Rousey’s Retirement Could Hinder the UFC WMMA Movement
By Christopher Jester
Now is the right time for the UFC to start building upon their Women’s Bantamweight division. In an interview with John Morgan from MMAJunkie.com, UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey revealed that she has just a couple more years left of fighting in her before she calls it quits in the sport that she has only been competing in for two years. The idea comes from the fact that she considers this an “Olympic run” that operates in four-year intervals. With only two years left, where does this leave the UFC and the bantamweight division?
After her recent signing to the cast of the Expendables 3 and possibly The Fast and the Furious 7, Rousey is wasting no time entering Hollywood, where the money is more luxurious and the strain on the body is less tenuous; unlike a mixed martial artist’s fighting career. The decision to go into acting is a good move for Rousey, especially at this point where her stardom is reaching its highest volume. But it goes without saying this will have an effect on the UFC.
The UFC built its Women’s Bantamweight division around Rousey. Can it stand on its own without her? It is hard to say, but also a bit discouraging that this sort of thing is taking place. One woman should not hold the reigns to the success of an entire division. But Rousey is an unique figure at an interesting time in the sport. Rousey has paved the path for women’s mixed martial arts to have a place within the brightest lights of the UFC. But what helped that was due to Rousey’s no-nonsense persona, her charisma that has captured millions of fans, and her ability to finish fights.
There is no one else like that in the women’s division within the UFC. At least not yet. There are numerous of other women who has the potential to ensnare the fans like Rousey. Women like Shayna Baszler is beloved by her fans and has a nice following. The UFC needs figures like this to keep the spotlight shining brightly on a division that centers around star power.
Can the division survive without Rousey? Yes, and now is the right time to build upon it. The majority of the women fights that have taken place in the UFC have kept the fans on their feet and are highly talked about days after the event takes place. It could be that it is something new for casual fans, or it could be that these women are trying to earn their keep in the biggest mixed martial arts organization in the world.
But what if the UFC cannot keep the division afloat without one of the sports best women in the world? What does that say about the #1 promotion? The UFC will stick it out for sure, and will surely test new waters as that day edges nearer. Perhaps, the inclusion of other weight classes is an option. The inevitable inclusion of the women’s featherweight division could possibly bring the biggest women’s name in mixed martial arts in Cris Cyborg over to the UFC. Sure, there have been name calling and spats behind the scenes, but everyone has to swallow their pride every once in a while. This is the sort of move the UFC will need to make if Rousey leaves in two years.
There are talented fighters in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight division. Perhaps even the next big thing. But time will tell if they are ready to take the mantle from the UFC’s current biggest women’s star. With her exit from the big stage already planned, just what does the UFC have to do to keep its single women’s division afloat? Only time will tell if this will be the end for the women’s stint in the UFC. Perhaps with a little luck, Rousey’s two years can help place women on a pedestal to remain a prominent part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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