UFC and Ronda Rousey Taking a Break is a Good Thing
It’s frankly kind of amazing how far women’s MMA has come in the UFC — and we’re not just talking about the Ronda Rousey Effect, either.
Now matter what combat sports blog or online karate magazine you read, it seems like stories about Rousey, the women’s bantamweight division, and the upcoming 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter are pretty much taking all the juicy headline space away from their male counterparts.
Although Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida got top billing at UFC 175, pretty much everyone was talking about Rousey and Alexis Davis. Any time the UFC signs a new prospect, no one cares very much unless it’s a female fighter. Even UFC Fight Pass, the unloved red-headed stepchild of the entire Zuffa catalog, is finally drawing some stellar PR by officially adopting the scrappy all-female Invicta FC promotion.
If there’s a Golden Age of women’s MMA, this just might be it.
In fact, there’s so much going on in the women’s MMA world at the moment that we can finally address a big problem for the UFC fight now—the over-shilling of Rousey.
When it comes to the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, we’re all guilty of going back to the well too often. She’s great for Internet traffic, the UFC depends on her for big pay-per-views, and the Hollywood circuit can’t seem to get enough of her during Fight Week. But too much of anything is bad for your diet, and there’s a pretty big contingent of MMA fans that are simply tired of seeing Ronda’s face everywhere.
They’ve actually got a point.
Back when Dana White first brought women’s MMA over to the UFC, people rightly suspected that it wouldn’t last without Ronda. Had she lost at UFC 157, that might have been true. But now, the UFC seems to finally be committed to the idea of female fighters as a mainstay in the promotion.
That means Ronda can finally take a break.
Moreover, there’s really no better time for it, especially since she has a busted hand and an upcoming knee surgery. It’s pretty much certain that Rousey won’t be back until UFC 182 on January 3, and that’s just fine. There’s a lot that can happen in six months, where we’ll see Rin Nakai and Holly Holm make their UFC debuts, plus the return of Cat Zingano as she gets her tune-up fight. At that point, signing Gina Carano is just icing on the cake, and she’s more than prime for an immediate title shot. Carano wouldn’t win, but predicting the PPV sales alone would be fun.
So let’s ease off the Ronda talk for a while.
Let the sport breathe a bit.
There’s a lot of women’s MMA to look forward to in the meantime, and plenty of stuff going on in the men’s division. Sure, us media guys will still talk about Rousey while she’s gone. But for fans and casual viewers, getting a break from the constant “Rowdy” cycle would actually be pretty refreshing for the rest of the 2014 season.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, GamesBeat, Cox Sports, Bleacher Report, CNN, and The Los Angeles Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.