Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rousey-Tate delivers

The highly anticipated match-up between Miesha "Take-down" Tate and "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey went down last night on Showtime. And, well, things went pretty much according to plan...if you happen to be Ronda Rousey. She submitted Tate via armbar at 4:36 of the first round to capture the Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Championship.

For those unfamiliar with Rousey, this was her fifth--yes, fifth--professional fight. The other four all ended in the first round with Rousey submitting each foe in turn via an armbar. So, this result was hardly unexpected. But I guess one could say that last night's contest was a bit of a moral victory for Tate--the now-former champion--since she lasted for almost the entire first round. Rousey's previous four submission victories all came in under a minute, at 0:25, 0:49, 0:25, and 0:39, in chronological order.

To be fair, Rousey is no novice to competition, having won bronze in judo at the 2008 Olympics. Still, that's a far cry from having your opponent throw elbows, punches, and kicks at your face and body. But the experience angle--one Tate played up in pre-fight interviews--is dead now. The lady is the new champ and it's unlikely that anyone will move her anytime soon.

For Rousey--in many ways--is Tyson reborn. She's cold, all business, and absolutely without mercy. The armbar she applied to Tate did some real damage (that's partly Tate's fault, for not tapping sooner) and Rousey showed absolutely no remorse after the fight. Nor should she have, in my opinion.

But enough talk. Let's go to the highlights:


If you're thinking "hmmm, those two fighters are kind of attractive," you're not alone. And Showtime made liberal use of their good looks to promote the fight. Watch this clip:


There has been some talk of this being somewhat sexist. But I'd note that Rousey, herself, pushed for this fight because she believed hers and Tate's looks would build interest. Personally, I could have done without the shots in tight dresses, but I'm not particularly bothered by it. And at the end of the day, this fight is going to do a lot for women's MMA, perhaps even forcing the UFC to get into the game. Because last night's fight would have been a legitimate Pay-Per-View event (I'm certainly glad that it wasn't). The women in this game, from these two, to Sarah Kaufman (who triumphed in a bloodbath on the undercard and will likely be Rousey's next opponent), to former great Gina Carano, to the now-disgraced Cris Santos, are just as serious as the men and--frankly--just as good. They deserve more attention for their hard work and dedication. More money, too.

Congratulations, Ronda. Well done.

Cheers, all.

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