Ronda Rousey's Triumph in 1st Female Main Event Expands UFC's Audience
Ronda Rousey used her signature armbar submission in the first round to beat Liz Carmouche at the main event of UFC 157. But the shock waves her victory sent beyond the Octagon were arguably the bigger story.
While the night was a landmark occasion that signaled the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship's women's bout, it was also yet another example of the promotional company's marketing genius. UFC president Dana White had been opposed to women in his enterprise for a long time, but he has been 100 percent supportive of Rousey from the jump.
Regarded as a star from the beginning, and after seven prior punishing performances, Rousey lived up to the hype in every way on the biggest stage.
Not only does that bash down barriers and the perception that females have no place in high-profile mixed martial arts, but it also heightens the intrigue surrounding one of the world's fastest growing sports phenomenons.
In fact, even prior to the historic fight between Rousey and Carmouche, FOX Sports' A.J. Perez reported that four new female fighters had joined the ranks of the UFC bantamweights.
Here are the four newest UFC women under contract per Dana White: Germaine de Randamie, Julie Kedzie, Sarah Kaufman, Amanda Nunes.— A.J. Perez (@ajperezfox) February 23, 2013
Rousey has the extremely confident and extroverted personality of a classic fighting champion, good looks and, as brilliantly displayed against Carmouche, the substance to back it all up.
White took an unprecedented risk on Rousey, because if she lost—which she almost did, due to a rear-naked choke bid by Carmouche—the clear-cut No. 1 marketed female would have not perceptibly deserved the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship.
How has Ronda Rousey's emergence changed your level of interest in the UFC?
But thanks to Rousey's success, the event was a massive success from a financial standpoint. All 15,525 seats in the Honda Center were sold out, and the pay-per-view revenue that the fight raked in is reportedly spectacular.
Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times indicates that the addition of replay sales could bump the fight up to 500,000 buys, according to a UFC official with knowledge of the figures. The pay-per-view numbers were assessed at approximately 40 percent better than the card on Super Bowl weekend.
And the best part about this development for fighting fans is that Rousey still has plenty of upside from a fighting standpoint.
She is quickly becoming a trailblazer and an increasingly prominent figure in the sports realm, and she has only two years of experience at her recently chosen professional craft of MMA fighting.
Rousey already has a huge jump on the rest of the women ascending to the ranks of the UFC and those aspiring to do so, and she still has plenty of room for improvement at the age of 26.
The point is, get used to "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey, because she isn't going anywhere anytime soon—neither is the UFC. Rousey and the company are strengthening a mutually beneficial relationship that should continue to see the UFC's business explode.
And as she continues to generate this type of buzz, Rousey should also continue to be a dominating headliner at UFC events for years to come.
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