In what seems like a UFC world of feast or famine, fans and media alike are experiencing the ladder. With sixteen days between events, it seems people were scrambling to get their MMA fix. Thankfully, there are plenty of daily headlines to keep us all talking.
One of the top stories out there remains the polarizing case of Ronda Rousey. The majority of folks are focusing on the immediate and no questions asked departure of the Rowdy one from her current coach Edmond Tarverdyan and his Glendale gym.
From Ronda’s mother to former training partners to Rousey’s friends and colleagues, there is an overwhelming uproar that is pushing her to make this decision. Truth be told, I am one of the last few to join this bandwagon, often allowing the benefit of doubt to calm the rising tide.
At this point, based on the evidence we have seen, I do believe changes to Ronda’s MMA game need to be made. I do not act as if I know what her inner circle looks like and what her training camps entail, but I do know that in two straight bouts - the first one cost her the title and the second one, her chance to win it back - there is an obvious flaw in strategy.
While there is an unfortunate, massive amount of fans, fighters and media, ripping her apart for her performances ( yes, all of you using Ronda’s battered face as your social media avatar ), the underlying sentiment out there is that people actually care for Rousey. They want her to do well. They want her to win. They want her to do good.
MMA as a whole, is better with Ronda competing in it, than it is with her acting, doing something else, or doing nothing at all. She brings eyeballs. She brings intrigue. She brings mainstream attention that this sport will always want more of.
In August of 2015, when she was winning, people were claiming she was more than a once in a generation fighter; she was a once in a lifetime fighter. Fast forward just over a year and a half later, and MMA has figuratively tossed Rousey to the curb, to be picked up with the other weekly MMA garbage.
Well, I, along with many other media, fans and pundits alike, would much rather have her come back stronger than ever and make another run in this division than see her fade off into the sunset. This is not how she should go out. She may never be a champion again, who knows, but she can definitely make things interesting every time she fights. She may not stir up much fear anymore, but she is one victory away from raising more than a few eyebrows.
Whether they admit it or not, I believe people care for Rousey. Win or lose, she moves the needle. Heck, when I was sitting in my hotel room after calling the Rizin New Year’s Eve show, I made myself a coffee and decided to watch some TV. My english options weren’t many, but I decided to catch some of CNN’s coverage of the global New Year’s celebrations.
Intertwined with the fireworks from Australia and Japan, was the number one sport’s story of the day. By now, you’ve already guessed it … it was all about Ronda Rousey.
From Japan to Canada to the good old U S of A, I will remain steadfast that MMA needs Ronda more than Ronda needs MMA. My fingers are crossed that she can return sooner, rather than later.
If any word comes out that she is changed camps and has left Glendale for the likes of Team Alpha Male, Kings MMA, Jackson-Winklejohn, TriStar … wherever it may be, I am confident that this story alone will move the needle and have fans clamoring for her return to action.
The fickle insults and debauchery that MMA has bestowed onto Ronda has been petty and under the right (yet simple) changes, she can make a successful return for the good of the sport. But truth be told, for Ronda, it’s not about the sport. It’s not about MMA, Hollywood, the bright lights, headlines and main stream television appearances. She’s made enough money to last a few lifetimes. It’s about what’s right for her and deciding what’s next for her life.
It’s her life, not ours. She’s the one that has to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and be honest with herself. Here’s hoping she can have a revelation, make the right changes, get back to training and return to the octagon soon. We are better with her than without her.