ByAmy Kaplan, writer at
Senior Staff Writer // Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @PhotoAmy33
Amy Kaplan

Women's mixed martial arts is booming now thanks, in part, to fighters like Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Cris "Cyborg" Justino, but it took time for the MMA world to accept women competing in a cage as the norm.

The UFC only allowed female fights for the first time at UFC 157 back in 2013, but there were women competing long before that.

In fact, the first official US female MMA fight took place at International Fighting Championship 4 on March 28, 1997. The bout took place at Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in New York. Becky Levi defeated her opponent, Betty Fagan, via first round finish after Fagan's corner threw in the towel. Levi would go on to compete in another six fights and retired after her first (and only) loss at the hands of WMMA pioneer Marloes Coenen. After her defeat, Fagan never fought again.

Becky Levi via Sherdog
Becky Levi via Sherdog

Shortly after this bout, IFC held a four-woman tournament sanctioned by the Louisiana Boxing and Wrestling Commission on September 5, 1997 in Baton Rouge, LA.

It would take another 15 years before the UFC introduced it's first female fight, and now, it has four women's weight divisions.


Latest from our Creators