Ronda Rousey joined Liz Carmouche on Saturday night in the Octagon for a fight that held up to its historical significance. The first women to ever compete in the Octagon, Rousey and Carmouche have set a new trend for women competing in male-dominated sports—but how long will this trend last?
Though intially a small portion of the UFC fanbase lamented the idea of two women taking the center stage when the matchup was announced in December, there was no doubting who the real fans came to see at the Honda Center Saturday. 15,525 fans came and paid $1.4 million to see if Rousey could win her 10th out of 10 amateur or professional contests with a first-round arm bar. As expected, Rousey kept her streak alive and made a believer out of anyone who doubted whether or not she could fill seats and beat Carmouche. Though a co-main event between Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson shared the stage, there was no doubt left in the minds of those who watched UFC 157 who the main event was.
As Danic Patrick also makes her bid at the Daytona 500, this is turning out to be a pretty momentous week for female athletes everywhere. Rousey, who has an equally captivating smile and personality, brought down the Honda Center despite the pitiful protests from some fans. In fact, Rousey get a a rousing roar when she entered the arena from fans of all backgrounds, genders and ages. Screaming their lungs out in her honor, by the time she entered the cage Rousey had already saved UFC 157, UFC president Dana White explained.
"Imagine how this place would have been had [Machida-Henderson] been the main event," White said. "Everyone would have left here [angry] and it would have ruined the show."
For two women to create the buzz Rousey and Carmouche created before and after the event, there has to be plenty of talent on both sides. With all the pressure in the world to do what she was expected to do in momentous fashion, Rousey couldn't have done more for herself and her sport Saturday. This isn't a win for just Rousey. It's a victory for UFC and for all females trying to disregard outdated stereotypes that women can compete only in an equal, but separate setting.
Rousey downed that notion last night. She showed that equality in competition needs no barries or separatism based on gender, and women can actually triumph over men in head-to-head competition for ratings when placed on the same stage (or cage.)
"Ronda is a big star, man, and people want to see her," White said afterward.
This certainly isn't the last time we'll see Ronda Rousey's name in lights. Hopefully it's the last time it comes with protest.
Listen to Rousey and Carmouche's post-fight interviews below.
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