Vintage Sleaze talks about 1950s era catfighting photosets and film loops. The author muses, “Seems to me if it were a real fetish, it would have a scientific name, and I can’t find one.”
I’m not sure what the author means by “a real fetish”. Even if there’s no fancy-pants Latin name for it, it’s a well-established porn market category, and is therefore “real”. (Gloria Brame used (and possibly created) the term “gender heroics” as an umbrella term for this kind of kink in Different Loving.)
Bram Djikstra talks about the catfighting/female wrestling kink in Idols of Perversity, arguing that this fetish is about confirming 19th centuries views of women as basically animalistic, but so physically weak that they have no real capacity for physical violence, so their fighting is strictly “play”.
The Irving Klaw-era catfighting may also have been a dodge to provide a more exciting visual experience than just women dancing or dressing and undressing, without going into hardcore and risking legal measures.