Q&A: Valentina Shevchenko is Awesome!

The women’s deadlift record is less than 700 pounds, the men’s is more than 1100. Every medalist of the 2016 800m women’s Olympic race was XY intersex. Denying science doesn’t make you progressive.

I want you to know, every other martial arts I read this question off to has burst out laughing. This includes male martial artists. Then, they all pointed out why it was dumb.

Using unrelated scientific data to support a reactionary position doesn’t make you progressive either. Turning to weightlifting for “proof” in relation to the combat arts is the number one most common refuge by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. They turn to weightlifting because they think that physical strength i.e what you can deadlift is important proof for superiority, even if it’s meaningless in context.

Men can lift more. So what? We know they can. Men have a much easier time building up their upper body strength than women do. I’ve said it before on this blog. Women have an easier time building up their lower body strength. Women also have a lower center of gravity, which makes them more difficult to throw if they’ve learned how to properly set their weight. The overspecialization of the weightlifter with their musculature means they can’t actually achieve full extension on their strikes and halves their power. Which is why this specific argument is funny. They’re also ineligible for military service because they’re overweight.

My friend who has competed in archery tournaments internationally once had a group of bodybuilders come into her archery range. They wanted to do a marketing photo shoot where they were drawing the bows. Here’s the funny part: they couldn’t draw the bows. They’d developed their biceps and triceps, but hadn’t properly developed the necessary muscles in their shoulders. They couldn’t draw. After learning the proper technique, they still struggled.

You’re offering up statistics that don’t apply in hopes that they’ll prove some kind of point about male superiority. However, the question is male superiority in regards to what?

I’ve never argued men aren’t capable, just that women’s skills and ability are misrepresented. Nothing stops me from appreciating individuals for the skills and experience they bring to the table. Barfing up statistics that mean nothing in context to the argument you’re trying to make does nothing for the argument itself. Misrepresenting those statistics does a disservice to everyone involved, and just makes you look like a fool.

I don’t care about gender or sex because what matters is the person in front of me, not general assumptions about superiority which may or may not apply.

On to question number two:

In other words, you believe with a straight face that Valentina Shevchenko would have even odds against Stipe Miocic?

After having looked at these two fighters and their records, I’m going to assume you didn’t do any research because Valentina Shevchenko is a straight up terrible pick for your argument.

We’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s start with the UFC problem.

We’ve talked about the UFC before. Prize fighting is entertainment, the structure of prize fighting is for entertainment, and they will never put forward fights that are not for entertainment. This is gladiator combat, the big brother of the WWE. There is no point in speculating about matchups that will never exist. Given “even odds” are dependent on a betting structure designed to make the fight as exciting as possible rather than be a reflection of skill… well, the obvious answer should be obvious. They wouldn’t give her even odds because the whole point of selling such a the match up in the current UFC system is underdog versus the big dog. Not because it’s true, but because it’s more exciting that way. The UFC would need substantially different rules regarding matchups to give this question any validity.

Why are you insulting these two professional fighters in some mistaken drive to prove male superiority? Why are you foolish enough to assume “odds” mean anything in a sports system designed specifically to drive viewers to bet? The odds are literally the betting odds, and the betting odds are decided by a very different system unrelated to the fighter’s skills. Therefore, they’re not a good source for scientific veracity.

If you’re question is do I think Valentina Shevchenko could fight Stipe Miocic and win, the answer is: have you looked at this woman’s record? She is awesome!

She’s been active since 2003, from 2003 to 2015 Shevchenko collectively won more than 50 amateur/pro matches in K-1, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. She has 81 total bouts today, including UFC, across these three sports to her name. Of those 81, she has 74 wins. Miocic has 21 bouts, and 18 wins. Miocic has been active since 2010. He has 21 and only in the UFC. Miocic is considered the best UFC heavyweight fighter. His major background is wrestling and football, and he has trained in boxing. Shevchenko is considered to be one of the best female Muay Thai fighters in the world. She’s one eight gold medals, five of them consecutive. When she was twelve, she knocked out a twenty-two year old. Her background is taekwondo, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and judo.

I don’t think you did any research before you picked these two off a list. This is why you shouldn’t judge people based off their height, weight, and looks. Between the two fighters, she has vastly more experience and a precision style that specifically counters his. This is a bad match up for him. You should’ve cited Ronda Rousey.

However, it wouldn’t mean anything if he lost and she won or if she lost and he won. The whole argument is pointless because combat in the real world doesn’t care about statistical advantage. Whoever survives wins. There’s more to winning than a weight difference. You’ve already disrespected both these combatants who have impressive backgrounds and accomplishments to prove… what, exactly? Women can’t compete with men in the heavyweight division? Men in the heavyweight division are better fighters than every other division? Or did you choose the heavyweight division and its fighters because it’s the most celebrated one? (Do you not like the welterweights?) You don’t honestly believe Stipe Micocic is the best fighter in the UFC because he’s the current heavyweight champion, do you?

There’s a women’s division in the UFC now. Ten years ago, people like you said there never would be because women either couldn’t fight or no one would want to watch them fight. Yet, here we are. People ignore there’s a long history of female fighters in gladiatorial combat, but it’s there. There are female warriors scattered throughout history, in countless cultures, who fought on many battlefields. After all, Julie d’Aubigny, also known as La Maupin, was one of the finest fencers of her day. She was trained alongside the boys by her father at birth, she fought and defeated many men in duels in 16th century France.

None of this means anything in regards to you anyway. After all, you’re not Stipe Miocic. Stipe Miocic defeating Valentina Shevchenko in a hypothetical contest does nothing for you. It proves nothing for you. Not when Valentina Shevchenko would wipe the floor with both of us. I don’t think you’d want to stand in the ring with her during a fair bout.

Supposed male superiority won’t help you much when the person you’re making comparisons to is light years ahead of you, the person making the assertion. This is why this argument is pointless. Combat is about whether or not you can fight the person in front of you and win, it’s about dealing with the situation you’re in, not some hypothetical best who is over there somewhere. If I’m not fighting them, then, in the moment, I don’t care about them.

I’m not going to worry about men, plural, but the singular man, what he can do and what he can’t. This must be the most terrifying concept for you, that you will be judged not for what you are but who you are. Viewed for your accomplishments, your personality, what you have to offer, and not some predisposed standing society has gifted to you by the benefit of your sex.

Step back, start asking yourself some hard questions about why you need male superiority in all respects to matter. That says more about you than you’re willing to admit.

-Michi

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