Herrig believes in ‘selling girl power,’ not sex

Posted: 28/01/2017 in MMA, Sports
Tags: , , , , ,

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Felice Herrig remains a relevant name in the women’s strawweight division as she heads into her eighth year as a professional fighter, but it hasn’t always been because of her in-cage skills.

The 32-year-old Herrig made the jump from kickboxer to mixed martial artist in 2009 and the transition was aided by an active social media presence that garnered her a healthy fan following. She’s dealt with criticism over what some perceive to be an over-sexualized image, but for Herrig that’s an aspect of the game that is often misunderstood.

“I’ve seen so many sides of it,” Herrig told Luke Thomas on the SiriusXM Rush show. “I think in the beginning you’ve got to get yourself out there … Women – in any kind of sport – aren’t really going to get the same recognition or respect as a man as is. So you have to give people a reason to watch so to speak …

“I think we’re actually in an era where it’s not necessarily selling sex, it’s selling girl power, being a woman, being a strong, competent woman, and being comfortable in your own skin, and being happy with who you are and embracing it and not being afraid to show the world, ‘Hey, this is who I am. This is what I’m about.'”

Fighters like Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and Paige VanZant have all benefited from their good looks in addition to fight night performances, and Herrig thinks products like the ESPN Body Issue are evidence fans and media have become more comfortable with emphasizing the physical attractiveness of athletes.

Herrig has carved out a niche for herself since joining the UFC three years ago, going 2-2 inside the Octagon including a submission win over Kailin Curran in her most recent outing. But she knows there’s still a large segment of the audience that tunes in for reasons that are unrelated to her fights.

“I really think it’s marketing,” said Herrig. “I used to (use sex appeal more) because there wasn’t as big of a stage for women so you have to use the assents that you’re given to help you get fights, to help you get steam, to help you get paid a little bit more.

“Now I don’t really do as much of that stuff, but I feel that I’m not getting as much attention as I used to because that is what people want to see sometimes.”

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