Ronda Rousey: The UFC’s Brightest Star

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

Written by

Jude Bautista

If you told me 10 years ago I would be watching more of the UFC than the NBA or PBA, then I’d say you were crazy. If you told me 5 years ago the biggest star in Mixed Martial arts’ most prestigious league would be a woman, I’d also say you were crazy. But incredibly, I’m wrong on both counts. Barriers continue to be broken and could no longer be ignored…by the world. The lofty proclamation that MMA is the fastest growing sport was never an exaggeration.

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

After GSP and Anderson Silva’s retirement, Ronda Rousey is widely considered as the UFC’s biggest star. Herb Dean stopped the fight at 66 seconds of the 1st round, the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight.

After GSP and Anderson Silva’s retirement, Ronda Rousey is widely considered as the UFC’s biggest star. Herb Dean stopped the fight at 66 seconds of the 1st round, the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight.

NO sportswriter or pundit could anticipate how mixed martial arts have grown by leaps and bounds in the last several years. With Ronda Rousey’s win over Sara McMann last weekend Mandalay Bay Events Center (Feb 23, 2014 Mla Time) she has cemented her status as the UFC’s biggest star. Its not just marking up another ‘W’ but more of how she wins inside the cage. Rousey has also become a movie star having completed 2 blockbusters: EXPENDABLES 3 set for August 2014 release, FAST & THE FURIOUS 7 for release on April 2015. IMG_5981

UFC legend Randy Couture will be back and has already been in 2 previous sequels of the Expendables along with original members Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Action star icons such as Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford along with Antonio Banderas and Kelsey Grammer will also be in EXPENDABLES 3.

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

More than just acting gigs and magazine covers there are other factors that lead to the ‘biggest star’ title for Rousey. Long time MMA writer Jeremy Botter of Bleacher Report attributed this to recent developments. Two of the longest reigning champions in Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva ended their dominance the past year. Silva was UFC middleweight champ for almost 8 years until Chris Weidman knocked him out.

Silva breaks his leg as Weidman checks his kick in UFC 168. Minimizing the chance for a comeback for Silva considered as one of the greatest mixed martial artists ever.

Silva breaks his leg as Weidman checks his kick in UFC 168. Minimizing the chance for a comeback for Silva considered as one of the greatest mixed martial artists ever.

GSP ruled the welterweight division just as long but retired after a controversial decision win over Johnny ‘Big Rig’ Hendricks. Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler will earn the vacated welterweight title on March 16 (Mla Time). Both have one punch KO power, so it’s going to be an explosive match up. Lawler is compared to a young Mike Tyson.

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

For a lot of sports, it’s the personalities that garner fans in the millions. Boxing was big in the Philippines way before Manny Pacquiao. We’ve had SO many champions like Pancho Villa, Gabriel Flash Elorde, Rolando Navarete, Dodie Peñalosa, Luisito Espinosa. But no one has captured the imagination of Filipinos the way that Pacquiao has. He’s already in training camp for his fight against Tim Bradley on April of this year.

Sara McMann gave the best explanation to her collapse during an interview w Joe Rogan.

Sara McMann gave the best explanation to her collapse during an interview w Joe Rogan.

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

Ronda Rousey is one such personality. When she won the STRIKEFORCE championship against Miesha Tate and later on defended it against Sarah Kaufmann, UFC President Dana White finally took notice. White initially vowed to exclude women in the UFC, but that was before meeting the charismatic champion. The decision proved to be a windfall. Every one of Rousey’s fights has been a huge hit ever since her first title defense against Liz ‘Girlrilla’ Carmouche and the much-anticipated rematch with Miesha Tate. Ryan McKinnel of the Examiner compares Ronda’s arm bar as a ‘fatality move’ in Mortal Kombat video game where opponents are helpless in stopping it.

Rousey locks in the arm bar on Miesha Tate ending the fight in the 2nd Rd Dec 29, 2013 (Mla Time). It’s also the second time Rousey finished Tate by arm bar.

Rousey locks in the arm bar on Miesha Tate ending the fight in the 2nd Rd Dec 29, 2013 (Mla Time). It’s also the second time Rousey finished Tate by arm bar.

Rousey has had consecutive 1st round submissions (due to arm bar) of all her opponents except against Tate, which lasted until the 2nd round (also ended in an arm bar). Neither Anderson Silva nor GSP could boast of similar consecutive 1st round finishes.

women’s rankings- Cat Cyborg Zingano may be the only ‘tough’ challenge left for Ronda.

women’s rankings- Cat Cyborg Zingano may be the only ‘tough’ challenge left for Ronda.

Sara McMann was touted to be a worthy challenge for Rousey. It was the first time that 2 Olympic medalists would meet in the octagon. McMann was a silver medalist for wrestling in the Athens Olympics in 2004. Ronda got a bronze medal in Beijing 2008. Rousey was the first American to win two gold medals at the Junior World Championships also for Judo.

Both women landed punches early but Ronda pushed Sara up the cage.

Both women landed punches early but Ronda pushed Sara up the cage.

Ronda had Sara against the cage.

Ronda had Sara against the cage.

