Is The UFC Really Protecting Ronda Rousey?

Is The UFC Really Protecting Ronda Rousey?


As was announced yesterday, bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will be defending her 135 pound title this coming July 5th in Las Vegas, when she takes on the number two ranked Alexis Davis at UFC 175.

The bout will act as the co-main event for the evening’s card, and will be Rousey’s third title defense in seven months; a torrid pace to be sure.

However, some fans are starting to grumble that the champ isn’t facing the best competition that’s available, and that indeed, some are beginning to suspect that the promotion is protecting their female superstar.   

Regarding the suspicion, perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

On the one hand, Rousey has faced and crushed every (Zuffa) fighter that the company has had to offer her, and she shows no signs of slowing down. Evidence of that would be her last fight. In it, Rousey needed all of a minute-six of the first round to drop and stop Sara McMann. In terms of her UFC 170 opponent, it was thought that the unbeaten MMA fighter and Olympic silver medalist wrestler would be able to give Rousey a legitimate challenge. Yet, that proved woefully not to be the case.

As such, the question becomes which fighter or fighters can offer the champ a decent fight, and more importantly, are those fighters signed to the brand?

As it stands now, the only two top ten UFC fighters that have earned a right to fight Rousey, and that might pose a challenge to her, are Alexis Davis and Cat Zingano. Beyond the pair, there’s no one to really speak of. The champ has either faced the remaining crew or they’re so far down the rankings list that to give any of them a title shot would be the promotion grasping at straws to find a challenger for Rousey.

However, outside of the brand there are two fighters that might stand the champ a decent fight; Holly Holm and Christiane Justino. Both fighters are active and relevant, yet in each case the promotion finds reasons not to sign them.

In Holm’s case the reason given for not signing the fighter is money, and more particularly the unpleasant way “The Preacher’s Daughter’s” manager conducts business. In the case of “Cyborg,” the reasons appear to be more dynamic, and forever shifting, with the net result being that the UFC appears to have no interest in inking a deal with her.

In terms of how fans feel about it all, it’s here where the criticism comes. Fans have come to appreciate just how talented Rousey is. As such, they’d like to see her being able to draw from the best talent pool available, and simply put, the UFC isn’t providing it. To the point, fans are left scratching their heads as to how the brand could chase after Gina Carano – hasn’t fought in five years, hasn’t won in six – but not Holm or Justino.

To put it in context, the company stipulates that the problem in signing Holm is money. However, to get Carano to come out of retirement and take a fight with Rousey won’t be cheap. Surely, the brand will have to pay her some kind of premium. If this is the case, then many would wonder why the promotion wouldn’t give that same money to Holm.

In terms of “Cyborg” they want her to make weight for three different bantamweight fights, while they’re prepared to make weight concessions to Carano and simply give her a title shot, and with no qualifying matches.

Regarding it all, many fans view this as “Alice in Wonderland” logic. Concordantly, some are beginning to believe the UFC is protecting their superstar fighter.

In terms of the truth of it, on the one hand it’s an unfair statement; particularly to the champ. Rousey fights whomever the UFC puts in front of her and complains not. However, on the other hand the brand should be looking to sign Holm and Justino, and not just Carano, and in an effort to give the champ the best challenges that she can face. On this point, it does look as if the brand is trying protecting their women’s champ. Sadly, most fans would probably argue that the champ doesn’t need protecting from either Holm or Justino.

Yes, the brand should lure Carano out of retirement, but they should also come to terms with the two fighters that really matter, which are “TPD” and “Cyborg.” If the UFC were to do that, then the question of the promotion protecting their prized fighter would simply go away.


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  • soiWANNABEafighter

    Ronda Rousey is the Nr 1 female mma fighter in the world. Is there any need to protect her?

    • TheXperience

      Yeah i think this whole "protection" thing is nonsense…! She'll fight anyone woman, man or beast. It's just who she is. Can't argue about fighters that are not even signed to the promotion, for whatever reason that may be. With Holm the issue is clear, the UFC will not pay her "boxing" money ($250.000) to compete and in MMA she's really not that big of a name just yet! Cyborg basically fucked herself, by taking on Tito as her manager and letting him talk her into turning her back on Zuffa and after the statements that have been made. I don't blame the UFC for demanding to see her make weight a couple of times first before talking to her.

