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Ronda Rousey tops the list because she's changing the idea that villainy is a business strategy. Rousey isn't just a heel; she sells her boorishness as heroism.
She talks incessantly about loving the hatred of the masses, bragging about being booed in several other countries. She compares herself to Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali. She threatens, bullies, cries, insults, snubs and belittles at every opportunity, both middle fingers raised at anyone who isn't on the "Rousey Train."
She doesn't do it for publicity, although she certainly gets it. She does it because she's mean and arrogant, and the new narrative is that meanness and arrogance are OK if you're good. In fact, they're part and parcel of being good, not just a sad side effect of young fame.
UFC sees dollar signs marching around Rousey and toes her line to obscene lengths.
They play up her Olympic medal to the point of deceptive advertising. Dana White insists Rousey is the greatest star the promotion has ever had, despite 20 years of bigger names and more consistent pay-per-view draws. After her snubbing of Meisha Tate at UFC 168, Joe Rogan chalked the poor sportsmanship up to loyalty, giving her bad behavior a shiny veneer.
Media and the UFC talk about how Rousey is imbalanced because she's better; that greatness requires the kind of self-absorption that makes them irredeemably immature. If Rousey were to literally spit in the face of an opponent, half the world would cheer the incident as warrior mentality.
She's not only made us watch, she's made people redefine what they think a winning attitude is. Heroes used to be heroic, but with Rousey, heroes don't have to compromise. Heroes, according to the Rousey narrative, can be snotty, entitled and childish not in spite of but because of their status as top of the pack.