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Felice Herrig: UFC promoting me in 'hot girl' fights isn't good enough

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In the moments following her impressive performance at UFC Fight Night 112, Felice Herrig fought back tears as she talked about feeling “not young and beautiful enough” for the UFC to want to promote her.

The frustration for Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) seemed to stem from the fact that, while she’s on a three-fight winning streak, which includes knocking off two previously undefeated opponents, the 32-year-old veteran wonders if the opportunity to become a star is out of reach.

On Tuesday, Herrig expounded on why she feels that way durng an appearance on “The Luke Thomas Show.”

“I get promoted when it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s a hot girl fight.,’” Herrig said. “But I’m not the one they’re promoting. They’re promoting my opponent. I feel like I’m a stepping stone. I’m getting put on the main card every time, so obviously I’m some kind of draw. But, unfortunately, I’m fighting opponents who they’re trying to pump up and build.”

Herrig points to recent fights with Kailin Curran and Alexa Grasso as evidence. Herrig pointed out that Grasso, 23, was asked by the UFC to make more promotional appearances for their UFC Fight Night 104 co-headliner and was more prominent on the event poster, not just because she had been undefeated but also, as Herrig claims, because she’s young and attractive.

Which brings us to UFC Fight Night 112, this past Sunday in Oklahoma City, where Herrig knocked off another undefeated opponent in Justine Kish. Herrig wonders where all the promotion was leading up to the fight.

“Obviously it was a draw. People knew it was gong to be a great fight, because look where it was on the card,” Herrig said. “It was on the main card right before the main event. It got zero marketing behind it, zero pulse, zero attention, zero promotion. Why? Because it wasn’t a hot girl fight?”

Herrig’s arguments aren’t reserved for just female fighters, either, as she mentioned UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and Sage Northcutt as examples of the company’s reluctance to push certain accomplished fighters, while others get special treatment because of their looks.

“It’s not just me. I’m not just speaking on my behalf. I’m speaking for all the fighters who feel this way,” Herrig said. “I am not the only one who feels slighted. … Look at someone like Max Holloway – 11-fight win streak, has more wins in his division than anyone in the UFC. Is he even getting attention? The respect that he deserves now that he’s the champ? I don’t think so. …

“Why is somebody like Sage Northcutt coming in, with what, two pro fights, he wins one fight in the UFC, and he does a backflip, and all of a sudden, ‘We’re going to pay you a (expletive)-ton of money. We’re going to pay you more than a guy who’s been in the UFC for 10 years.’ And then he gets choked out in his next two fights. And he’s still getting all this media attention?”

Despite how it might appear, Herrig wants to make it clear that she’s not against fighters; she’s against “the big machine,” as she calls it.

“I’m not against the fighters,” Herrig said. “I’m 100 percent not against the fighters. I’m against the system, because the system is (expletive).”

She continued, “this is not about beauty, and it’s not about looks. It’s about all the fighters who are getting overlooked who are very talented. If they even had just a little bit of push from the big machine, not even about their looks, just a little chance to shine, and to be put on the mainstream stage. That’s what it’s about.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.



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