It's safe to say the recent debate between Strikeforce bantamweight women's champion Miesha Tate and hot prospect Ronda Rousey has elevated the profile of women's mixed martial arts to the highest it's been in recent memory.
In sum, Tate, the established veteran with five years of MMA experience, believes Rousey should have to work her way up the divisional ladder and not get fast-tracked to a title shot simply because she is "pretty" and has the gift of gab. Rousey, on the other hand, believes her Olympic medal, four dominating wins, and promotional abilities mean the fight should be booked while interest is at its highest.
Apparently, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker falls in line with Rousey's philosophy.
"When you look at an MMA fighter, you have to look at the total package and the level of experience," Coker said during Tuesday's Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal conference call. "The combat skill that Ronda has is far greater than a beginning fighter that's only had two or three fights. She still is young in her career, but with that Olympic experience and all those matches in judo, it makes her very credible, very quickly.
"To me, I would have no problem putting that fight together because of the all past experiences she's had."
As the debate about Rousey's merit rages on, a societal question has often been raised about the importance of looks and sex appeal in women's MMA. However, Coker believes it is unfair to place such a divisive subject on the outspoken 24-year-old's shoulders.
"We would never want to put a fighter in there that's overmatched because that's not good for anybody," Coker explained. "So when you talk about Ronda, talk about somebody that's deserving and that has the skill to be there, even though the MMA record in cage fights might be limited."
Promotion officials have yet to publicly announce the next opponents for either Rousey or Tate. MMA Nation will continue to follow this story as it develops.