UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey drew the ire of the sport's faithful after a genius non-handshake maneuver after a victory over Miesha Tate at UFC 168.
That's right—genius. Say hello to the bad gal:
Rousey wants fans to dislike her. She has fully embraced her role as the company's top heel, knowing full and well fans will buy up pay-per-views in the hopes of seeing her take a loss—which in turn gives her more clout within the company—and with advertisers.
Rousey and Tate have bad blood that dates back a long time, only further intensified earlier in the year thanks to their opposite positions as coaches on the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, as ESPN details:
Rousey and Tate were opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter. It’s the 6th time opposing coaches will face off for a UFC title. #UFC168— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 29, 2013
But that only sweetens the pot for Rousey. Sure, Tate was the first to ever survive the opening round with Rousey in the 2008 Olympic medalist's eight pro fights, but it was truly a lopsided affair before another patented arm-bar finish at 58 seconds in the third round.
It was indeed a dominant showing for Rousey:
Ronda Rousey was 6-for-8 on takedown attempts, most in a single fight in her career. #UFC168— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 29, 2013
Of course, not every fan will despise Rousey for the act. ESPN's Robert Flores is one such observer:
Flores alludes to professional wrestling, which has its roots in the eternal struggle that is good vs. bad. In this case, Rousey is the bad character, but one that demands respect through utter domination and a sense of reality—she is not going to fake a handshake with someone she clearly despises.
Love or hate the non-handshake?
In a sport grounded in that reality, Rousey rises above with a subtle, but supremely effective act of defiance. The cascade of boos that rang down from the depths of the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena only confirmed just how brilliantly Rousey has assumed the role.
If the boos are not enough, simply do a quick search on Twitter or other forms of social media. The overwhelming negative reactions to Rousey's actions that are not suitable for display here tell the story.
Rousey is one of UFC's dominant names, through both domination and brilliant tactics. For that, she deserves more praise than criticism, and more acknowledgment than distaste.