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November 2015: UFC 193 and the Humanization of MMA’s Biggest Star

56,2014 - that’s how many people were in attendance for UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia on the 15th of November 2015, to see women’s MMA. Every once in a while you get a star from the world of combat sports that transcends the bubble that us more hardcore fans inhabit, someone who becomes a pop culture icon.

In fact, most “normal” people will do just about anything to avoid a fight. Most people are not confrontational or aggressive and do not wish to have a physical encounter with anyone, but there are those rare breed of cat who live for it, those modern day gladiators who spend their lives in the gym training for their moment in the ring or cage at a chance for glory.

Ronda Rousey is one such cat. She is not just any MMA fighter. She is the MMA fighter. She’s in Hollywood movies, she’s on national talk shows, she’s in glamour magazines, she’s everywhere. Even if you’re not an MMA fan, you know who Rousey is. She’s got “it”. She’s got Muhammad Ali status. She’s got Mike Tyson status. She’s the first ever MMA fighter to become as big of a star inside the cage as outside, and that’s exactly why everyone is climbing the walls over her first loss this past weekend.

When fighters become larger than life, and can not only talk a blue streak a mile long, but also back it up in the ring / cage, you start to assign idol-like qualities to these people, but in the fight business, people get KOed - they get exposed. What happened in Melbourne was Holly Holm humanized Ronda Rousey. Sure, she’s hot, she’s tough, she’s fit, she’s dangerous, she’s charismatic as hell and she’s got a larger than life persona, but in the cage, all things are equal. You’re locked inside and you are at war with another human being and this A-list celebrity suddenly became all too human before our very eyes.

For whatever reason, Ronda Rousey was definitively beaten by Holly Holm and her whole world has come crashing down around her. It will be interesting to see how she handles this loss and this onslaught of media coverage that is swirling around the world right now and how her future will pan out. Personally, I would love to see the UFC take the initiative to make the Rousey - Cyborg fight finally happen.

Is there money in a Holm - Rousey rematch? Sure there is, but whatever money there is in that fight, there is ten times as much in a Rousey - Cyborg fight. Ronda’s excuse has always been that she is the UFC Bantamweight Champion and she fights at 135 pounds. If Cyborg wants the fight, she has to come down to her weight, which is basically impossible for her, and Ronda knows that. Now that she’s not the champ, there’s nothing preventing her from compromising at a catch weight to fight Cyborg at … let’s say … UFC 200 in 2016. Let her fight Cyborg and let the chips fall where they may and then we will see if UFC 193 was a fluke or if Rowdy Ronda is for real.

To see my interview with Cris Cyborg on the Ronda Rousey situation, click here.

- Daniel Austin (Don Roid) (blog) (podcast)

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