Monday, March 5, 2012

The Aftermath: Rousey defeats Tate by her signature submission

Esther Lin/Getty Images
 After all the build-up, the hype, the excitement and frustration, the fight between Ronda Rousey and Meisha Tate did exactly what I hoped it would do.  Saturday night's Strikeforce event demonstrated that female fighters have the skill, talent and aggression to put on an incredible show.  No one can doubt the legitimacy of Rousey and Tate and Sarah Kauffman and Alexis Davis as MMA fighters.
I was surprised, however, to read so many anti-Rousey tirades the day after the fight, primarily complaints regarding her attitude and perceived personality deficiencies.  I guess I never realized that WMMA fans are more concerned with the friendliness of a fighter than her actual skill.  Is Ronda a bitch?  Maybe, but so am I.  Did Ronda 'play the game' of shameless promotion?  Perhaps, but there is no doubt that the Rousey and Tate fight was the most anticipated WMMA fight, surpassing, in my opinion, that of the Carano/Santos fight.  

I know a number of people were also upset that Rousey unapologetically destroyed Meisha's arm.  It was brutal to watch, yet as I told a friend before the fight started, I knew that Meisha would never tap to an armbar...not from Ronda.  Meisha should have taped and the ref should have stopped the fight earlier, but while we might not like Ronda's claim that she "doesn't care" that she broke Meisha's arm, she is really not at fault.  What is that thing they teach you the first day of grappling?  Oh yeah.  If it hurts, tap. 

Ultimately the Tate-Rousey fight did more for the sport of MMA, not just WMMA, than any event has accomplished in a long time.  Viewers saw incredible talent from not one but two female bouts.  In my opinion, Saturday night's fights elevated the entire sport and demonstrated that it is not just the men who are bringing technique to the sport, but women as well. 

1 comment:

slideyfoot said...

I like that they put on a great fight and demonstrated how skilled WMMA can be. I don't like that Rousey is following a WWE style of promotion: I could do without a female version of Nick Diaz/Chael Sonnen.

Then again, the 'heel' thing from pro-wrestling does undeniably generate interest. I can dream of a day when the sport is all about respect with audiences watching in hushed silence at the skill on display (like those early fights in PRIDE where you could hear a pin drop), but I guess that isn't a profitable way to build up a popular spectator sport.