Ronda Rousey has sparked a lot of discussion about women’s MMA since she stepped into the Strikeforce cage for the first time earlier this year. Two armbar wins in under a minute have earned her a lot of accolades, but Rousey’s directness and honesty have earned her a lot of detractors. Namely, pretty much every other WMMA fighter. She has made no secret of the fact that she she’s willing to market her looks in addition to her skill to get herself ahead of the pack.
Last week Ronda was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, and she mades no bones about the fact that she wanted a shot at 135 lb. champion Miesha Tate, and she thinks she would beat her. Rousey believes, despite never competing at 135 pounds and only having four career fights, that a bout between her and Tate would sell better than a a second bout between Tate and Sarah Kaufman, despite Kaufman being the number one contender. This week, Ariel invited both Tate and Rousey onto the show. And as expected, they disagreed on just about everything.
Tate believes that Kaufman and Alexis Davis should be ahead of Rousey, and Ronda needs to fight and win at 135 first. Rousey believes it’s a better business idea to fight now:
“I really feel 100 percent that a fight between her and me needs to happen,” Rousey said. “It’ll be great for women’s MMA. It’ll be the first highly anticipated fight in women’s MMA for a long time … We need to capitalize on the opportunity while we still have it. I don’t want to risk her losing the title and us not being able to fight each other for the title.”
Tate stated that people only care because Rousey’s attractive:
“I think it’s working because she’s pretty,” Tate said. “If you weren’t pretty, it wouldn’t matter what you said or didn’t say. That’s why you’re getting this attention. I don’t know, I guess I personally like more of a humble approach. You can say you want to be the Chael Sonnen of women’s MMA, and Chael gets a lot of press and everything like that, too, but no one likes him.”
Rousey had a pretty obvious response to that:
“Yeah, but he makes a lot of money and he gets a lot of title shots, too, doesn’t he?”
After some back and forth about what’s fair and honorable, the topic switched to the real top contender at 135, Sarah Kaufman. And Ronda didn’t hold back:
“Sarah Kaufman kind of gives boring interviews, she’s not a supermodel and the way she fights, she doesn’t finish matches in extraordinary fashion,” she said. “It’s just kind of being realistic. I’m sorry that I have to say things bluntly and offend some people. I just want there to be a highly marketable, exciting women’s title fight, and I want to be part of that because I feel like I could do a really good job, and you could, too. I think the two of us could do a better job of that than you and Sarah Kaufman.”
Kaufman had a pretty curt response to that when told about it later:
“It would be way smarter for the longevity of the division to work her way up,” she said. “If she runs through people — which I don’t think she will — then I’ll be happy to beat her face in. She wants to be pretty? She won’t be as pretty after our fight.”
Does Rousey deserve the shot right away? I don’t think so, but she makes some solid points. Promoters make bouts that people want to see, and people would be much more interested in Rousey/Tate than Tate/Kaufman 2. Still, she’s no Brock Lesnar in terms of drawing money. Basically, I believe she’s not valuable enough to skip the line, no matter how pretty or skilled she thinks she is.
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