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Jules Woolf, Brennan K. Berg, Brianna L. Newland and B. Christine Green

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a rapidly growing combat sport with unique development procedures unlike most traditional sports. In this study the development processes at an exemplar MMA gym were examined. Institutional work theory was used to understand how and why the sport is being developed in this setting. The results provide a microlevel account of the processes and operation of the sport as it develops, and indicate that traditional sport development models may not adequately represent all sports. Subcultural values reflecting what it takes to be a fighter along with a fighter’s duty to the gym influence recruitment, retention, and transition strategies of athletes. Two forms of institutional work, refinement and barrier work, were identified as simultaneously aiding and hindering the development of the sport. Along with furthering institutional theory research, this study contributes to the discourse on alternative ways of sport development for MMA and emergent sports.

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Anastasiya Khomutova and Alex Channon

This paper explores the representation of female athletes within the Legends Football League (LFL; formerly ‘Lingerie Football League’) in 2013. Specifically, the study seeks to understand the vision of women’s sport, and female athletes, which the LFL propagates. Drawing on a combined content and semiotic analysis of the commentary and visuals featured in 26 LFL matches broadcast online in 2013, our data suggests that the LFL presents apparently conflicting images of sexualized, but ‘powerful’ female athletes. We discuss these data relative to competing interpretive approaches to female sexuality in sports media, and join other sports media scholars in advocating audience reception research as a necessary next step to grasping this emergent sport’s significance. Cet article examine la représentation d’athlètes féminines au sein de la Legends Football League (« Ligue de football des légendes » ou LFL, anciennement la « Lingerie Football League » ou « Ligue de football en lingerie ») en 2013. L’étude cherche spécifiquement à comprendre la vision du sport féminin et des athlètes féminines que la LFL propage. En se basant sur une analyse de contenu et sémiotique des commentaires et images trouvés dans les retransmissions en ligne de 26 matchs de la LFL en 2013, les données suggèrent que la LFL présente des images apparemment contradictoires d’athlètes sexualisées mais « puissantes ». Nous discutons ces données par rapport à d’autres approches interprétatives pour étudier la sexualité féminine dans les médias sportifs. Nous nous joignons aussi à d’autres chercheurs sur les médias sportifs en prônant la recherche sur la réception de l’audience comme prochaine étape afin de mieux saisir la signification de ce sport émergent.