Bethe Correia’s Crusade Against The Four Horsewomen

It was just one small gesture. After beating Jessamyn Duke by decision, Bethe Correia held up four fingers to the camera, and pulled one down to make three. To an outsider, this was just some cryptic expressionan esoteric signal with little significance. However, this little hand gesture was a declaration of war.

Correia was not just calling out UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. Every fighter is looking to take on the champion. It’s the way the sport operates: to be the best, beat the best. Correia had much bigger plans in mind.

There are "Four Horsewomen," and the undefeated Brazilian had just taken out one of them. She was hungry for more.

So who are these Four Horsewomen? Even if you follow the sport of MMA, you still might not be familiar with the latest group of teammates to be making headlines. The Blackzilians were so last year.

The group is comprised of champion Ronda Rousey and three of her female teammates at Glendale Fighting Club in California: Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke. They live together, they train together, and everywhere they go, you can see them flashing their number four hand sign as if they were gangbangers in Compton.

They make fun of Meisha Tate. They flip off the camera. They watch pro wrestling, and then practice the moves on each other. You know, normal stuff. The pro wrestling influence is not only responsible for the ladies embracing the role of the group that everyone loves to hate, but also the name itself.

The Four Horsewomen is a reference to the extremely popular professional wrestling faction, The Four Horsemen, who in the 1980’s changed the fake fighting game, as we know it. Lead by Ric Flair, the dubious cast of characters would go around pretending to break people’s limbs, constantly bragging about how many women they slept with, or how they could destroy anyone on the planet… or at least pretend to.

With any group like that there’s going to be fans and also those wishing for their demise. While there are many women, as well as men, who find it inspirational that there can be such an outstanding presence in WMMA, there are just as many, if not more, who want to see them get shut up for good. Bethe Correia, it seems, is more than willing to be that person.

Her fight with Jessamyn Duke at UFC 172, let’s face it, was not all that exciting. The Baltimore Arena didn’t have that much to erupt about. There were some nice combinations by Correia and a couple good judo-throws from Duke, but nothing that will be etched into memory. 

What will be remembered is that call-out by Correia after the fight. With all respect to the Diaz brothers, middle fingers are so common. Anyone can give someone else they don’t like the bird. Granted, not all of us can flip someone off during a UFC fight, but that’s what makes the Diaz brothers so great, right? Correia’s statement, however, was as personal as it was case specific. This was a ‘make no mistake about it, I don’t like you, and I don’t like what you stand for’ statement. This was a ‘Chael Sonnen saying that Brazilians play in the mud’ statement. It was a level of trolling that we haven’t seen yet in the women’s bantamweight division.

“I know that they are close friends,” Correia told a reporter. “I know that they are close friends. They live and train together, and they call themselves the ‘Four Horsewomen’. It’s like ‘one for all and all for one’, so I knew that my win would affect all of them.

“Ronda didn’t shake my hand,” she continued, “so I wanted to show her that I’m going after her little group.”

Even through a translation, the indignation is delectable. Correia gets spurned by Rousey after she beats Jessamyn Duke, so what does she do? She declares that not only will she beat up Rousey, but make her watch while she brutalizes her friends first. There is a heel to the heel. The story line is, dare I say, almost like pro-wrestling, except in this case, noses are actually going to be broken, arms might actually get snapped.

It didn’t take long for UFC brass to realize there was something worth investing in here. Shortly after, Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler was scheduled for UFC 176 in August. The fight makes sense on multiple levels. Obviously there’s this whole ‘renegade fighting the power’ dynamic, but what you also have is an undefeated fighter in Correia, but who lacks a signature win, and an experienced veteran who’s faced some of the best in Baszler, but who’s yet to compete in the UFC.

There is always that possibility that Correia’s quest to dismantle to Four Horsewomen will be derailed when she meets Shayna Baszler this summer. However, in a division that has only been around for just over a year in the UFC, and is on the verge to being declared cleaned out by the champion, it is not only refreshing but also much needed that a vocal challenger emerges. The fact is that Rousey has already put a whooping on her biggest rival Miesha Tate twice, and it doesn’t look like “Cyborg” will be coming to the UFC anytime soon.

So yes, there is a lot of things that could go wrong with this crusadeCorreia could lose against Baszler, someone could get injured, etc. (this is MMA after all), and there is a language barrier since she only speaks Portuguese, but if the stars align for her, Bethe Correia could be one of the biggest names in WMMA that’s not Ronda Rousey.

 

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Ronda Rousey: From Olympic Bronze to UFC Gold