Last week we asked you the fans why you thought Marina Shafir, Shayna Baszler, and Jessamyn Duke are great ambassadors for WMMA, and like always you overwhelmed us in a good way with your responses.
Rather then share our views, we will simply get to yours. Unfortunately we can’t share them all, but here are a few that were sent into us from people with different yet inspiring perspectives.
“With the newest edition of the UFC’s women’s division, the future is beyond bright. Each athlete represents shared qualities of their love for the sport. Continuing to pass along their experience, knowledge, and the drive to succeed. Aside from the accolades each athlete has earned, what stands out most is their ability to bring the recognition to Women’s Mix Martial Arts to a new generation of talent.”
Lynne – @InkmeOn3
“Those women are not only outstanding Mixed Martial Arts Fighters but they are great competitors. These women demonstrate to the youth of today that no matter what someone tells you is impossible because of your gender, athletic ability, or maybe a disability if you dream and work hard enough anything is possible. Hardwork, dedication, and will is what drive these women to achieve what Mr Dana White said could and would never happen.”
“My name is Sam and I’ve been training with Shayna, Marina, and Jessamyn that past couple weeks at GFC and these girls bust their asses off. Shayna is recovering from surgery and she still makes the best of what she can to get a workout in. Marina constantly trains with men and I’ve seen her at a point of physical & mental exhaustion and she still pushes through. Jessamyn is dead on focused for her training, nothing is distracting her and gets better day by day. I believe they’re excellent for WMMA and their careers will succeed.”
“Let me begin with July 2012 in Kansas City – First time ever seeing Jessamyn and Shayna, Shayna with her kid friendly personality, I am the mother of 2 boys and Shayna had her Lite Saber at weigh inns which of course every kid ( young and old) loved, but it was her way with the little people after the weigh in and starving I watched Shayna sign shirts, encourage kids, talk to kids and the looks on these little faces you could see so much inspiration it was so amazing. There after each time Shayna would come to Kansas City there was another little person screaming for One “queen of spades” and in return Shayna, would stop talk and take a picture making a difference in every kids day and life.Some of us are super special and have kids who have been taught how to do the “mean mug” ( my kid was taught the mean mug by Shayna) but while learning the mean mug, Shayna, also tells each little person “RESPECT”, Now, this bring me to one Ms.Jessamyn Duke Same time meeting Shayna, my youngest who at the time was just a few weeks of turning 7 years old, sees this very tall, girl across the room waiting to be weighed in and my little guy says to me in his little voice – “Mom that girl is gonna beat up everyone” the next day at the fights, my little guy sees Jessamyn after her fight of course she won and says- ‘Mom there she is Jessamyn Duke, do you think she would let me get a picture and sign my card”? I said son I don’t know, So, of course my son being to nervous to ask sends mom to ask I stopped her and said ‘Hey can my boys get a pic w you” Jessamyn gave a great big huge smile and said “of course” this made my kids day, she was so nice and sweet and only spoke words of encouragement to both of my boys, after that they were Crazy over Jessamyn. In the WMMA Community my son is known as T2 and Jessamyn biggest fan, so my response to this may not be very bias but I will tell you Jessamyn could feel the love from this T2 kid and she just gave him love right back. When you ask T2 Why do you love Jessamyn “the gun” Duke, he does not give some reason like, cause she is cool or awesome, his reason is – Cause Mom Jessamyn is good for the kids, she’s mindful of all the children in the world, and she inspires me, she is kind,smart, and has respect. Let me tell you Kids know! Shayna, and Jessamyn are great ambassadors for WMMA cause along with their skill, they have amazing kid friendly personalities that impact kids forever! Now, this brings me to Ms. Marina Shafir, I have not had the pleasure of meeting, but she has the that same glow to her that Shayna and Jessamyn, RESPECT, Love, Skill, and sheer kindness, I can see she is kid friendly and hey kids today are our future and if Shayna, Jessamyn and Marina are who kids have to look up I am one happy parent! Great Influences for our children! All 3 are inspiring and let me tell you I have seen it with my own two eyes all 3 of these ladies inspire children daily. So, you look at skill set, kindness and inspiration you have “Ambassadors” and to impact the little people like these ladies do, in my book along with Ronda these 3 ladies are Ambassadors for WMMA! thank you ladies for inspiring my kids and all kids all over the world!”
“I want to start out by giving a warning right now and say that this response will have some references to professional wrestling and I know how angry MMA fans get when a hint of “wrasslin” gets close to mixed martial arts. That said, Shayna is a fan of pro wrestling so this makes it okay.
I was watching a documentary on Ric Flair and the Four Horseman and I told myself that Baszler, Duke, Shafer and Ronda Rousey could like a Fourt Horseman type of group.
All three of these women, along with Ronda, make great ambassadors for not only women’s MMA, but also all of mixed martial arts.
I’ll take Shayna first. The Queen of Spades, one of the most charismatic fighters on the planet. Some fans may be turned off by her trash talking and the things she does on the way to cage, like carry a guitar – yet I am sure some of these same fans will rag on other fighters for being what they perceive as boring.
I look at Shayna as the Arn Anderson of the group. Both are great workers and they are slick on the microphone. She is also an enforcer can work her ass off in the ring/cage.
Ronda is obviously the Ric Flair of the group. Both are world champions. Great submission specialists and tacticians. They also have a way of putting over their opponents and getting the crowd going whether the fans love them or hate them. Many of the fans who don’t like Ronda are reacting to her in a way that pro wrestling fans react to the heels. In their eyes, Ronda’s and rivalry toward Miesha Tate and her team could be similar to how Flair and the Horsemen feuded with Dusty Rhodes and his allies.
Jessamyn is like the Barry Windam of the group. They both have the height advantage over their opponents and they know their way around the cage/ring. Like Windam, Jessamyn has a lot of potential and I think she will become a world champion.
Marina is kind of like Tully Blanchard when the Horsemen first started up. I don’t know much about Marina – similar to how I didn’t know a lot about Tully when I watched wrestling. Both have the association of the group, but are also stars in their own right. The way Marina has called out Miesha and her team is kind of like Tully calling out Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A. … and for anyone who is angry that I am comparing Tate to the American Dream, I apologize.
So how does comparing Baszler, Duke, Shafir and Rousey to one of the most despised, yet respected groups in wrestling history, make them great ambassador in the sport? If you asked a lot of fans of the business, they would tell you that the Horsemen had an impact on business and helped made it better. They made big money and they had some amazing feuds over the years. All four of these men were also respected in their field. Yes, they have their critics and detractors, but these four are also some of the most respected performers of their day.
Likewise these four fighters have had some amazing highlight reel moments and will continue to do so for years to come. I think in several years, fans and critics will have the same respect for these four fighters.”
Al Stover- @alstover
Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit their story. If you would like to share how one of these fighters has served as an ambassador and or positive role model for WMMA, please Tweet us, Facebook us, email us at TeamRousey@armbarnation.com.