If you were too busy watching college football and the NFL this weekend, maybe you missed the craziest minute of sports since the Olympics. In her first fight back after a stunning 2015 defeat, acclaimed MMA fighter Ronda Rousey lost in 48 seconds.
But should Christians watch this fight at all? What are we to think of female MMA fighting itself? And what does our culture’s embrace of female MMA fighting reveal about what it values and how it understands gender? These are the types of questions theologian Alastair Roberts raised in a recent piece for The Gospel Coalition.
“There’s a lot of celebration of the strong female character, whether that’s Lara Croft or Sydney Bristow. All of these characters represent an image of female strength that’s very much modeled after a model of male strength. As we celebrate these images, what is the actual consequence of this for women?” said Roberts, who is the author of the forthcoming Heirs Together: A Theology of the Sexes.
“The more that we celebrate this sort of sport and image of female strength the more we are in danger of devaluing the sort of strength that the vast majority of women have which is a very distinct sort of strength which is not seen in pugilism or the sort of the violent conflict you see in the UFC ring.”
Roberts joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli this week to discuss whether the sex of the person fighting affects the morality of MMA, what it will take for culture to more broadly value feminine strength, and what the ministry of women is to the church.