Monday, November 16, 2015

Ronda's Loss is a Win for Women in Combat Sports (and the Martial Arts)

Everybody's talking about it - Holly Holm's knock-out of Ronda Rousey in UFC 193.

It was the primary topic in my social media (outside of the tragedies in Paris and Beirut) in the aftermath of the fight.  I don't want to break down why Holm beat Rousey.  Lots of people are doing that - my feed is full of such things right now.

But here's one nice breakdown I thought was interesting, from Dan Djurdjevic.  Note that he has a link to the full fight there.  The image below is from that post, and I just had to link it here.

Wow.  Nice work by the new champ.

Here's what I'm excited about - how AWESOME is it that a women's fight is THE talk of the martial arts world?  There were other fights on the card but this is the only thing on peoples' minds.

Rhonda Rousey's contribution to the world of women's sports, women's combat sports, and women in the martial arts can't be understated.  Her incredible streak of wins in the UFC, most of which lasted a minute or less, is the stuff of legend.  Others have trailblazed the path before her, but it was Rousey that made women's combat sports as acceptable to follow for male fans as well as female fans.

This fight was the top of the card, the biggest draw, the #1 anticipated fight of the night, maybe even of the year.  A women's fight!

Without Rousey, that wouldn't have happened. She is the right combination of skill, charisma, and timing to take women's combat sports to a higher level of awareness and fandom in the general population.

Now that she's lost, it's hard to dismiss Rousey as a fluke fighter only facing a division full of weak opponents.  It's hard to claim that only Rousey is a the only female fighter worth watching and following.  Holm broke open the gates when she knocked out Rousey, and she did it with skill and strategy.

Holm's win is not just for the UFC Bantamweight championship, it's for every woman who wants to work hard and rise in the combat sports. It also gives a huge push to the idea of women in the martial arts in general - that we can, with work and dedication, be very good fighters worth taking seriously.

It's a great day for women's combat sports overall.

Congratulations to Ms. Holm, and thank you, Ms. Rousey!