Since both were adept at the takedowns, experts predicted that the ground game might cancel each other out and lead to a stand up battle. That was essentially what happened, a furious exchange of punches in the opening of round 1.

The clinch allowed Ronda to land her deadly elbows.

The clinch allowed Ronda to land her deadly elbows.

This was one of 4 vicious knees to the liver that eventually made Sara McMann collapse to the canvas.

This was one of 4 vicious knees to the liver that eventually made Sara McMann collapse to the canvas.

Sara was able to throw some blows to the head of the champion. If Ronda got hurt she didn’t show it but she did get hit. Ronda however was also quick to get into the clinch and force her up the cage. This was crucial because the clinch position allowed Ronda to land knees and elbows.

Ronda Rousey demos her lethal knees that eventually made Sara McMann collapse to the canvas.

Ronda Rousey demos her lethal knees that eventually made Sara McMann collapse to the canvas.

In the slow motion replays the total number of knees landed on the abdomen and liver was at least 4. By the 4th knee Sara just collapsed. And when she was on the ground that was when Ronda started raining punches on her face. This was enough for Referee Herb Dean to stop the fight- (66 second mark of the 1st rd).

As Sara collapsed, Ronda rained down the ground & pound, which was enough for ref Herb Dean to stop the fight. The time is the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight at 66 seconds of the 1st round.

As Sara collapsed, Ronda rained down the ground & pound, which was enough for ref Herb Dean to stop the fight. The time is the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight at 66 seconds of the 1st round.

Referee Herb Dean made a good stoppage contrary to popular belief saving Sara from taking even more punches when she was collapsed on the ground.

Referee Herb Dean made a good stoppage contrary to popular belief saving Sara from taking even more punches when she was collapsed on the ground.

For those who believe that it was a premature stoppage, they couldn’t be more wrong. Do they want Sara to get punched even more on the ground? That doesn’t make any sense. Dean saved her from needless punishment. When Rogan interviewed Sara she gave the best explanation, “its not like I can strengthen my liver.”

As Sara collapsed, Ronda rained down the ground & pound, which was enough for ref Herb Dean to stop the fight. The time is the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight at 66 seconds of the 1st round.

As Sara collapsed, Ronda rained down the ground & pound, which was enough for ref Herb Dean to stop the fight. The time is the fastest KO at women’s Bantamweight at 66 seconds of the 1st round.

Sara McMann gave the best explanation to her collapse during an interview w Joe Rogan.

Sara McMann gave the best explanation to her collapse during an interview w Joe Rogan.

The win also proved that Rousey is not one-dimensional. The arm bar finishes have caused critics to claim that she could not win any other way. Rousey has shown that she has a variety of striking skills not least of which are her knees.

Ronda is surrounded by her family after the fight.

Ronda is surrounded by her family after the fight.

IF there’s anything that the UFC can improve on it is the salary of Ronda Rousey. In spite of being the main card, Rousey earned less ($110,000) than co-main event fighter Daniel Cormier ($160,000). Of course Pay per view shares, endorsements and other bonuses may or may not have Rousey earning more.

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

Even then there’s a stark discrepancy in paychecks. If Dana White sincerely believes that Ronda Rousey is the ‘biggest star’ of the UFC’s 20-year history as he himself said why can’t he give her the salary a champion deserves? Anderson Silva ($600,000) and GSP ($400,000) both had bigger pay checks as champions in their division, is Rousey any less of a champion? Not even half of a champion’s paycheck?

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

from left: Ronda’s mom Dr. AnnMaria De Mars was a former World Judo Champion and (right) her sister Maria Burns Ortiz is an ESPN.com Reporter and adjunct professor in the Journalism Department at Emerson College.

from left: Ronda’s mom Dr. AnnMaria De Mars was a former World Judo Champion and (right) her sister Maria Burns Ortiz is an ESPN.com Reporter and adjunct professor in the Journalism Department at Emerson College.

http://judebfood.wordpress.com/ , https://judebphoto.wordpress.com/ , http://judebgallery.wordpress.com/  , http://judebautista.wordpress.com/

Ronda was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But she’s always honest telling it like it is. She’d rather be seen as a ‘heel’ than be a hypocrite to someone whom she feels disparaged people she considers her family.

Ronda was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But she’s always honest telling it like it is. She’d rather be seen as a ‘heel’ than be a hypocrite to someone whom she feels disparaged people she considers her family.

http://judebfood.wordpress.com/ , https://judebphoto.wordpress.com/ , http://judebgallery.wordpress.com/  , http://judebautista.wordpress.com/ IMG_7393

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

http://judebfood.wordpress.com/ , https://judebphoto.wordpress.com/ , http://judebgallery.wordpress.com/  , http://judebautista.wordpress.com/

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially www.freerice.com

Rowdy Ronda Rousey was not always popular because of her tough trash talking (especially against Tate). But people don’t know the many charities she contributes to, especially http://www.freerice.com

http://judebfood.wordpress.com/ , https://judebphoto.wordpress.com/ , http://judebgallery.wordpress.com/  , http://judebautista.wordpress.com/

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