Ronda Rousey, former Judo Olymipian and undisputed queen of MMA has proven again and again that she is the most dangerous female fighter on the planet. She has silenced her doubters and embarrassed the competition. Her last 3 title defenses have lasted a total of 64 seconds. Fans and observers alike claim (correctly I think) that nobody will be able to take her belt from her. Her obvious advantages over her peers have led to rising conversation that Ronda is so tough that she could even beat (gasp!) a MAN. Spats of trash talk between Ronda and Floyd Mayweather have fed the flames and caused fans to speculate (uselessly) on how much money it would take to make such a fight happen. I’m quite sure all of the talk is meant as a compliment. But it isn’t. It’s a backhanded way of saying that what she is doing now is not impressive enough, not dominant enough. Her insanely one-sided victories are great, but not truly valid because they don’t come against male competition. She isn’t proven until she proves her skills against a man.
It may be chauvinistic to say that I have no interest in watching a woman be punched, kicked, choked, and wrestled by a man. Especially one trained to do so efficiently. If that makes me a pig, so be it.
I maintain that it is downright misogynistic to demand Ronda prove herself against a male. Her accomplishments stand on their own. She is superior to everybody who has legally and reasonably challenged her in sanctioned events. We never asked Anderson Silva to fight a gorilla, or Michael Jordan to play basketball against 10-foot-tall aliens (except in Space Jam). Never once did the conversation surrounding Tiger Woods era of dominance call for him to beat some sort of golfing android with computer-guided accuracy systems in order to finally get our real respect. Try saying this at the office today…
“Usain Bolt has been impressive lately, but could he beat American Pharaoh in a footrace? That would really show me something.”
Men have physiological advantages over women in sports, especially combat/contact sports. Ronda Rousey could probably beat up your insurance salesman quite easily, but a man with comparable skills is not an accurate measure to test against just like a matchup up a between Featherweight and a Heavyweight is not a fair measure.
Additionally the UFC cannot afford to be the origin of the sort of mixed message it would send to make a male vs. female fight into public spectacle. The modern socio-political atmosphere of domestic violence and its link to professional sports is already sensitive enough. We as an American public cannot sensibly denounce the reality of men hitting women and then pay to see it on television. Even if Ronda should win, that certainly doesn’t repair the damages actual domestic violence perpetrates or grant any sort of comeuppance or whatever other strange subtext the UFC would have to sell to make it a legitimate contest. We should never glorify violence between the sexes. Nor should we use Mike Tyson as the gold standard of ferocity in combat sports and continue to compare Ronda to him. Good for him getting his life sorted out again, but the man is a convicted rapist and spousal abuser.
Nevermind the fact that fighting Ronda is a lose-lose proposition for any male competitor such a bout might be offered to. If he wins he is jerk who proved nothing except that he is okay with beating women, if he loses, he’s ridiculed by everybody for losing to a girl (even though the girl’s skillset is off the charts good). The very notion that a woman is not true bonafide success or champion in sport unless she can beat a man is idiotic. I don’t need to see Serena Williams beat Novak Djokovic, Brittney Griner to play against Kevin Love, Missy Franklin to swim against Michael Phelps, or any other such debacle to acknowledge these women as elite athletes and champions. Do you?
The MMA media got all excited that Conor McGregor said something like “Ronda could throw me” or “Ronda could beat me.” Guess what? It’s a pandering PR statement that Conor himself doesn’t actually believe. Rousey is the only person he will pay a compliment to because her star is the lone one in the UFC that shines brighter than his. Much more importantly, a statement like that is meaningless because there is zero need for a male to co-sign on her greatness. She draws more social media interaction, more fans to the sport (a more diverse range of fan too) huge PPV numbers, has more endorsements, magazine shoots, etc; than any man in the UFC.
Rousey is the best in the world at what she does. Period. End of story. For once, us men don’t have to be involved in it at all.
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