Great job, Ronda!
Marko Petrak comments on the historic UFC 157 that presented girls in the Octagon in the best possible way.
Let's move aside all those discussions about women in MMA which have been going on for years…They contain elements of traditionalism, patriarchy, chauvinism, the need to protect the "weaker" sex and many other pros and cons. Perhaps it would be also good to disregard all the discussions on the change of Dana White's position when it comes to women in the Octagon. Did the change occur because he was captivated by Ronda Rousey's beauty or did White snap up the chance to make an extra few hundred millions of dollars for his promotion? Even that doesn't matter at this point. All of this lost its significance after UFC 157 which made history as the first event under the wing of the world's strongest MMA promotion headlined by two women.
They, namely, rocked the house!
The media interest was enormous, which is unsurprising, considering the controversial debate whether women belong in the UFC at all or not. The organizers claim that tickets were sold out faster than for the Velasquez vs. Dos Santos bout. It sounds a bit incredible, but if they say so, then it must be true. However, it wasn't the interest of the media, public and fans that decided whether the entire project would pass or fail.
Anyone with some semblance of insight knew that UFC 157 would meet the required criteria in that respect.
What was questionable and the reason why the UFC "was shaking in its boots" was the quality of the main event and the whether the display of Rousey and Carmouche in the Octagon would be enough for a thumbs up.
If we compare the main event with what came before, that is, a battle of two of the world's best fighters in the weight class up to 93 kg, then it's easy to conclude that the girls completely stole the show from their male counterparts. True enough, Brazilian Machida is known as the master tactician of this sport who always watches his step, so he was not expected to keep his hands down and enter into a life or death struggle with a man whose right fist brings precisely the latter – death. Still, not taking these small matters into account, the crowd in the Honda Center booed and whistled Machida and Henderson, whereas Ronda and Liz earned an ovation.
Their fight had everything a title fight should have: lots of action, courage and daring from both fighters… A thrilling turn of events as the contender almost managed to choke the champion at the very beginning but finally succumbed before a superior opponent… And, what is perhaps the most important, a very good fighting technique that was praised by virtually all MMA masters afterwards.
After seven fights and as many wins with first round armbars in her professional career, Ronda Rousey seems like Michael Jordan in basketball, Pete Sampras in tennis or Fedor in Pride when they dominated their respective sports. Ronda is likely even more convincing in her competition. When the likes of Vitor Belfort and Demian Maia sign up for lessons in the armbar technique right after the fight, it is clear that this girl knows her stuff and does it really well. So, a big thumbs up for the UFC 157 showing and the arrival of female MMA to the major scene!
Now that female MMA has been met with approval, the ball is in the court of the UFC and its main matchmaker Joe Silva. Not only that, their next move includes the hard work of building a quality division that will, in addition to what we've already seen, offer competitiveness. In order for Ronda to have worthy opponents, the UFC needs to bring in girls like Cris Cyborg and Gina Carano.
Time will tell…