Brye Anne Russillo has pushed women’s mixed martial arts to the forefront of public attention because of the challenge posed by her heavy breasts getting in the way of her fighting within her preferred weight class. Instead of competing in the 145-pound weight division, Russillo, 29, has been bumped up to the 150-pound class, unfairly in her view, drawing much sympathy from online viewers.
According to Hollywood Life, she will face Paige Lian on October 3, 2015 at the Aggressive Combat Championships in Queens, New York. Rusillo, known for skimpy outfits and long blonde locks in her publicity pictorials, acknowledged that the only reason she is even fighting at 150 is because her breasts weigh 12 pounds.
But aside from the attention generated by 5-foot-9 Rusillo’s woes, another blonde bombshell, 5-foot-7 Ronda Rousey, is credited with putting women’s mixed martial arts front and center with mainstream media. The 28-year-old American brawler, judoka, and actress who tips the scales at 134 pounds, is the first and current U.F.C. Women’s Bantamweight Champion, and is recognized as the highest paid mixed martial artist fighter in the world.
To her credit, Rousey clinched the Best Fighter E.S.P.Y. Award for 2015, edging out celebrity fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr., and becoming the first U.F.C. and M.M.A. fighter to earn the recognition.
Prior to Rousey’s time, there was little major coverage of female competitions in the United States. It took U.F.C. President Dana White’s support and Ronda Rousey’s stellar performance to open the door to women such as Brye Anne Russillo fighting in the U.F.C.
Brye Anne Russillo’s first M.M.A. bout was in Astoria, Queens, New York, where she demonstrated her prowess in a decisive win by breaking her opponent’s shin. Her second fight, which took her south to Delaware, gave her an opportunity for reflection after her defeat in the score cards.
A similar example of ponderous breasts getting in the way of a public figure’s career revolves around television’s Modern Family star Ariel Winter, 17, who admitted to undergoing breast reduction surgery in June. The procedure got her down from an F size to a D size, addressing her concerns about being oversexualized and given roles for women 18 or 19 rather than what was age-appropriate for her.
The dilemma around Brye Anne Russillo’s 12-pound breasts weighed down on her team’s ability to get her lined up for a bout at the Queens Theatre because she normally fights at 145 pounds, 10 pounds less than Lian’s typical weight. It took Rusillo’s team more than three months to get an agreement in place.
According to Metro, Brye Anne Russillo, who is a part-time pastry chef, tried to step down to 145 pounds for her bout with Paige Lian, but the 12-pound weight on her chest made it impossible, so both fighters have now agreed to fight at 150 pounds.
Brye Anne Russillo shared her predicament with New York Post regarding her F-cups in the following quote.
“It’s not like I can take a nail file and hack off my t- -s. It’s not like I have a pink sparkly shelf to put them on. I’m trying to lose weight, but my boobs are what they are. I went to pastry school and I’m Italian, so I ate a lot of cannolis.”
U.F.C. otherwise provides for adequate protection in terms of the contenders’ body parts. Men are mandated to wear a groin protector, which are forbidden for women. However, women are required a top and chest protector, which men do not have.
Dreaming of one day fighting at the 135-pound level, Brye Anne Russillo is preparing to tackle Paige Lian in the Aggressive Combat Championships slated for October 3.
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]