Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Ronda Rousey is the Big Bad Blog Fighter of the Year...again

I know this is getting monotonous but for the third straight year, Ronda Rousey is the Big Bad Blog Fighter of the Year. That shouldn't be a surprise. At this time last year, I predicted that Ronda could be the biggest star in the UFC by the end of 2013. Even I am surprised that is coming true. Her upcoming fight on UFC 170 will give us a real idea of how big a draw she is. With the injuries to Anderson Silva, Cain Velasquez and Anthony Pettis and Georges Saint-Pierre's hiatus, there isn't anyone who can outdraw Ronda. Jon Jones and Chris Weidman are great fighters but neither of them are great draws. Some guys may be good regional draws but can that be turned into PPV buys? And to think that two years ago, no one thought women would ever be in the UFC. Now they may end up driving the UFC bus. And it all goes back to The Ronda Rousey Effect that I wrote about two years ago. When Ronda made her UFC debut in February, there were plenty of Chicken Littles who thought that the UFC women's division would only be about Ronda and the UFC wasn't serious about women's MMA. But Ronda has always said that she wanted more for women in the UFC. She wants it to flourish after she retires. So she coached The Ultimate Fighter 18 on the condition that female fighters would be contestants for the first time. The UFC hedged their bets by having half of the contestants women and the other half 135lb men. They discovered that the episodes featuring female fights drew higher ratings. So the UFC has hired 11 115lb female fighters and all of them will be on TUF 20 which will film later in 2014. That's The Ronda Rousey Effect. She has generated interest in women's MMA and new stars will be created because of that. She still gets more mainstream media attention than anyone in MMA. And that will continue. While training for last Saturday's fight, she went to Bulgaria to shoot Expendables 3. Skeptics scoffed thinking she would let her training slide. Boy, did she prove them wrong. I think going longer than one round will be a good thing and take a lot of pressure off of her. In a post match interview, she told ESPN's Todd Grisham and Gilbert Melendez that rushing to finish a fight is a mindset from judo where there is only one round. She is learning to be more patient and we saw that patience on Saturday. She still won easily. Her former judo champ mom complained that Ronda didn't take any risks in that fight. Why should Ronda take risks if she doesn't need to? She is becoming more of an MMA fighter. Ronda Rousey is now the biggest star in the UFC because she attracts casual fans and media that normally wouldn't watch MMA. Hell, there was an HGTV reporter at Saturday's post show press conference. With a fight coming up and Expendables 3 coming out later this year, the interest in Ronda will increase. And yes, that includes the morons who booed her on Saturday. They want to see her lose. Ka-ching! Ronda could be next year's Big Bad Blog Fighter of the Year too.

1 comment:

  1. Frank,
    Hard to disagree with your comments. I can only hope for the best for you and Rousey in the upcoming year. And I can only hope that Women's MMA will continue to flourish in the UFC. It looks like the seeds Rousey has planted are beginning to take root and grow. Here's hoping for the best in 2014.