Over the last couple years, mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey had become quite the sensation. In earlier times, Ms. Rousey was an Olympian in judo and also became the first woman to sign up to take part in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). This was one tough girl.
During her meteoric rise in the Octagon, Rousey became somewhat of a cult hero. She was knocking out everybody in record time. Well, not exactly. Ronda would charge, throw her opponent to the mat, and eventually apply a technique known as an "arm bar". Once locked in place, an opponent has two options. Tap out (give up) or suffer a dislocated elbow -- even a broken arm.
The vast majority of Rousey's fights ended in this manner, oftentimes very quickly. It was rare for an opponent to make it through the first round.
But it was only a matter of time. Eventually she would come across a world-class professional that was not only wise to Ronda's preferred tactic, but be able to avoid it while countering with her own arsenal.
Enter Holly Holm. While Rousey was basking in all the glory, including film roles, the talk show circuit, and even a talking head on an ESPN stage -- who isn't these days? -- Holm was quietly taking care of business.
Ms. Holm was a former boxer, kick-boxer, and quite formidable in the ring/octagon herself over the years. A much more rounded fighter and also undefeated since she jumped into the UFC fray.
Rousey attempted her usual intimidation techniques even at the pre-fight weigh-in trying to start a scuffle, but Holm kept her cool.
Like some other notables from the sports world, say, Mike Tyson and Ndamukong Suh, Rousey could come across as quite charming when away from the venue of battle. But once in it, they all turn(ed) into ferocious animals. Have no mercy and take no prisoners. Kill, stomp, or at least maim. It truly is a scary thought how such people can flip a mental switch back and forth between being genteel one moment, and turning into psychopathic monsters of physical mayhem and destruction the next. Who ARE these people down deep? