Before ending up on the losing end of a split decision to Zoila Frausto in the final round of Bellator’s 115-pound women’s tournament, Megumi Fujii was owner to one of the most impressive undefeated records in MMA. While she’ll tell you that she’s dealt with losses in previous athletic pursuits like judo, sambo, and submission grappling, since her August 2004 MMA debut, Fujii had never dealt with a loss in the way that most fighters in our sport inevitably have to.
She’s had a difficult time coming to terms with her October loss and trying to place existential significance on it. Before it, Fujii was one of Japan’s staunchest supporters of women’s MMA, using her record and international recognition within the sport as leverage to push local promoters into changing paternally protective rules and paying higher purses for female fighters.
While she’s still fervent in supporting women’s MMA in Japan, she admits that a bit of that leverage and appeal is gone now.
“I was shocked when I heard the decision. I thought I'd won my 23rd straight victory, and would continue winning more from there on, getting people to pay attention to women's MMA and broaden opportunities for women in the sport back home,” she says.
“Before this, I always wanted to do things that male mixed martial artists hadn’t been able to and to be recognized for them. That’s something that I think would inspire other women to come to MMA.”
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