TUF 18: The Ronda Rousey Hate Is Largely Unjustified

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2013

Let me start off by saying that I am a fan of Ronda Rousey. This does not make me biased, but I will get that out of the way so I don't have to answer or defend that numerous times in the comment section.

It wasn't rare before The Ultimate Fighter 18 began to air to find people who did not like Ronda Rousey. In fact, the way some fans talked about her, they hated her guts.

Furthermore, since the airing of the second episode Wednesday night, all I have seen is negative and belligerent statements being hurled at the champ for her behavior in the show. For those who may not know, she cried for her team member Shayna Baszler, who lost her fight, and vowed to make Miesha Tate pay when they fight and generally may have acted aggressively in the heat of the moment.

Because of those actions and some side "antics" such as rushing Team Tate out of the gym, which is completely warranted if you know anything about their gym schedules, fans have attacked Rousey.

First off, I do agree that Ronda has a unique personality. She is not your average cookie cutter female.

However, if you are going to attack her for showing emotion for somebody she coaches yet still looks up to in this sport in Shayna Baszler, you are off base. Sure, you don't need to have "gained respect" for her in doing that, but at least look at it as her taking her job as coach seriously.

Too many times have we seen coaches on TUF not take their job seriously. For every Matt Serra we've gotten that actually takes their job to heart, we have had guys like Rampage Jackson who don't care about the fighters and like Ken Shamrock, who didn't push his fighters nearly hard enough.

Rousey is genuinely invested in her team, and she is super competitive. So you can understand that she was visibly shaken when a fighter that she admittedly looks up to lost a fight, something for which she felt responsible because it was her job to make sure she prepared her. Plus, everybody has maybe said something out of the norm in the heat of the moment. I know I have when I've lost a game or a match.

Moving forward, I did a pound-for-pound rankings piece for the women yesterday and the comments were flooded with people, obviously anti-Ronda, who said that Rousey didn't deserve to be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. They said she would get destroyed by Cris "Cyborg" Justino, that she was ducking the 145-pound Invicta champion, that the UFC was protecting her and generally she was not the best female mixed martial artist.

I will break down each assertion right now from an unbiased standpoint.

The whole situation surrounding Ronda Rousey and Cris Justino is a lot of "what if." As much as I would love to watch these two fight it out to see who was superior, it's simply not going to happen.

Sure, you can say Rousey would get destroyed by Cyborg if they fought. There is a chance I would agree with that assertion, as there is no better striker in women's MMA than Cyborg. She hits like a UFC light heavyweight.

However, saying that Ronda is ducking Justino is an absolute joke. Rousey fights at 135 pounds and doesn't need to move up a weight class to prove a point. It is the same thing we see in Georges St. Pierre and the never-ending saga with him moving up to middleweight to fight Anderson Silva. What does he gain?

Plus, Cyborg would never make 135 to make the fight happen. She struggles making 145, she is a huge woman. Even if they did a catchweight bout around 140, I doubt Justino could make it there. That's how much she struggles with the weight cut.

People were saying before Rousey made the drop to 135 pounds that she ducked Cyborg in Strikeforce. This is completely unfounded unless you know the history around that time period.

In 2011, both Cyborg and Rousey were featherweights. In December of 2011, Rousey was coming off a win over Julia Budd, considered a top featherweight, and Cyborg had a fight with Hiroko Yamanaka, defending her Strikeforce Featherweight Championship.

In the aftermath of the Yamanaka fight, Cyborg tested positive for steroids (stanozolol) and was suspended for a year. It was a result that did not shock many who had seen the physique that Justino carried around.

So what was Rousey to do? The featherweight division was now folded as a result of Cyborg's mistake, so she moved down to the bantamweight division where she was given a title shot and won. She found a new weight class to call home, which, to be honest, is her natural weight class.

So how doesn't she deserve to be the top pound-for-pound fighter? I don't know, but being 7-0 with seven first-round armbar finishes against top featherweights and bantamweights while being pretty active since 2011 would likely support that claim.

Finally, the last thing that I have heard that is completely ludicrous is the UFC is protecting Rousey.

It's hard to take that claim seriously at all, but I will address it.

Before coming to Strikeforce, Rousey was 2-0 against top-15 featherweight Charmaine Tweet and top-three featherweight Ediane Gomes. That puts her at 2-0 against top-15 fighters.

Then she came to Strikeforce and beat top-10 Sarah D'Alelio and top-five Julia Budd on the Challengers cards. That is 4-0 vs. top-15 fighters and 2-0 under the Zuffa umbrella.

She then got her title shot against then-ranked No. 1 Miesha Tate, winning the fight and the title. That put her at No. 1.

The UFC then "protected" her by having her face top contender and then No. 2 fighter Sarah Kaufman, who she defeated very quickly. Of course, when using the word "protected," I am being sarcastic because Kaufman was a real threat to test Rousey and was made quick work of.

Finally, Rousey made her debut in the UFC defending the title against Liz Carmouche. Let's remember, Miesha Tate at this time did not feel she was ready for a rematch after her win over Julie Kedzie, so she was out of the picture. Kaufman had just lost, so she was out of consideration. So a top-10 bantamweight who has stepped up on short notice for a title shot in the past threw her name in the hat in Carmouche.

She fought valiantly, but lost. So, in her seven fights, Rousey defeated six top-10 fighters and one top-15 fighter. Five of the fights were under the Zuffa banner.

In her upcoming fight, people still say the UFC is protecting Rousey. But remember this before you hit troll status. Before Miesha Tate got her rematch coming off a loss, Cat Zingano was the rightful top contender. She is undefeated and smashed Tate via TKO to get that opportunity. However, injuries happen and Tate was the best fit to take her spot.

That's nothing I can call protecting.

So, in conclusion, I know I cannot stop the hate and venom that gets spewed at Ronda Rousey for her personality and other reasons, but at least consider these things before you make a negative assertion about the champ. Most of the hate is unjustified, it's just personal feelings over fact.


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