Combat sports have long been male-dominated, and this has led to gender prejudices and biases that make it difficult for female competitors to be taken seriously.
Despite their athleticism and dedication to the sport, female MMA competitors are still viewed as inferior by some fans. Depending on their exposure and level of competition, there might also be differences in the respect given to male and female competitors.
One of the most common forms of cyber harassment aimed at female MMA competitors is cyberflashing. This involves the sending of unsolicited images, and it can be both degrading and traumatic for the recipient.
Recently, atomweight champion Jillian DeCoursey of Invicta FC was the victim of cyberflashing. DeCoursey exposed the fan who sent her the inappropriate DM on Twitter, calling him out for his unacceptable behavior. She posted a series of tweets calling him out:
Additionally, female UFC strawweight and MMA competitor Tabatha Ricci recently got messages from a fan who made an unusual request. She received a request from a fan asking how much she would charge for a used pair of shorts.
Without disclosing the sender’s identity or the name, profile picture, or any other identifying details, she shared a screenshot of the DM on her Twitter account.
Additionally, it seems like this particular fan went a little too far with his interest. The fan wrote the message: “I am willing to do whatever you say in order for you to send me pictures of your shoes or feet miss.”
While the issue of cyber harassment is a serious one, it is heartening to see female MMA competitors take a stand against it. By publicly calling out their harassers, these women are not only raising awareness of the issue but also sending a message that such behavior will not be tolerated. However, there is still much work to be done to create a safe and respectful online environment for all competitors.