December 7, 2012

Pay-Per-View Not the Right Choice For Ronda Rousey’s UFC Debut

By Adam Martin Subscribe to Articles by Adam Martin

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you already know that former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has been signed to the UFC. And now, she has her first opponent.

It was announced by UFC president Dana White yesterday at the UFC on FOX 5 pre-fight press conference that Rousey – who has been crowned the first-ever UFC women’s bantamweight champion – is set to fight Liz Carmouche in the headliner of the UFC 157 pay-per-view, which takes place Feb. 23 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

But in my opinion, pay-per-view is the wrong choice for Rousey’s debut.

Yes, Rousey is an excellent fighter, but she has been fighting in Strikeforce for the last year, and the casual UFC fans don’t really know her yet. To ask that same casual fan to plunk down for $55 for a PPV headlined by two women who many have never heard of is, to me, asking way too much.

Instead, the UFC should have booked Rousey as the main event for the April FOX card. That would have given both her and women’s MMA the exposure they need to make a mark in the mainstream market, because it would have been a free trial of sorts. Instead, the UFC is being greedy and asking fans to pay a hefty sum of money for a fight that’s likely to last a minute.

That’s no hyperbole, as Rousey has run through all of her opponents in MMA thus far, and stylistically, this a bad matchup for Carmouche, who, like Rousey, does her best work on the ground. Yes, it will be nice if Rousey sinks in that famous armbar of hers, but no one wants to pay for a PPV that is headlined by an uncompetitive fight. And if you don’t believe me, just look at the odds, where Rousey opened up as a -1500 favourite and Carmouche entered as a +700 underdog. That means Rousey is even more of a favourite to beat Carmouche than Anderson Silva was to defeat Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. Carmouche is tough, but this fight is a mismatch.

Furthermore, now that Rousey vs. Carmouche is the main event of UFC 157, the co-main event between light heavyweights Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida will only be three rounds, even though that’s the ideal five-round, non-title fight. It’s smart that the UFC is going to put Henderson and Machida – as well as Urijah Faber, who takes on Ivan Menjivar – on the undercard to help prop up PPV sales, but there’s no reason why Henderson vs. Machida should take a backseat to Rousey, who hasn’t even fought in the UFC yet.

I believe this is a situation where the UFC is being greedy. They should have given the fans a chance to watch women’s MMA for free -- as there’s no doubt many will be watching it for the first time -- instead of making them pay for it.

Although the UFC hype machine will be high for this one, don’t expect this PPV to have a buyrate of more than 300,000. But will that be good enough for the UFC?

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