Why Is This Important?
Because it shows just how many people have hitched their financial wagons to Ronda Rousey’s.
Long Story Short
Despite UFC Women’s Bantamweight champ Holly Holm’s desire to have another fight between now and the rumored July rematch with Ronda Rousey, UFC president Dana White says Ronda will be Holm’s next opponent.
Ever since Ronda Rousey got her head knocked off (like the mascot she once playfully portrayed) by Holly Holm, the internet can. not. shut. up. about Ronda’s legitimacy as a fighter, What This Really Means For The UFC, and the inevitable rematch. In the meantime we have Holly Holm who is, you know, the actual current UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion, and she’s very interested in getting on with her fighting career. She and her camp say that Miesha Tate deserves the next title shot, but UFC president Dana White isn’t having it: Holm’s next fight will be the rematch with Rousey, scheduled for July 9.
“Ronda is the fiercest competitor I have ever met in my life and she’s also very proud,” White told the L.A. Times. “What made the world love Ronda is that Ronda absolutely 100% knew she was not going to lose. … People rallied around this powerful female figure.”
Holm’s camp isn’t pleased with the news, claiming that she likes to stay active and have fights more often than every 8 months. White dismissed their objections with sarcasm (“we’re real concerned with their opinion,” he said), but Holm’s team isn’t even sure that Ronda Rousey will be ready for a fight come July. After all, it might be a while before she can take on an opponent as fierce as an apple.
“I’m not sure Ronda will be ready for a July fight,” Manager Lenny Fresquez said. “She took a severe beating and I don’t think it’s in her best interest to take the next fight so fast. They told me she’s been ready and cleared, but … .”
It’s not unheard for a fighter of Rousey’s dominance to get an immediate title shot, but the severity of the beating she took makes that a questionable move to say the least. In her full interview with ESPN The Magazine, Rousey admits that she never felt quite right stepping into the octagon, and was more or less out on her feet from the first shot Holm landed. White claims Ronda’s committed to bouncing back, that they’re close friends and he speaks with her “seven times a day, everyday,” which is an interesting thing to say given that in the same interview, Rousey says she’s more or less had her phone off since the November 14 fight. But however dedicated and freakishly athletic Rousey may be, you’d have a hard time convincing people that she’ll be able to fill the easily-exploited holes in her game in less than 8 months.
This is where you have to remember that Dana White is a fight promoter, a professional matchmaker. Ronda Rousey was (and in some respects still is) the biggest horse in his stable, and both his comments after the fight and more recently make it clear that having Holly Holm become the new Women’s Bantamweight champion was never part of the plan. Was she maybe intended to give Rousey a tight, judge-decided battle to legitimize her as a fighter, before setting up a much-ballyhooed fight between her and Cris “Cyborg” Justino? Maybe, sure. But that didn’t happen, and it’s not Holly Holm’s (and certainly not the fans’) problem that Ronda charged into that ring in Melbourne unprepared against her first elite opponent, creating a huge financial and promotional problem for White.
Or did she? For all the (justified) praise Rousey gets for making women’s MMA possible and making her fights the most popular in the last few years, it does no justice to her legacy to assume that the sport has no teeth without her sitting on the throne. The support for Holm during and immediately after her victory (however mean-spirited and reactionary it might have been) showed that fans are ready to embrace women’s MMA in earnest, and not just as the “Ronda Rousey Show.” Ronda’s just deposed (not dead), after all, so it’s ludicrous to deny Holm a regular title defense just because you fear you can’t rake in as much PPV money without Rousey as the main event.
If you really want to see the degree to which Ronda Rousey’s brilliance allowed the fledgling sport of women’s MMA to thrive, maybe give it a chance to do so without her in it, for a while.
Own The Conversation
Ask The Big Question
Does Holly Holm deserve to wait for Ronda Rousey to be her next fight?
Disrupt Your Feed
By saying that Holm won’t get another fight until Rousey in July, you’re basically making her a prop in your Ronda Rousey stage production.
Drop This Fact
Anderson Silva holds the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses, with 10.