: HOOKnSHOOT staff are filming a documentary on the women, a crew from the ESPN series Outside the Lines is expected at the show, and local news coverage is stronger than ever.

While the women might be unaccustomed to such a stage, they are handling the blitz like the professional athletes that they are. Perhaps fighters like Mayra Conde, who put on a short yet stunning flexing exhibition after weighing-in, are naturals in the spotlight, or perhaps they just grasp the significance this show has for women’s mixed martial arts.

An occasional women’s bout has been mixed in on MMA fight cards in the past, but no promotion has ever tried an all-women’s lineup. Anything could happen Saturday night, including the possibility that "Revolution" could flop and subsequently slow women’s presence in the sport. Matchmaker Miguel Iturate doesn’t plan on that and even made it clear that women’s fighting has a strong future in HOOKnSHOOT. "I definitely see potential for women’s matches probably on HOOKnSHOOT shows from now until the end of the year and possibly two [women’s] shows a year as a format," Iturate said.

Osborne released even bigger plans: "I would like to run two to four more [women’s] matches this year and build towards — since the 135-pound division is so stacked — crowning a champion in Las Vegas in October." With the capital of combat sports on the horizon, the push for women’s legitimacy in MMA has rapidly approached, and this event may be a glimpse of what’s to come.

As the press conference smoothly concluded, it became apparent that HOOKnSHOOT has stepped up as a promotion. They have provided the platform and meticulously set the stage. Now, it’s up to the women to walk across it and start their revolution.

The weigh-ins

  • Erica Montoya 123 lbs. vs. Ruth Mejia 113.5 lbs.
  • Angela Wilson 135.5 lbs. vs. Tanya Vlahac 135 lbs.
  • Mayra Conde 146 lbs. vs. Angela Restad 148 lbs.
  • Shannon Hooper 166.5 lbs. vs. Olga Bakalopoulos 169 lbs.
  • Tara LaRosa 133.5 lbs. vs. Shelby Walker 135 lbs.
  • Jennifer Irons 163.5 lbs. vs. Jessica Ross 157.5 lbs.
  • Debi Purcell 137.0 lbs. vs. Christine Van Fleet 136.0 lbs.

Mayra Conde Erica Montoya Olga Bakalopoulos

A few fighters came in over weight. Main event competitors Debi Purcell and Christine Van Fleet were both slightly over the 135-pound cutoff, but agreed that the discrepancy was insignificant. Jennifer Irons (163.5 lbs.) was the only fighter considerably over the top of her weight class (155 lbs.). Her opponent, Jessica Ross was also over at 157.5 lbs. After it was clear that Irons couldn’t cut down that low, FCF was told that Ross had the choice of taking the fight at an adjusted weight and Irons would forfeit a portion of her purse. Ross accepted, and the fight is a go.

HOOKnSHOOT in Vegas?

Full Contact Fighter caught up with Jeff Osborne after the weigh-ins to clarify his plans for a show in Las Vegas. He told FCF that it is not certain, but an event is indeed being worked on. While still tentative, the card would likely have both men’s and women’s matches taking place in a small venue near mid-October.

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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