Ronda Rousey Hype Gone At Last — And It’s A Boost For Women’s MMA [Opinion]

No Ronda Rousey Hype Is Good For Women's MMA

When Holly Holm wrapped her foot around the neck of a stunned Ronda Rousey, she didn’t just kick the crap out of her. No, Holly also obliterated the carefully constructed hype surrounding her. Everyone from Dana White to Ronda Rousey herself went on and on about the fighter’s dominance and unbeatable nature, despite the virtually infantile nature of women’s MMA fighting at UFC.

However, the death of Ronda’s hype may actually be the best thing to happen to women’s MMA — and perhaps to Ronda Rousey herself. A new champion in Holly Holm forces the Women’s Bantamweight division to be something nobody expected it to be: competitive.

Dana White may have been happy with Ronda Rousey easily beating challengers anyone could see lacked her strength and level of training, but were UFC/MM fans? The response to her loss suggests a deafening no. The strong reaction suggests a far more exciting pay-per-view event than UFC 193, with more people tuning in to see if Ronda can regain her belt. But with Rousey out of contention for medical reasons, that PPV event might be put on indefinite hold.

Fortunately, this also means new challengers may appear on the scene. Perhaps Meisha Tate will be offered a chance at the belt in Ronda’s place. Or Rousey may opt to face “Cyborg” Justino to get over any psychological humps before giving the Bantamweight championship another go.

The utter dominance of Ronda Rousey by Holly Holm means that there was always women out there better trained and just as strong (if not stronger) than the “Rousey hype” would have you believe. This so-called upset now raises a couple of questions Dana White, and the UFC organization, is tasked with answering.

First of all, was Holly Holm selected over Meisha Tate at the last minute with the belief she’d be a tough but otherwise beatable opponent for Ronda Rousey? Many considered Tate the obvious number one contender for the Women’s Bantamweight title; heading into the match, Holm was ranked 7th. The look on White’s face in the aftermath of this fight paints a disturbingly non-neutral picture. It’s hardly the look of a man excited for UFC women’s fighting to be that much more competitive. He certainly seemed stunned by the possibility that a woman carefully chosen to replace Meisha could absolutely dominate and KO the former woman’s champ.

It’s one thing to “big up” a new challenger to justify the switch (Meisha Tate says she wasn’t even notified about the change beforehand). It’s another thing to have that challenger make the “most dominant woman athlete in the world” look like an amateur over the course of about 10 minutes. As such, I believe Ronda Rousey wasn’t the only one exposed last Saturday.

Now that the cat’s out of the hype bag and Rousey was found out, the UFC has been gifted a tremendous opportunity. It’s pretty obvious that with the trouble so many other women had coping with Ronda Rousey in the Octagon, it makes little sense to expect these women to hang with Holly Holm. This means seeking out new and tougher women MMA fighters to do so. It doesn’t matter if these women athletes bear names no one ever heard of. Holly was hardly a household name before her KO of Ronda.

What matters is that the UFC can honestly claim it has the best women MMA fighters among its ranks. You cannot hype your champions as “the best” until it is unarguable they are competing against the best. To be able to knock out opponents in a matter of seconds is hardly impressive when those opponents scarcely had a chance in the first place.

Should Ronda Rousey come back and compete, I hope the hype will be allowed to stay dead. At least, please let the Rousey hype remain dead until she’s had enough matches with truly formidable female fighters.

Do you think the end of Ronda Rousey’s hype was the end of Ronda Rousey? How would women’s MMA benefit from her loss (or can it)? Share your thoughts below!

[Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images]