Ronda Rousey rises above the hype
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:03
Oh Rowdy Ronda Rousey. She’s an Olympic medalist in judo, a career fighter and was marketed as a sex symbol. And you know what? She brought attention to the sport while maintaining excellent form and retaining the title of women’s bantamweight champion in the UFC against Liz Carmouche Feb. 23.
Rousey was badgered by the same question and commentary from the press leading up to the fight: “What do you think about the future of women’s fighting? Some say women don’t belong in this sport.” Her opponent Carmouche said that the UFC wants Rousey to win because she is the star. And there was also the question of whether Rousey could win with anything but the arm bar.
Rousey has been in countless judo matches. She has been training the arm bar with her mother since age 12. Her mother won the 1984 World Judo Championships and was the first American to do so. Not only is daughter Ronda probably the best female professional mixed martial arts judo practitioner, she might have better judo technique than any male MMA fighter.
That martial arts experience is important. Fighters who wrestled through college have some of the same advantage. It’s of course imperative to train professionally at a gym for MMA with a kickboxing coach and a jiu-jitsu coach (or some variant of ground/grappling and striking). It is best to combine it with a long history of performing competitively in front of crowds in
It also doesn’t necessarily mean Carmouche wasn’t up to the task. It just means that Rousey is so good at getting the arm bar submission. Why shouldn’t Rousey capitalize on something no one so far has stopped? This is her seventh straight professional win with a first-round armbar. Should Dan Henderson not use his crushing right hand? Should Lyoto Machida not use counters and movement?
It’s silly to think fighters shouldn’t use what works, especially if it’s in Machida’s case and it doesn’t make for a brawling fight. (Machida, the former light heavyweight champion, was booed heavily on Feb. 23 for his victory.) People wanted to find something wrong with Rousey and cast criticism at a legitimate fight.
I’m aware of the perception of UFC fans. And there are definite truths to the stereotype. It can be rather misogynistic. That’s why women need to come out and support Rousey. Women are the biggest untapped population for fighting and wild fights will occur when the women’s division is better developed. This fight helped that cause.
This deserved to be the main event of the evening, but I expect the women’s divisions to struggle for the top pay-per-view slots. After all, it’s new and needs depth. And the future possibilities are as exciting as Rousey and Carmouche going to war in UFC 157.