UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Tales of an “Octagon Girl”

Amy Julian
Writer, student, adrelaline junkie and connoisseur of fine aggression.
Amy Julian

Hello. My name is Amy Julian and I’m addicted to the UFC. Phew, admittance of your addiction really is a big step. From the looks of me, I might not seem like your average UFC fan, and it’s not because of my fashion choices or affinity for dressing up, it’s because I’m a woman. But get to know me a little bit, and you will surely realize I know more about the “ground-n-pound” than many.

Being a girl and liking sports, in my experience, is difficult in and of itself, simply because most national sports are dominated by men. Throw into the mix the violence and blood of Ultimate Fighting, and boy oh boy (no pun intended) is it even harder. Called by many “glorified street fighting,” the Ultimate Fighting Championship has often been compared to illegal cock fighting, only with real people.

So, as you can well imagine, it’s tough to break out of the stereotype that I must be a little “rough around the edges” and convince people that beneath my pink eye shadow and zebra-print dress lies a true UFC fan. And yes, I am a woman.

Seeing UFC clothing at stores like Hot Topic and Champs makes me realize that now is a great time to support the sport that has yet to make its way to Massachusetts (though it’s President, Dana White, hails from the Boston area himself.) But it hasn’t always been this way, and before the bandwagon was constructed, I often times found myself clueless about Laguna Beach or the OC, but stacked with info on Tito Ortiz, Nate Diaz, and (my personal favorite) Michael “The Count”Bisping.

Being a girl, people don’t think that I could possibly stand to watch such “violence and disgusting content” (as one anonymous source put it) on television. I’m “supposed” to be interested in girly things, like fashion and makeup and fabulousness. If you caught my article last week, you can clearly see, I am.

Sure, it’s tough seeing the commercials for men’s “entertainment” during UFC shows on Spike TV, but you have to take the good with the bad I guess. I make plans with my boyfriend to watch UFC Fight Night, have Saturday marathons of the Ultimate Fighter shows on DVD, and have countless conversations about what the judges’ decisions really should have been in controversial fights. He thinks its “sexy”, my interest in UFC, but some (mostly other women) think it’s trashy.

Being a baseball fan, wearing your pink Patriot’s shirt, that’s OK; but liking the UFC, to condone such violence, is just not feminine, according to many of my peers, including one former classmate of mine whom I’ve since parted ways with because of my choice to abandon my “feminine responsibility”. Met with the criticism of being called a tramp, I often times laugh, thinking that the same girls who are dissing me for liking the UFC constantly comment on how “hot” some of the fighters are and will be the first ones to jump aboard “Bandwagon UFC” when it pulls into Massachusetts.

Let me make it perfectly clear, I do not watch UFC simply for the eye candy. In fact, there’s something about oversized, sweaty, bulging, veiny-armed guys that kind of sickens me. I watch UFC for the adrenaline, for the execution of aggression that I (not just being a woman, but being a more passive aggressive person) would never dream of executing, save someone hurting my loved ones. It’s a lot safer to watch someone to beat the crap out of someone, with less blood, broken bones, and assault charges, than it is to actually do it.

To see these guys go out there with reckless abandon, fighting (literally) for their lives, it sparks a passion in me that I can’t get from watching Grey’s Anatomy. Behind all the punching and kicking, there lies heart and determination. These guys are willing to sacrifice their bodies to not only the intense training that goes into it, but to the beating they endure in the Octagon, for their children, their families, and their pride. This transcends far past the six-pack abs and chiseled biceps. But if you’re a woman and don’t see the appeal of fighting, at least tune in or visit the website (www.UFC.com) and make your own decision, based upon whatever factors you deem necessary.

Sports as an identity, especially for women, opens the doors to a plethora of misconceptions and judgments. If you like sports, you must be a tomboy, right? You must not wear dresses. You probably don’t take care of yourself like a “real woman” should. This is all bull. For if I hadn’t told you I am obsessed with the UFC, you would deem me a proper lady. Just because I can name fighters’ records or even the entire starting lineup of the Red Sox, I have discarded the idea that women should be as far away from sports as possible (a sexist claim, I agree, but a claim nonetheless).

Strengthening this notion of a female lack of interest in fighting, I could not name any other females (that I know of), who enjoy watching “The Ultimate Fighter” in lieu of “The Real World” (Yes, that’s a challenge for those UMB women who like the UFC to call my bluff).

To have a passion about something, whether it’s sports, art, music, school, or anything, this is what life is about. It’s about finding your niche and exploring your passions and sating your appetite for what you like. And for me, a 20-year-old female currently wearing a dress and leggings with a fabulous pair of matching flats as I write this, this passion plays out in the Octagon.