Heel Deep In Cash – Ronda Rousey
By Christopher Jester
Underneath the pile of media coverage on Anderson Silva’s bizarre and nasty leg injury last weekend lies buried the triumphant win of Ronda Rousey over Miesha Tate, again, which not surprisingly stole the show. Despite the impressive victory, Rousey did not garner many new fans. Instead, she did just the opposite. When Miesha Tate attempted to offer her hand in congratulations, Rousey ignored the offer and in an instant became one of mixed martial art’s biggest heels.
In that very moment, the UFC gained a cash cow in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. She became the talented star that casual fight fans are constantly hearing about will want to just watch but who hardcore followers of mixed martial arts will want to see win or lose; most likely lose. The boos were heavy at UFC 168 after she ignored the handshake, and while Rousey stated that she does not care about her reputation, the UFC brass has to be grinning like a Cheshire cat at the lucrative benefits of her part in the sport.
But none of this should have come as a surprise. She had not just turned heel on December 28th. Rousey had been toeing the lines of face and heel since her days in Strikeforce, particularly when she campaigned to fight then bantamweight champion Miesha Tate.
Yet, it was not always so. Think about how much of a media darling Rousey was when she was preparing to fight for the first time in the UFC against Liz Carmouche. The media was eating her up and she became the face of women’s mixed martial arts. Media focused in on her as the happy protagonist who was misunderstood because of her upbringing to be an athlete. The story behind her father’s passing was just as important and it became a driving force to creating Rousey as a misconstrued star.
Some could say that Tate simply brings out the worst in her. In any case, the UFC has to be banking on creating more rivals for Rousey. Fights in which Rousey admires and respects her opponent will not sell as much as fights where she literally wants to rip their arm off. The UFC may find a bit of both in her next opponent Sara McMann.
Rousey will face Sara McMann on February 22nd in the main event for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. The Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling, McMann is a threat unlike one Rousey has faced thus far. Will the pre-fight coverage revel in harsh words between the two? Not likely. There is likely a lot of respect between the two Olympians.
And therein lies the problem. The wildly entertaining aspect of Rousey as the villain is what will make fights including her sell. People will tune into the Rousey-McMann fight because of Rousey’s recent role change as the bad girl. As she relates herself to Batman from The Dark Knight, Rousey believes this is a role she must play and the UFC is likely agreeing whole-heartedly with that as it is inevitable it will bring in mountains of cash. The UFC very well may have found their next pay-per-view kingpin in Ronda Rousey.
UFC 168: Ronda Rousey Backstage Interview
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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