If you think the UFC taking a chance and putting Ronda Rousey in the UFC was where the women’s MMA movement began, you’re way off.
If you think Scott Coker putting Gina Carano on Strikeforce cards was where it all began, dude, you’re still way off.
Where it all truly began was in a regional MMA promotion called HooknShoot, which started putting on events back in the mid-90s, and – sadly – is closing its doors for good next month.
Gifted scribe Ben Fowlkes over at MMAJunkie wrote a great piece on the seminal MMA organization. Here’s a sample, but definitely give the whole thing a read.
That was Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith during Saturday night’s Bellator 172 broadcast on Spike TV, reshaping history to meet his employer’s needs. The truth is that Coker’s Strikeforce brand didn’t hold its first real MMA event until 2006, and there were no women to be found on that first card. It wasn’t until December of that year that Strikeforce featured its first women’s bout, pitting Gina Carano against Elaina Maxwell at the old HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Of course by then, a little fight promotion by the name of HOOKnSHOOT (a blend of pro wrestling terms meant to convey the authenticity of the action) had been doing women’s fights for years. It had done multiple all-women fight cards and single-night women’s tournaments. It had put women in main events. It had cultivated the talent that would form the foundation of the entire women’s MMA scene in North America, and it had done it all quietly from its home in the southwest corner of Indiana, where people knew that you could expect good fights and a good time when you showed up to the weird little Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Evansville.