Almost as many column inches have been given to her conduct as to her success. She was seen as invincible, the best all round female MMA fighter ever.
On the 21st of November at UFC 193 the unexpected happened when Holly Holm took Ronda Rousey apart before knocking her out with a head kick
(0:59 seconds of Round 2) to become the new Bantamweight champion. Two things have happened since this momentous event that are for me very interesting
and say almost more than the actual event.
Firstly, for all her bravado, Ronda has been as ungracious in defeat as she was a champion. From going into hiding after the fight to covering her face
on landing back in the USA and has been completely silent on social media and all other related media since. This is in stark contrast to her post
wins or even that of her previous opponents. Does this mean that as long as she is wining its all ok but as soon as she loses she can’t handle it?
This speaks volumes of her as a person and aalot about her character, is this behaviour the mark of a champion?
Now that Ronda isn’t wearing the belt anymore the “chatter” amongst fans, media and pundits alike has been very interesting with the volume of people coming
out saying that they didn’t think she didn’t conduct herself as a champion has been remarkable. She has always been a “love her or hate her” fighter
but things seem to have shifted, the atmosphere has changed. What is fuelling this is the fact that Ronda has disappeared. This is the time that an
athlete with that sort of swagger, attitude and professionalism should have come out by now and declared her intentions to re-take her belt and acknowledge
what happened. The longer this goes on the worse things will get for her.
"You know I really admire you for being such a great, dominant champion,"
Secondly, the contrast of Holly Holm inside and outside the octagon to Ronda Rousey is as stark as the fight itself. Straight after the fight she said
to Ronda "You know I really admire you for being such a great, dominant champion," she explained in a sit-down with Larry King on Thursday. “‘None
of us would be here without you, so I appreciate you.'" Couple this attitude with her conduct since winning has shown that it is possible to balance
being a champion and being a good sport as well as humble. There has been no post-fight trash talk, instead focusing on the inspirational and important
role that Rousey played in bringing women’s MMA to the UFC and becoming a mainstream sensation. That takes character to do that. In discussing the
future she acknowledges her strengths as well as her weaknesses as she explained to the New York Times “I also know that I’m beatable, so I’m going
to train twice as hard. She’s going to come back. She’s mad that it’s not her title anymore. I’ve got to be twice as ready as last time.” Its good
to see a fighter aware of their strengths but also their weaknesses. This strength may well give her the long term edge over a fighter like Ronda who
may have been over confidence in her approach and skills.
Whatever your opinion of Ronda Rousey she has done more for the sport of MMA than any other female fighter. She has brought it into mainstream focus where
fans watch the fight and don’t comment on the gender. Ronda has shown how to dominate a weight division; she has been the best pound for pound fighter
in the octagon and the best PR for women’s MMA. Where she goes from here will be interesting.
Holly Holm deserved the win, no doubt but what makes her special is her attitude and conduct. I hope that Holly will take MMA to the next level and do
as much for the sport as Ronda has but in a different way that brings some balance to the sport and shows a new generation how to conduct themselves.
A great champion in the making.