Rousey to UFC?

October 25, 2012

MMA Fighting reports on Dana White’s interview with Sports Illustrated on Tuesday where he indicated that women’s MMA will be heading to the UFC.  The reason for the move is due to Strikeforce Women’s Champ Ronda Rousey.

White was an opponent of women’s MMA in the UFC and affirmed his position when Zuffa purchased Strikeforce.  However, it appears that White has changed course based upon the popularity of Rousey.

via Wikimedia Commons

White indicated that there is no time frame for this and Rousey’s manager stated that she still has three fights left on her Strikeforce contract.

Payout Perspective:

With the addition of events in 2013, its plausible to argue that the UFC will need attractive fights to fill its cards.  Rousey is a hot commodity in MMA as she has built an impressive resume in a short timeframe.  And she’s finished her opponents with an armbar – her signature move.   Moreover, and most importantly, she is an outgoing, attractive female that is a good ambassador for the sport.  But, the question will be whether viewers will be interested in Rousey.  And if so, will they be interested in women’s MMA as a whole.

While many MMA enthusiasts are fine with the blood and bruising involved in a men’s match, how many casual viewers will be fine seeing a women busted open?  Sure, MMA purists will point to the fact that its sport and if you don’t like it don’t watch it.  But, the point of including Rousey in the UFC is that you want to attract viewers.

Will the decision to bring in women’s MMA help the UFC?  Or, does it mean that Strikeforce is on its way out?  While we can argue the overarching question of whether women’s MMA would appeal to an audience, the more practical question is whether the move means the demise of Strikeforce?

The argument that Strikeforce may be on life support is buttressed by the fact it has cancelled its last two events due to injuries to its main events.  It has pointed to 2013 as its next event but nothing has been made official.  Moving Rousey, and women’s MMA to the UFC would be a sign that the organization could be sunsetting in the near future.  Without Rousey, there is no women’s MMA in Strikeforce.

If Rousey headlines or co-main event’s a UFC card, would it speak to the advancement of gender equality in MMA or the popularity of one?  Invicta FC has shown that there is an audience for women’s MMA.  Rousey drew the biggest ratings for Strikeforce on Showtime this year.  And she has shown a penchant for promoting fights.  It will be interesting to see how UFC and Fox handles the issue if and when it happens.

2 Responses to “Rousey to UFC?”

  1. Tim on October 26th, 2012 3:09 AM

    I for one will not watch any MMA involving women. UFC is killing itself like they killed Pride and now Strikeforce.

  2. jon on October 28th, 2012 6:35 AM

    Unfortunate for you Tim. You’ve missed some awesome fights over the years with talented women.

    Kedzie/Tate from the summer is a FOTY candidate, too.

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