Of the 300 hopefuls who showed up at The Ultimate Fighter 18 tryouts in Las Vegas Monday, for the first time, there were women, too - 50 of them. Shayna Baszler, Kim Couture, Jessamyn Duke, Tonya Evinger, Tara LaRosa, and Roxanne Modafferi were among the hopefulls.
"It was absolutely a historic day to have the women here for the first The Ultimate Fighter tryout," said UFC president Dana White. "This is basically like the first season of The Ultimate Fighter to me."
"There are lots of girls out there that have taken taekwondo, judo, wrestling or mixed martial arts, and now they've got the opportunity to become a professional athlete and potentially make millions of dollars. I knew there was going to be a great turnout, and every season we do, the turnouts will get bigger and bigger."
UFC fighter Julie Kedzie was there in support of several Jackson-Winkeljohn teammates.
"They're always going to be remembered for this season, the girls that make it on the show, for being pioneers," said Kedzie. "I think it's incredible. This is going to spark, I think, hundreds of thousands of girls to start training. Look what happened after the first season of The Ultimate Fighter."
"It's cool to see this as a fresh start and a new beginning for the UFC. Some of these women have been doing this for a decade. This is going to be their chance to shine, and I'm excited to see them finally get the recognition they deserve."
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