November 19, 2015

Star-Crossed: The Fallout From Ronda Rousey's Loss Proves She Has Transcended the Sport

By Raphael Garcia

Now that the dust has settled on UFC 193, the retrospection has begun. The mixed martial arts world witnessed a moment that very few thought would occur. Not only did it occur, but it occurred in a way that seemed almost surreal. Holly Holm became the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion when she knocked out Ronda Rousey. That outcome of this main event bout revealed a lot of things worth discussing, but the most compelling talking point is that now the world knows just how much star status Rousey has attained.

Heading into the card, UFC 193 was clearly The Ronda Rousey Show. Media outlets throughout the sport did all they could to provide near minute-by-minute updates on everything Rousey was doing leading up to the fight. The moment she was knocked out, however, the response resonated far beyond the realm of sports.

Entertainment figures as varied as Lady Gaga, JWoww, and Taz spoke out about the stunning knockout. The Rousey coverage started on outlets like Sherdog, MMA Fighting, and ESPN, but soon found itself in places such as Time, CNN, and NBC. Rousey’s shine as a star transcended the sport of MMA and the media outlets that cover it. If it was still questioned whether or not Rousey is a mainstream star, we were given our answer.

The debates that started immediately after her loss further cement that idea. Questions of whether she’s someone that fans should look up to, or whether this defeat was representative of “karma” continually popped up across social media. These are the types of conversations that follow the high-profile failures of athletes who have crossed over into the mainstream. Stars like LeBron James, Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez, and Serena Williams frequently find themselves in the sights of critiques that start in the field of play but quickly spill into everything beyond. The media is there to deliver any bit of new “information” available while the fans are there to eat it all up.

Rousey is firmly established as a part of this group. Her defeat sparked all types of conversations, such as the implications of the excitement of men towards an outspoken female athlete, or America’s overinvestment in celebrities. Nothing was off limits, and everything received an interesting “Rousey” twist. This media coverage included images of a distraught Rousey covering her face in shame while in a Los Angeles airport -- all signs that Rousey is no longer “just” a fighter, but someone whose fame clearly eclipses the sport in which she competes.

Many experts agree that the sport, its fans, and Rousey herself will benefit from the former champion’s sabbatical from competition. Her medical suspension puts her out for at least six months, but UFC President Dana White is already talking about a rematch. Fortunately for everyone involved, Rousey’s star power gives her the ability to walk away for a time, only to create a massive shockwave upon her return. Right now, the world is just bracing itself.

UFC 193
Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm (UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship): Holly Holm def. Ronda Rousey via KO (head kick) at 0:59 of Round 2.

Click the stars to rate this fight.



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UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm (formerly UFC 193: Lawler vs. Condit) took place on November 14, 2015 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC 193 was.



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