MONDAY UPDATE: Pockets of buzz were still ringing on Monday.
I walked by a local hospital, in Brooklyn, saw an EMT doing that kick, the one above, which sent Ronda Rousey to an unfamiliar place…La La land, and a zone of, maybe, self doubt.
The EMT and me chatted about the fight, and the strategy used by Rousey, who stood and banged with a woman whose specialty would be just that.
So, chatter about Saturday nights’ UFC 193 resonated, and elements of the bout and the aftermath keep filling 140 character bursts on social.
We heard from Rousey, via Instagram, where she said, “I just wanted to thank everyone for the love and support. I appreciate the concerns about my health, but I’m fine.” (Some speculated she dodged the post-fighter presser, because she’s a poor sport. But in fact, she went to a hospital for observation, as is most often the case following KOs in UFC.) “As I had mentioned before, I’m going to take a little bit of time, but I’ll be back.”
Fans of good sportsmanship took issue with no public congrats being offered to her conqueror, Holly Holm…
The buzz ripples will continue to makes waves…Makes sense, being that the company set a live attendance record, drawing 56,214 payers in Melbourbe, beating UFC 129 in Canada. This promotion spurred interest galore…
One thing to ponder, from us on the pugilism side of the tracks, does such a compelling and enduring spectacle and hubbub such as the Holm-Rosey battle have boxing deal-makers and power-brokers considering beefing up their effort to kickstart female talent in the realm. I’d guess yes..
SUNDAY UPDATE: The signs and signals and hints, now they are apparent, in that proverbial rear view mirror, after the unconquerable one got KTFO.
She seemed on edge, in a different way, like the excess media attention had slithered into her brain, lodged there, was a tumor of annoyance. Her impatience at handling difficult questions told us her temperment was what it often appeared to be, edgy, but now teetering towards edgy and untethered. What if, you ask now, knowing you should have been cognizant of that leading up to UFC 193, after Rondy Rousey got kicked into unconsciousness by a super-strong and committed athlete with just two-plus years of mixed martial arts training tucked into her belt, she is human, and can be bested?
If went out the Octagon door, and remaining tall and proud is Holm, a boxing ace thought to be past her pugilistic prime. Maybe so, but today is hers to savor.
She was the benificiary of a beyond-iffy—-sorry UFC boss Dana White, it’s absolutely fair game to question Rousey’s strategy— gameplan, which saw the grappling/judo ace Rousey look to prove that RING cover was not mistake.
She tried to be the boss standing up with someone who had years of experience on her, and ate 5-ounce serving of fist sandwiches for that hubris.
And in that rear view mirror, more puzzling information…Rousey looked out of sorts against a left-hander, who’s rear hand kissed her lips and chin a few times. Yeah, no, choosing a left-hander to prove something is to be done only after lengthy contemplation and preparation. But maybe there was that…and maybe Ms. Holm is just all that..and while many think Rousey was EXPOSED, maybe it is Holm who is exposed…as being a magnificent physical and athletic specimen.
But of course, in that mirror, we can look and see and ponder the actions and reasons and behaviors which resulted in much euphoria when Rousey got punched and then kicked into a humbler place. She acted petulant and childish when refusing to touch gloves before the match with home, and Fate saw it, and interceded.
Now, now we will see if the gushy assessments are spot on. Now we see if Rousey has the stuff of legends..or maybe more so was a product of environment and skilled mystique building and being a big fish in a pond of guppies, in women’s MMA, just in the nascent stage…Rousey will be given the chance to see if she can do better against Holm in a rematch..and if the ferocity and the bluster and the attitude was perhaps more of a front than a reality…This morning, she woke up, realized it was no bad dream, and Ronda Rousey faces an unconquerable certainty: she is faced with the most difficult physical challenge of her athletic arc.
Look in the mirror and see the resolution to that puzzle? I look and I see a haze…I see no hints which inform me..I see for Ronda Rousey a massive challenge and an athlete who may, or may not, be up to the task.
The rise of Ronda Rousey has been an improbable one, considering that not many years ago, the man running the promotion she fights in, UFC, said he’d never run womens’ fights.
It’s not so improbable when you watch her, see how she acts, note her charisma, see the obvious magnetism in her actions, and sense the less tangible pull you find yourself feeling when you see her perform.
The camera is interested in her, and not just for the fact that she eats arms for lunch, is a stone-cold tendon killer as she submits foe after foe in the Octagon.
The imprint of the 28-year-old is widening, and it’s clear that her star will be enlargening, brightening; she’s on the cover of the current RING magazine, a decision which has been debated heatedly, with purist boxing fans pointing out that it’s insulting to accomplished female fighters that an 0-0 pugilist who merely aspires to try her hands at pugilism gets a RING cover.
But with more copious attention comes increased scrutiny, right Dr. Ben Carson?
The 12-0 Rousey headlines a UFC PPV event in Melbourne, Australia Saturday night, where she will look to deal with Holly Holm in her typical bloodlessly ruthless and abbreviated fashion.
Holm sports a 9-0 mark in MMA, which she’s been doing since 2011, after going 33-2-3 as a pro boxer. Most expect that even if she hits the Octagon with barbed wire wrapping on her limbs, the Rousey armbar will be activated and have her surrendering in short order.
“Rowdy” Ronda yesterday drew an unwanted buzz burst when it was noted that she spoke of a violent encounter with her ex boyfriend in the autobiography she put out a few months ago. At the Thursday media day event to hype the Holm fight, the California resident was asked about the violent situation with the ex she doesn’t name in the book, “My Fight/Your Fight.”
