Women’s Experiences in the Mixed Martial Arts: A Quest for Excitement?

in Sociology of Sport Journal

Click name to view affiliation

Mark MierzwinskiYork St John University

Search for other papers by Mark Mierzwinski in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Philippa VelijaYork St John University

Search for other papers by Philippa Velija in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Dominic MalcolmLoughborough University

Search for other papers by Dominic Malcolm in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), like the majority of relatively violent sports, has mainly been organized around the capabilities of the male body. However various indices suggest that women’s engagement with MMA is growing. The purpose of this paper is to offer an analysis of women’s involvement in MMA using a figurational sociological approach. In doing so, we draw on interview data with “elite” female mixed martial artists to explore the extent to which females within MMA experience a specifically gendered “quest for excitement.” The paper further illustrates how the notion of “civilized bodies” can be used to interpret the distinctly gendered experiences of shame in relation to fighting in combat sports, the physical markings incurred as a consequence, and perceptions of sexual intimacy in the close physical contact of bodies. In so doing this paper provides the first figurationally-informed study of female sport involvement to focus explicitly on the role of violence in mediating social relations, while refining aspects of the figurational sociological approach to provide a more adequate framework for the analysis of gender relations.

Mierzwinski and Velija are with the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, York St John University, York, UK. Malcolm is with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK.

  • Collapse
  • Expand
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 2338 866 178
Full Text Views 166 50 3
PDF Downloads 184 69 9