Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you just don’t care, you will know by now that Ronda Rousey got absolutely demolished for the second consecutive fight. To many this was a sad sight, the former Queen being toppled and being made to look less than an average fighter, however I can’t pretend it didn’t bring me joy. Seeing somebody being brought back down to earth after believing their own hype, is ever so satisfying. Let it be said for the record, I have never been a Ronda fan. Whilst I respect her as an athlete, I have never bought into the fact that she is a role model for women, nor did I buy into the sell of her being unbeatable.
Before the UFC Ronda was already a moderate star in the MMA community. She was 6-0 and the the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion, winning all contests by armbar. Even though she hadn’t yet fought in the big show, she was still the same character we saw in the UFC. At one point threatening to rip off Strikeforce opponents arm and throw it at her corner….bit strong. Even though Dana White had stated publicly women would never fight in the UFC, when the company acquired Strikeforce and it’s talent, Rousey was the first to sign. When “Rowdy” debuted for the UFC in February 2013 she appeared it was the first ever women’s fight of the promotion. She murdered (not literally) her opponent Liz Carmouche (although in trouble early on) and once again won by armbar in the first round. The UFC had a new star and a new audience.
Rousey continued her dominance with another 5 wins in the UFC, and became a mega star. Not only was she using the trusty armbar but also knocked out three of her opponents. It looked like she had another string to her bow. Ronda was now starring in movies and on TV shows like Saturday Night Live etc. She was seen as an unbeatable figure and the media played up to this. Joe Rogan even stated that she would beat men in the UFC “If you took the roster of the UFC’s bantamweights, 135 pounds, and you paired them up against Ronda Rousey, she might be able to beat 50 percent of them. That’s not a joke.” Shame. Ronda was the ultimate cash cow for the UFC (regularly bringing in over one million PPV buys, only beaten by Conor McGregor) and many a young lady looked up to her as a hero.
However Ronda started to believe her own hype. She now thought she was the second coming of Mike Tyson and that she could stand with anyone and knock them out. Reality is, if you look at her striking, its terrible. She hops around like a kangaroo on crack, her hands are never high enough and she throws every strike with violent intent, but no technique. I can’t ever remember seeing her put out a quality jab. She is a wild swinging brawler. However her and her coach thought Mayweather had nothing on her. Even stating she would beat Floyd in a no rules fight.
Not only was she believing she could beat anyone, it was destroying her humility. After beating Miesha Tate after a tough fought fight, Ronda refused to shake her hand and the crowd booed her so loudly, Rousey claimed she couldn’t hear the post fight interview. Instead of apologising for her actions she explained her reasons for not shaking hands, stating Miesha’s only extended her hand because she was being watched “Her actions were entirely influenced by being watched. My actions were all despite being watched”. Ronda was now above it all. She no longer had to show class and respect, because she didn’t want to. Petulance is hard to find endearing.
Rousey also started to say outrageous things to the press regarding women. In an interview for the UFC embedded series, Ronda said that she had a term for women not like her and they were “do nothing bitches” and wasn’t raised to be “the kind of chick that just tries to be pretty and be taken care of”. Then responded to claims that her physique was masculine (which it is) by saying “Listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than fucking millionaires doesn’t mean it’s masculine”. Not only was she now insulting fellow fighters, but now other women in general. Not exactly the feminist leader she was meant to be. You cannot insult other women just because they don’t act how you do. Does it mean that all pretty girls are “do nothing bitches” who aspire to be gold diggers? It came across as jealous and that she had a chip on her shoulder.
