Michael Phelps 2012: Is Ronda Rousey and Ian McCall Dissing Phelps a Good Thing?

Matt SaccaroContributor IIIAugust 14, 2012

May 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; UFC president Dana White (right) poses with Strikeforce MMA female champion Ronda Rousey during a bout between Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck during UFC on Fox 3 at the Izod Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Women's MMA starlet Ronda Rousey and flyweight sensation Ian McCall have both unleashed verbal assaults at famed Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps—but this isn't a bad thing at all.

The common thread in both Rousey's and McCall's jabs at Phelps was that he was solely a swimmer. 

"Get over yourself. All you do is swim. If someone slapped you every single time you jumped in the pool then I'd have a little more respect," Rousey said

She elaborated on her sentiments, saying that Phelps was something of an egomaniac: 

Phelps needed his own private section of the club to be private, for him. Even the NBA players—who are a bigger deal than this guy—they’re all hanging out with the rest of us. We're your teammates! We're not a bunch of groupies! Come hang out with us. Who the hell are you? Then we had the Oprah thing…they had all the medalists on there…Michael Phelps had to be kept separate in a different backstage area so he wouldn’t be harassed by all the other Olympians. I don't like being somebody's teammate and being treated like I'm a groupie.

Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall was equally unimpressed with Phelps and his accomplishments.

"People give all this credit to what's his name...Phelps. You're ****ing swimming, dude, it's not that big of a big deal...I think swimming is dumb. I like swimming as a workout—it's hard—although I don't see why he gets glorified for that. He's not like a multi-sport athlete," he said. 

Responses for MMA fans were not positive, specifically to McCall's statements. The flyweight fighter posts on the famous MixedMartialArts.com forums known as "The Underground," where a thread about his views on Phelps has taken a turn for the worse. 

McCall himself responded to the critics in that thread, stating: 

People ask for my opinon [sic] and I give it to them I don't care, if you don't agree that's fine, I didn't ask for you to agree. 

When it comes to being an athlete I am more impressed with an athlete who knows how to do multiple things at a very high level than just swim the fastest.

Swimming is an awesome work out, I love it. That is all it is to me though, is a great work out.

The whole Rousey-McCall-Phelps escapade seems like a blemish on the face of MMA, but it has a positive side. 

The stance that Rousey and McCall come across poorly—and, as an extension, so do all fighters and MMA as a whole—is flat-out wrong and is only adopted by timid naysayers who are afraid of offending people. The famous saying "any publicity is good publicity" is applicable where Rousey, McCall, and Phelps are concerned. 

Rousey's Phelps-related video has over 110,000 views a little less than a month after being posted. McCall's has just under 4,000, and it was only posted two days ago.  

Videos extolling the virtues of the famous swimmer or any other Olympic athlete wouldn't have garnered nearly as much attention—attention that the sport of MMA (specifically women's MMA and the UFC's burgeoning flyweight division) needs.

Furthermore, was there anything factually wrong with what Rousey and McCall said?

Yes, their words were phrased in a somewhat aggressive manner (they're fighters, not diplomats) but they spoke the truth.

Swimming races, while taxing, are (like many other Olympic sports) arbitrary and don't deserve to be held in the same esteem as the purest sport on earth: the sport of fighting—MMA.

Phelps needs to swim really fast in a straight line whilst Rousey and McCall need to train in an array of combat sports, get beat up day in and day out, as well as weight lift and engage in cardiovascular conditioning. 

Which one sounds more difficult?

Now, thanks to Rousey and McCall, tens of thousands more know the right answer to that question.