It was everything we hoped it would be and more. Last night’s UFC 157 main event between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche was a tremendous vindication of women’s MMA and its supporters.
The back-and-forth encounter both confounded and converted many of those who initially objected to the notion of women competing in MMA’s premier organisation.
It would be easy to overstate the significance of what transpired last night. The press coverage that preceded the UFC’s first ever female fight would have led one to believe that the hopes and dreams of half the world’s population had been pinned to the performances of Rousey and Carmouche.
The champion’s immediate reaction following her win via first-round armbar was as much an expression of relief as it was euphoria. With a few short taps, it was as though a two-ton weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
It wasn’t just that the future of women’s MMA had been coupled to the career trajectory of Rousey, nor was it her status as a Goliath-esque favourite in the eyes of fans and media alike.
It was also the adversity she had overcome just minutes earlier, when her opponent had secured a rear-naked crank that almost ensured Ronda would leave the Honda Center minus a mandible.
Those who thought of the bout as a novelty or, worse still, an affront to MMA must have been forced to rethink their position in light of a contest that was of an extraordinarily high level—despite Roy Nelson’s misguided, vaguely sexist post-fight critique.
The effort put forth by both athletes made a mockery of the slacktivist culture of third-wave feminism that exists on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche made a tangible contribution to the female cause last night. It was a proud moment for our sport, and anyone who thinks otherwise is running outdated software on their brain.
Women’s MMA is here to stay. It’s time to embrace it, not fight it.