Ronda Rousey Becomes First Mixed Martial Artist to Win an ESPY Award

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2014

USA Today

UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey already owns a shiny belt and an Olympic bronze medal in judo. Now, she gets to add a fancy trophy to her shelf after taking the ESPY Award for 2014's Top Female Athlete. Rousey beat out 2014 Olympic gold medalist in slalom Mikaela Shiffrin, University of Connecticut guard Breanna Stewart and WNBA star Maya Moore. 

She earned the prize for her impressive run over the last 12 months, which has seen her take three dominant wins over Miesha Tate, Sara McMann and Alexis Davis. 

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. beat out Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones for the Top Fighter award at this year's ESPY Awards.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. beat out Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones for the Top Fighter award at this year's ESPY Awards.Kevin Winter/Getty Images

She was the only mixed martial artist to be honored at ESPN's award show. UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman was nominated for the ESPY for Biggest Upset for his UFC 162 victory over Anderson Silva but was beaten out by Mercer's shocking 78-71 upset victory over Duke during NCAA basketball's March Madness.

Both Rousey and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones were nominated for Top Fighter honors alongside boxers Andre Ward, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. The award went to Mayweather.

This is the first time a mixed martial artist has won an ESPY Award. Various UFC champions, including Randy Couture, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida, were nominated for Top Fighter honors in the past, but none of them took home top honors, losing each year to either Mayweather or fellow boxing great Manny Pacquiao.

Interestingly, Rousey is just the second female to be nominated for the Top Fighter award, with the other being recent UFC signee Holly Holm.

Rousey has long been regarded as one of the most identifiable personalities in her sport and a pioneer among women in combat sports. This award speaks to her popularity and accomplishments in UFC.