Saturday night UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey defeated challenger and cornrows enthusiast Cat Zingrano by armbar early in the first round of their pay-per-view match-up. The fight was over in just seconds, and I couldn’t help but think that her continued dominance of the women’s half of the sport – combined with other factors – could potentially result in irreversible danger for the future of combat sports.
Rousey is now 11-0 in her professional mixed martial arts career. She’s beaten the uterine walls out of every single fighter she’s faced, and it really hasn’t even been close. The longest fight she’s ever been involved with at the professional level lasted four minutes and forty-nine seconds, and that was against Liz Carmouche who is by all means the only woman in the sport who could legitimately give her a run for her money. In fact, her last two fights have totaled a mere 30 seconds. When you consider that these fights cost the subscriber $59.99 a pop, you can understand where a cost-benefit analysis arises in the mind of the consumer who is considering purchasing the next fight. You have to wonder how long they will continue to shell out sixty bucks to see some woman whose clitoris dwarfs my erect schlong by several inches get slammed to the floor of the octagon by Rousey again and again.
All truth be told, I am not the world’s most informed UFC fan. I began checking it out several years back, but to be honest since Illinois banned smoking in bars back in 2008 what little interest I have dwindled significantly. I remember watching guys like Chuck Liddell fight, but I didn’t know a lot of the other fighters by name with the exception of Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. So maybe I’m out of my element even commenting on this situation, but from everything I can see the UFC could potentially be in serious trouble. Rousey is not only the biggest name in Ultimate Fighting today, Dana White is having a hard time finding females who are anywhere near her weight class that she’d be able to fight. It kind of makes you wonder…where does the sport – and all combat sports including boxing – go from here?
Speaking of boxing, we’re about two months away from the most anticipated fight of the century: The long awaited WBA Welterweight Title battle between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Both camps have been bickering back and forth in some form or another since 2009, and as a sports fan that has a casual interest in combat sports at best it’s caused me to lose a little bit of interest in the bout. Nonetheless, the fight is expected to be the highest grossing pay-per view event of all time when it takes place on May 2nd. But regardless of my own personal interest or yours, let me present a hypothetical situation that raises some serious questions about where combat sports are headed shortly thereafter: Let’s say this ends up being one of the greatest fights ever, and ends with one of the fighters taking over in the late rounds and winning by knockout. On Monday the morning and late-night talk show circuits begin, and for the next week every sportswriter in America finds themselves covered in their own drool about how they just witnessed one of the greatest sporting events in history.
But then what? What happens the week after that? Unless the fight is close or the winner is unclear, there’s likely not going to be a rematch. Real Quick – name five other boxers other than Floyd and Money May.
See? You can’t do it. This is where the lack of visibility and name recognition of fighters could destroy boxing. After this fight if there is no rematch, boxing is effectively over in America until a young phenom like Tyson was in the mid to late eighties can step in and captivate the sports landscape once again. But here again…that’s only half of the battle. You have to be able to find a guy worthy of fighting that guy, and if you remove gender from the equation that’s precisely what is going on with Rousey and the UFC at the moment. Until then all you have is one athlete who is light years ahead of the rest of the competition, and that’s not really competition…is it?
By now you’re probably wondering: What’s your point? And if you’re not a huge fan of these combat sports, who the fuck cares what your point is? Shouldn’t somebody who is more qualified to answer such questions be addressing this issue given that Turtleboy Sports is your number one online source for hot takes and the persistent mockery of white kids who are selling heavily cut coke in Lowell?
These are all great questions, but the reality of the situation at hand for the UFC and the WBA is that people like me who casually watch their sport are precisely the target demographic for these combat sports. We are the ones who cause the numbers in question to fluctuate, and we are the ones who will decide whether or not sixty bucks is worth spending for a fight that might only last a quarter of a minute. At this point it doesn’t matter how dominant Rousey is when it comes to MMA, and it doesn’t matter how unbelievable the Mayweather / Pacquiao fight might end up being. The reality here is that eventually even Americans are going to get tired of watching people beating the living fuck out of each other if the future of people beating the living fuck out of each other doesn’t seem interesting to them, as crazy as it sounds. That’s right, a country where you can get a deep fried cheeseburger with a glazed doughnut split in half for the buns will eventually get sick of watching grown men and women pummel one another. And with these two events happening in succession, it seems very likely that moment is going to happen sooner than later.
I’m anxious to see what people have to think about this topic in the comments section, but even more than that I can’t wait to see how these the world of combat sports will look half of a year from now which is coincidentally when football will be starting. I’m betting that some people who believe this piece was inaccurate and that the worlds of boxing and mixed martial arts will not suffer from the events that transpired during the first half of this year may change their minds.
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