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Metamoris: Without Ronda Rousey, women don't 'bring it' when it comes to viewership

Metamoris President Ralek Gracie explains why he doesn't sign more female fighters to his popular grappling organization.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Over the past few years, martial arts fans were able to witness the meteoric rise of women's MMA, mainly fueled by two names: Gina Carano and UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who both achieved notable stardom and became coveted Hollywood assets. Besides those two female warriors, there is a lot more talent to discover; UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk or Rousey's arch enemy Miesha Tate, to name a few. They are fighting just as exciting and technically skilled as their male colleagues.

However, judging by the numbers, women still can't cope with men, according to Metamoris president Ralek Gracie. That is the reason why you won't see any women fighting on the main card of his events anytime soon.

"What it really comes down to is we only have six matches on the card and of those six matches, we have a lot of pressure to sell pay-per-views. An extreme amount of pressure. People think we're just rolling in the dough and we can just choose whoever we want and we're going to sell millions of pay-per-views no matter who we put on the card. It's not the case, at all," he continues. "It's absolutely not a joke who ends up on the card. With every match, there has to be a unique story and there has to be an element that will bring out people from all walks of life in a lot of ways. Even though we know the core audience and what they're interested in, we have to constantly be on the boundaries. We have to be constantly pushing the edge of what our viewership is, otherwise we won't survive. All we're doing is reinvesting all of our money into these athletes. We're spinning a wheel. We have to keep the wheel moving. I just don't think there's women who are really going to bring it on that level."

(Transcription via MMA Fighting)

If you follow Metamoris regularly, you might have noticed that there has been one female fight in the past, and an extremely exciting one at that. BJJ black belts Mackenzie Dern and Michelle Nicolini fought to a highly competitive draw at Metamoris 2. But for future events, female fighters, if anything, will only end up in the preliminary portion of the events, says Gracie.

"We had that one match and it was cool, but that was more of, 'That's cool and that was interesting and I want to see that again if the girls are cute.' You know how it is. The UFC wouldn't even have a women's division if it wasn't for Ronda Rousey. They wouldn't even have it. It's a really, really tricky thing."

Rousey would, without a question, be a huge draw for any combat sport event. The list of potential opponents for a grappling-only fight at Metamoris would also be a very long one, considering that the outspoken UFC champion has made some waves roughly a year ago, by stating she 'can beat any BJJ girl in the world'. The only problem: If you want to have Ronda Rousey fighting for your organization, you'll have to pay her Ronda Rousey money, as she explained to Bloody Elbow's Anton Tabuena in an interview last year:

"If people want to pay me as much as what I get paid in the UFC to go roll with them, I'd go do that too! But I've got movies, I've got fights, and I just don't have the time to put in a grappling training camp."

However, Gracie says that if he could get Rousey, he would take the opportunity, make an exception to his rule and have another women's fight at a Metamoris pay-per-view - no matter if it's profitable or not.

"We're interested in having Ronda Rousey and we're willing to invest and potentially take a loss on that opportunity and risk that opportunity because of how big she is," he says, "but we can't do that on just any women as much as I'd like to."

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