Ronda Rousey's rise to mixed martial arts stardom has very little to do with fighting.
Sure, Rousey has proven that she's very good at one specific thing—throwing her opponents to the ground and then submitting them with an armbar—but with a total in-cage time of less than four minutes, nobody will ever mistake Rousey for a grizzled veteran. She's headlining Saturday's Strikeforce card and challenging Miesha Tate for the Strikeforce bantamweight title on the strength of her trash-talking alone.
Tate prefers to keep things a little more low key, but the bantamweight champion is finally revealing her true feelings for the opponent she'll attempt to defeat on Saturday night. Tate told MMA Weekly Radio that she believes Rousey is a bad representative for women in mixed martial arts
“Not only am I not a fan, I cannot stand the girl. She is full of it. I think she runs her mouth way too much. She says things that just make her look absolutely ridiculous and I think she gives women’s MMA a bad name. I don’t think she’s good representation or a good role model for the sport, period,” Tate said.
“Not only do I not like her, but I don’t respect her at all.”
The key in this entire situation, and one that Tate seemingly cannot grasp, is that the two female fighters would not be in the main event of Saturday's card without Rousey constantly badmouthing Tate, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos and various other female fighters.
Fights need a hook in order to attract an audience beyond the typical hardcore MMA fanbase that watches every UFC or Strikeforce show no matter who appears on the card. Fights appeal to the sporting side in all of us, but they also appeal to the imagination.
There's no question that Tate and Rousey are two very talented fighters. It can't be denied. But it also cannot be denied that mixed martial arts fans, as a general rule, just aren't that interested in seeing women fight, particularly in high-profile situations. Rousey's verbal ability changed her bout with Tate in drastic ways, turning it from just another female title fight on a Strikeforce card into the most anticipated female fight since Gina Carano faced Santos in 2009.
Tate prefers to think of MMA as pure sport, and that's fine. But the truth of the matter is that without Ronda Rousey and her constant jabs in Tate's direction, few people would care enough about this fight to actually tune in and watch it.
For that, Tate owes Rousey a little gratitude.