“So if someone is blocking you into an apartment and won’t let you leave, you’re entitled to defend yourself and find a way out,” she explained. “If you’re trying to get into your car and leave and they’re grabbing your steering wheel and saying you can’t leave, technically you’re being kidnapped, and you can defend yourself in any way that is necessary,” she said, in order to paint the incident as self defense.
“I punched him in the face with a straight right, then a left hook,” the former teen judo ace recounted in the book; to give context to the scuffle, she noted he took took nude pictures of her without asking, and then blocked her from leaving his apartment after she delved into the subject with him.
“He staggered back and fell against the door.” She said he wanted to continue to debate. “I walked around the car, pulled him by the neck of the hoodie again, dragged him onto the sidewalk and left him writhing there as I sped away,” Rousey wrote.
The publicizing of the scrap puzzled or enraged some folks who noted she’s been a vocal critic of boxer Floyd Mayweather, who served 60 days of a 90 day sentence in jail in December 2011 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor battery domestic violence charge for hitting the mother of his three children, in front of two said children.
Rousey’s mocked him for that altercation, and persistently needed him for his lack of character.
The issue itself, athletes battering their partners, is an ultra-hot button matter, being that the NFL hierarchy is knee-deep in getting grilled on the matter of now Dallas Cowboys’ player Greg Hardy. He was arrested after cops were called to his residence, and his then girlfriend said he assaulted her, in May 2014. Hardy denied that he entered the bathroom, the place where the woman said the then Carolina Panthers footballer threw her, where she hit a wall, and then fell into the tub.
Hardy said she fell in the tub; he was suspended for ten games, appealed, and that was dropped to four games. Hardy went to court to answer charges, was sentenced to 18 months and a 60-day jail term, suspended. But he appealed that verdict and charges were dropped, when the lady didn’t attend the jury trial. He returned to the field of play on Oct. 11, but fans still debate whether he should be allowed to compete.
The NFL had the fire lit under their feet when Ray Rice in March 2014 was seen on video punching the woman he’s now married to, knocking her out, while they were in an Atlantic City casino. He too was suspended, indefinitely, but he appealed, and can be signed and play in the league if a team so chooses to. The ex Baltimore Raven is not with a team now. Fans and media debated whether his off the field behavior should be held against him, or what he does away from the field is by and large not pertinent to him playing football.
Rousey was under the microscope, by extension, when it was last month revealed she was dating fellow fighter Travis Browne, a heavyweight in the UFC. He’d been accused by his ex wife of hitting her, with her posting pics on Instagram and presenting the marks on her as a result of domestic violence. He went on record saying his ex was serving up “false accusations.” The Browne situation seems like it is a touchy one; on a conference call last week, Rousey was asked about dating Browne, and abruptly her line went dead. Her phone died, she explained, to eye rolls, but was terse and said “next question” when asked about Browne the next day.
Boyfriend drama has been a not infrequent theme in a life notable for the difficult terrain she’s navigated. Rousey’s father commited suicide in 1995, and she is, amateur shrinks theorize, working out some rage issues inside the cage, in her workplace.
In May, she explained that she decided to pose tastefully nude in the 2012 ESPN The Magazine “Body Issue” after she stumbled on nude pics taken by the ex she said she had that violent rumble with. They were stored on his hard drive, and she erased them. But, she said, she wanted to beat anyone else to the punch, by doing the nude thing before anyone else leaked possible pics. “I’m going to put them out there on my terms,” Rousey explained.
I asked a UFC rep if boss Dana White has addressed the Rousey/domestic violence incident revelation, and would furnish a response.
“No, but Ronda addressed (it) in her media scrum yesterday that is available online,” said Dave Sholler, a UFC VP of PR.
Difficult spot for White; he’d been asked when women would fight in his Octagon, in 2011. “Never!” the combustible deal maker replied.
Never went out the window, faster than you can say “depleted roster of name attractions,” and she debuted in 2012 in the premier MMA league; now Rousey drives the front car in the MMA train. White wouldn’t and couldn’t, I don’t think, throw her under any bus, as her aura grows, with ever more movie roles and forays into WWE, and other outside-MMA milieus. But the Rousey road he now has to drive through is rockier, littered with scrutinizers looking to snare her scalp, in the name of fairness, or principle, or political correctness, so the less he says on this book’s revelation, maybe the better for him, and the company.
Anti Mayweather folks have enjoyed Rousey’s jabs at “Money.” She has zinged his supposed inability to read, and he’s responded that he didn’t even know who she was. He had to know, when she picked up the Best Fighter Award at the July ESPYs, and said, “I can’t help but really say I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once. I’d like to see him pretend to not know who I am now.”
The Rousey altercation laid out in the book has spurred intense debate, and while it could translate into a beefier PPV buy rate, it makes for at least a thorny patch for the UFC officers.
Meanwhile, on social media, side-takers are weighing in; is she not being critiqued and held to the same standards as men who engaged in such an altercation? Is Rousey not that much different, in fact, than Mayweather, and should she not be, at the least, chided for hypocrisy?
Up for debate…how much, or little, should off the field or out of the cage missteps affect how we perceive the athletes we follow…and should they be seen as role models, or simply fallible human beings who shouldn’t be expected to live up to our projected desires as more perfect models of humanity?
Meanwhile, through it all, the shows go on. The NFL serves up the organized mayhem which blows away church-going as the favored weekend distraction endeavor in our United States, while a small but growing and intellectually well-armed critics carve away at the mission of the league and the cultural worth of such brain-rattling competitive fare; and the UFC’s visibility and brand strength continue to be impacted by Ronda Rousey, a compelling spitfire of combat, yet another athlete whose traits which aid her in overwhelming the body and will of foes may not serve her as well outside her workplace.