Ronda Rousey Is Perfect Building Block for UFC Women's Division

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2013

Feb 20, 2013; Torrance, CA, USA;  Ronda Rousey during today's public workout at the UFC gym for her bout with Liz Carmouche on Feb 23.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

When you are building a house, the most important part is the foundation. In the case of UFC and its new women's bantamweight division, everything is being built around Ronda Rousey

It is no secret that Dana White has long stood by his notion that women would not fight in UFC ever. From a practical standpoint, that was an understandable statement. There just isn't a lot of depth in female mixed martial arts right now.

Many women are moving to the sport, which is a huge plus for MMA. But getting fighters who are capable of putting on a fight at the level UFC demands is difficult. There aren't many out there who are able to sustain a division over the long haul. 

Yet every so often a star comes along who smacks you in the face and demands you take notice of what you are missing. If Rousey were just a fighter who finished opponents in less than one minute, she would be great but not worthy of the main event on a UFC pay-per-view. 

Because Rousey brings personality, charm, charisma and swagger in the media and inside the cage to go along with her incredible talent, she has changed the way everyone views women's mixed martial arts. 

No longer is this a niche event. Rousey has helped bring mainstream publicity to herself and the rest of the women who have long been ignored by people, like White, who felt like there wasn't enough there to give them a shot. 

White has even suggested, to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, that Rousey is the only reason there is a women's division in UFC:

I have said the women's talent pool is not deep enough, which got people to suggest this is the Ronda Rousey show. You're right, it is. I brought her in here because I think she can do it. It takes a certain type of person, personality and fighter to appeal to everyone. And she's got it.

Some might take that as a slap in the face to the other women who have worked just as hard as Rousey to break down barriers, but you have to look at things from White's point of view. 

UFC is a business, first and foremost. As a business, the company is obligated to do what it has to in order to make money. That is why you hear all the talk about potential super fights between Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre or Jon Jones. 

Rousey is just the beginning of where this division can go in UFC. She is going to draw eyeballs to the sport. And because of her celebrity, Liz Carmouche, who will challenge Rousey for the title, can become a bigger star if she performs well. 

Then, things will only grow from there. Fighters like Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman, Marloes Coenen, et al. should get opportunities to compete on UFC pay-per-view events in the future because of Rousey. 

You need a superstar to build a division and help it grow. UFC has found that in Rousey. Now, it is up to the rest of the women to show that they can hold their own in UFC.