The Hollywood effect was setting in. She believed the group around her and believed the media hype. It was only a matter of time until somebody set her straight. Then it happened……
In November 2015, Ronda was categorically annihilated by Holly Holm, a former World Champion boxer and kickboxer. Ronda came forward with the hop and skip she was used to and tried to bully Holly, but Holly had great movement, footwork and counter striking. Ronda couldn’t get near her. After the first round, Rousey was bloody, looked confused and bereft of confidence. Yet her trainer Edmond Tarverdyan told her she was doing a “beautiful job”. Sorry? You’ve just been murked pillar to post, couldn’t get a takedown, or finish the go to armbar, yet she’s doing a beautiful job? What a knob. The second round went the same way and Ronda was knocked out 59 seconds in. She was hit with a huge left high kick to the neck and punches. Ronda was human, and looked horrible as a fighter in the process. “Rowdy” was finally exposed as an incredible judo player, but a terrible striker. All of a sudden all the bravado was gone and so was Rousey.
After her first loss, Ronda left the spotlight, her movies deal were put on hold and the mystique was gone. She was no longer unbeatable, in fact she looked average. During her time away from the sport she claimed in an interview with Ellen Degeneres that she had contemplated suicide in the aftermath of the Holly Holm loss “I was literally sitting there and like thinking about killing myself. At that second, I’m like, ‘I’m nothing. What do I even do anymore?’ And no one gives a sh*t about me anymore without this”. Now before I say what I am about to say, suicidal thoughts are never funny and are always worrying. However Ronda now looked mentally weak, it was hardly the mindset of a champion or the heart of a warrior. Instead of wanting to get back in there and reclaim her title, she needed time off. Compare this to Conor McGregor, who after his first loss in the UFC demanded a rematch immediately and at the same weight as before. He won that rematch in the fight of the year. Rousey by comparison looked weak as a fighter and not the strong woman she had built herself on being. It was sad to see.
Ronda also needed to move camps. Her trainer Tarverdyan is known for ruining fighters careers. I’ll just show the records of fighters since moving to his camp:
It speaks for itself. He is terrible. His boxing coaching is so below the par needed for this level of the game it’s unreal. Look at Browne and Ellenberger, both known as dangerous strikers until they moved to his camp. Ellenberger has since returned to his old camp Kings MMA and in his first fight back without Edmond, he knocked out Matt Brown in under two minutes. Not so wisely, Ronda didn’t move. Sometimes loyalty and stupidity go hand in hand.
When Ronda announced her return the MMA world was intrigued. Would she have improved her striking? (even after not moving camps) Where would she be mentally? More importantly, would it be enough? The women’s game was changing and evolving every day, and Ronda wasn’t even training. Ronda was being promoted once again like the second coming. Nunes had almost no exposure, even with the UFC self produced vignettes. We had to “Fear the return”. I feared the worst for Ronda. I also feared the UFC was missing a trick. They promoted this petulant bully, who cried off after losing for the first time and not the first openly gay champion in UFC history, who was respectful to opponents as well as being highly skilled. The result was as expected. Ronda didn’t get a punch in and was put out of her misery by Herb Dean 48 seconds into the first round.
Einstein once said the definition of insanity is to repeat the same things and expect different results. This is exactly what Ronda did. She still had all the yes men and terrible coaches. She was protected from real life by her team, including even making her sparring partners sign non-disclosure contracts so they couldn’t talk about her training in the media. If they weren’t worried about her skills then why would they do this? “Rowdy” should have moved camps and improved her skill set, but instead chose to be comfortable. It didn’t work out.
The fall of Ronda has hit many an MMA fan hard. The fall has been extremely swift and excessively violent as well as deserving. The mystique has been shattered. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and to be honest I can’t say that I saw the fall of “Rowdy” happening so soon, but it was always going to happen. She did not evolve as a fighter. She allowed her yes men to make her decisions. She was loyal to a terrible coach. She believed she was the best and always would be. She was arrogant. She was mentally weak. The old saying is to always stand up to bullies, therefore taking their power away. Once she was beaten by somebody not afraid of the hype, she has curled up and died (metaphorically), it may be sad to see for many, but for me it was deserved. Bye Ronda, please don’t come back until you move camps and stop being a weak bully.