One great athlete does not make a sport or a division.
I don’t believe Ronda Rousey is a great fighter BUT I will be happy to concede that point a thousand times over if her biggest fans/supporters will concede this; that there is no such thing as a credible women’s mixed martial arts sport or division. Ronda Rousey may be a great fighter. I certainly won’t deny her skills in the Judo discipline. I certainly won’t pretend like she doesn’t know submissions like the back of her hand.
But whether one considers her great or not, she is a one woman sport.
Royce Gracie to this day is considered one of if not the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. The UFC was launched on his back. But when Gracie was a one man sport, the UFC was not taken seriously. When he was dominating his competition quickly and submitting them all easily, the vast majority of the public considered him great and the sport a joke. So why is it different for Rousey? Because she’s a woman? Because she’s a very attractive woman?
PS: Gracie was a one man wrecking crew in open weight, one night tournaments, not fighting twice a year between film and photo shoots.
Anderson Silva dominated his weight class for almost a decade. And he was forced to sporadically move up to the light heavyweight class to test himself and to keep the fans from getting complacent watching him dispose of both worth and unworthy challengers. There literally is no other women’s weight class in the UFC.
Again, make no mistake, regardless of Rousey’s skills and abilities as a fighter, she was given the first women’s UFC title belt at a press conference because Dana White saw potential to make money with her. To exploit her sexuality and box office appeal, not to grow the sport of women’s mixed martial arts. No one else from Strikeforce (where she was Bantamweight champion before the company folded) was handed a belt at a press conference.
Watching UFC 175 where Rousey disposed of her “opponent” and “challenger” in 16 seconds showed the UFC’s non stop corporate spin; from the second the joke of a fight ended, throughout all post show activities. Showing the replay, hyping Rousey’s greatness, showing the contender list, and of course everyone with a UFC microphone trying to convince their viewers and themselves, that the women’s bantamweight division is stacked with good fighters; not a bunch of scrubs OR women that Rousey has already beat.
I have no doubt that if three to five years of investment of resources from the UFC that women’s mixed martial arts can have multiple, legitimate weight classes filled with world class female fighters; none of which are true presently. But now there is a very talented, very attractive champion with nothing resembling a challenger near her. Rousey’s only challenge is how many movies can she film before her next training camp. Anyone who thinks her next fight will be an actual threat to her title reign then you’re a mark or you’re a UFC employee with very strict marching orders from the top brass.
Rousey is not a protected paper champion (except for the not fighting Cyborg thing), she is a paper champion because she is light years ahead of her time. When a person has no equal to test their greatness against, are they great?
Rousey does not exist in a vacuum. She is not a scientist with an advanced theory that no one in the world is smart enough to produce. She can choose to test her skills and her greatness outside of the women’s bantamweight division. If her and/or the UFC are only willing to feed her undersized, unqualified women’s bantamweight “competitors” to draw ppv buys from a public willing to buy into their propaganda, that’s fine. But unless her and Dana White are willing to actually test her skills against either women’s featherweight fighters or you know…the other kind of mixed martial artists…then, well, hey who cares about credibility when you’re cashing checks like the checks her and Zuffa Entertainment are cashing???