Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey, How Big Is This Fight?
Tonight, Strikeforce is on Showtime, headlined by the Women's Bantamweight Championship showdown between Miesha "Takedown" Tate and "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey.
It's a big match-up for these two 25-year-old fighters. However, some have billed this as the most important fight in women's MMA history, but is it?
This is the second major US event with women in the top billing. The first was Gina Carano taking on Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos for the inaugural belt, now known as, the Women's Featherweight Championship in 2009.
That card featured two additional title matches featuring; Renato "Babalu" Sobral defending the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship against Gegard Mousasi, and Gilbert Melendez defending the Strikeforce Interim Lightweight Championship against Mitsuhiro Ishida. Also, Fabricio Werdum fought on the card.
This card doesn't have that. The common MMA fan probably hasn't heard of many of the other fighters on the main card. Perhaps they remember Paul Daley's name from his post-match punch on Josh Koscheck, but probably not.
This card rests almost entirely on the shoulders of Tate and Rousey.
The promotion for this fight has been a little different than the Carano/Cyborg encounter. Tate and Rousey have been promoted as beautiful women who can kick serious butt, and they can.
Rousey is an Olympic bronze medal winner in women's judo and is 4-0 in her career, with every win coming by submission via armbar.
Is this fight the most important in the history of women's MMA?
Tate, the current champion, is no slouch in her own right. She is 12-2 with her wins coming via a variety of finishes and is on a roll with six straight wins.
This fight is going to be entertaining, and these women have done a fantastic job selling it, but back to my original point—
This fight will not make or break women's MMA in the United States, just like Carano vs. Cyborg didn't make or break it.
Heck, people thought that it would slowly die off without the Haywire star, and here we are gearing up for two women neither named Gina Carano, headlining an event on Showtime.
The main thing this fight is going to offer is the ability to gauge where women's MMA is at for Zuffa, Dana White and Scott Coker. It's not going to bring women to the UFC, though it certainly could be a step in the right direction.
The other thing this fight is going to do is help slowly build the fan base for the women's side of the sport.
Although this fight is important for women's MMA, it seems that some people are attempting to make it be the defining moment for the sport, and it's not.
Though, the Strikeforce ladies do have the attention of Dana White and he has said he's 'really excited' for the contest (via MMAjunkie.com). With him assuming more control within the Strikeforce promotion, that can only be a good thing.
Personally, I'm not a big women's MMA fan, but they have me interested in this match-up. With tickets still available, maybe I'll make the trip to Columbus and check it out. Score one for women's MMA.
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