To celebrate International Women’s Day, IMMAF has caught up with some of the most influential women inside and outside the IMMAF cage to discuss their views on women in sport.
Sabrina De Sousa is rapidly becoming one of the most talked-about women to have entered the IMMAF cage. Having made her mixed martial arts debut at the 2019 World Championships, it became quickly apparent that De Sousa could well be the next breakout star from the IMMAF ranks. She stormed her way to the gold medal with four submission victories, three of which came in the first round! Nineteen months later and the Brazilian-born Bahrain representative was back to prove her superior skill set once more, collecting her second IMMAF gold at the 2021 European Championships. De Sousa’s next IMMAF outing was at the 2021 IMMAF World Championships, in which she successfully defended her Featherweight World Title.
In discussing International Women’s Day, De Sousa reflected on how far the sport has come in terms of equality whilst also looking at the challenges women still face.
“We’re celebrating International Women’s Day today, but we fight every day for our space and we’ve been growing in every area. When we turn to our sport, MMA, I have been seeing the growth and improvement of Women in MMA, as we have the increase of fights, tournaments, news focusing on the importance that we have in the tournaments, etc.
IMMAF are proud of not only female competitors but all the women who work tirelessly to ensure the safety, development and growth of the sport is continual. De Sousa recognises this and believes it is key to helping women succeed in the industry.
“This growth has been happening not only inside the cage but also on the outside, as we see more and more women taking the lead and running their gyms, organising tournaments, etc. This is what is going to make us grow even more in the sports industry.”
“IMMAF is an organisation that has been putting a lot of attention on Women’s MMA. It is evident, in each tournament we go to, we see more women inside and outside the cage. We can also see it through IMMAF’s social media and the blog. This is all very important because we need a whole ecosystem working together so we can grow and IMMAFs role in it is essential so we can show the fans and other people that follow the sport that we are here and we believe in ourselves. This will make them believe in us too and see our potential.”
De Sousa will look to continue her dominance in IMMAF competitions in a new weight class for the first time. She will drop to Bantamweight when she represents Bahrain in this week’s inaugural MMA Super Cup, hosted by Brave CF.