    • SpaceJam

      Alexis Davis is 3-0 in the UFC, that alone makes her a more formidable opponent than the others yall are chirping about. She deserves this shot although her ass will be handed to her in a timely fashion .Gina Carano (although I love her) hasn't fought in 5 years so she would get handled almost immediately. The Cyborg crap is just crap. She needs to drop weight first, fight in the UFC at 135 and then maybe get a crack at Ronda. There are a lot of women in the 135 division who deserve that shot over that PED she-man. Nobody in that division can beat Ronda. Period. If Cyborg wants her then she has to drop weight to come and get her. She is a known cheater so I see no reason for ANY champion to bend over backwards to accommodate her.

  • D

    Yes. Yes they are protecting her.

    The same way they are protecting Jon Jones by not forcing him to move up in weight and fight Cain Velasquez. The same way they are protecting Chris Weidman by not forcing him to go up in weight and fight Jon Jones…I could keep going but you get the point.

    Cyborg fights at 145. She is in a different division. Until she makes 135, this is not an issue.

    • SpaceJam

      Jon Jones can fight at any weight class he chooses to. He is a skinny kid forcing him to put on weight would change his fighting style. Chris Weidman is perfect for middle weight. You are a fucking moronic gimp.

      • D

        The only moron here is the guy who doesn't get sarcasm.

  • chael4president1

    I can't believe people are actually acting like the last fight was a just stoppage over McMann. We all saw Sara was getting up, and was being hit by nothing but a flurry of little arm punches that were not doing any damage whatsoever. She was very gracious by not complaining about it.

    But everyone just wants to sweep it under the rug and act like that was real, because we're all sick of immediate rematches. Trust me, I'm as sick of them as anyone. But that was the worst stoppage I've seen maybe ever. Certainly the worst since Mac Danzig and Matt Wyman. When they stopped it because Wyman told the ref "I think he's out." During a guillotine attempt that was clearly not tight. And Danzig was just waiting and letting him burn his arms out.

    • SpaceJam

      McMann was not intelligently defending herself at all. She dropped to the ground in pain, clenching her stomach and turned her head away from the fight. That is not defending yourself in any way, shape or form. She was only getting up because Ronda held up. I have seen 1000x worse stoppages. Sara even said herself the only person to blame is herself. Herb only reacted to her body language he didn't just randomly decide to stop the fight.

  • chael4president1

    So Sara was turning out to be a very legitimate threat, contrary to this article. Let's not forget she was also tagging Rousey left and right. From the moment the fight started until she was on the fence. That could have been a great fight to watch if we weren't all robbed of it. McMann robbed most of all.

    • Entity

      Thats why I want to see Cyborg in there. She might be the one fighter Rousey cant bully into the fence when the striking isnt in her advantage.Rousey gets her takedowns while pressing others into the fence.

      • soiWANNABEafighter

        Thats why we all want to see Cyborg in there!

      • TheXperience

        Any type of clinch situation will give Rousey an advantage. Cyborg (or any other fighter for that matter) wants to keep distance at ALL TIMES when facing Rousey, I don't care how physically strong they are. They will simply end up on their ass and get their arm ripped off period!

        It will take explosive striking ability and incredible footwork to keep Rousey at a distance, to pick her apart and ultimately go for the finish.

        • movescamp

          Exactly what I think. Holm has a much better chance. But Ronda is a work horse too so the fight is intriguing while holm develops ground skills ronda develops stand up tailored well to her game. She is already executing very well in scrambles. Cyborg could win but it seems much less likely at 135. I have watched her cross her feet unintelligently my in defensive and offensive scrambles so she has some pretty bad habits to be this far along.

  • Entity

    Time will tell. It does seem the UFC would try to facilitate a move by Cyborg if she's clean now. Holm and her manager are their own worst enemies IMO. Maybe they arent protecting her, but it is a possibility.