On May 16th, I went to the third JEWELS show. The card featured a variety of fighters, the majority with more losses than wins on their records, or no record at all. A few pro-wrestlers debuted. HARUMI, with 9 losses, was handed her 10th loss by 0-1 fighter Chihiro Oikawa. I feel kind of (well, really) bad for HARUMI, but she went out there and fought. Gotta give anyone credit for trying. Miki Morifuji beat up a debut-ing Mayu with a flurry of punches in ten seconds. Saori Ishioka had a good showing against Shootboxer Kanako Oka, who had really fast hands, and gradually wore her down to pull off the decision. Then Ishioka went and called out Megumi Fuji.
I left the event hall very thoughtful. Actually, the show and production was really good. They had good sponsors and the presentation and atmosphere was excellent.
The thing I realized is that Jewels is not the UFC. People don’t go to Jewels to see UFC-caliber fights. Is Jewels good for women’s MMA? Well, are amateur competitions good for women’s MMA? Women are given the chance to fight in the ring and gain experience, so the answer would be yes. It is good. You just have to be careful not to frame this as the ‘average female fight’ and realize that many of these women don’t have much experience. There’s nothing wrong with a lack of experience. You have to start somewhere. I saw a lot of heart out there, and I was impressed with that.
Of course, I saw good technique and I saw strategy, especially in the fight with Hiroko vs Shannon Hooper. The bigger and taller Hiroko picked Hooper apart, making good use of her long reach and not letting Hooper get inside to unlease her fast hands.
My debut fight was in Smack Girl with no ground and pound and the 30 second ground-stand-up rule. I had not much stand up. I got socked three times in the face, so I went for a take-down. Then got an arm-bar because I’m a grappler. So it’s a start. Then I got better, and my 4th fight was in the states against Jennifer Howe, which I won.
I think the lesson in this is “expectations.” If you’re expecting to see super high-level fights, maybe the main event will show-case them in fighters such as Fuji, Akano, Misaki Takimoto, Tamada, and Hiroko, just to name a few. I sincerely hope to see Jewels continue its events and am glad to see female fighters given a chance to test themselves in the ring.
P.S. Everybody’s saying that Hisae Watanabe, recognized as one of the top female fighters / muay thai specialists pound for pound, got divorced, came out of retirement, and is fighting in Thailand. She’s also in a Japanese movie. They showed previews at Jewels.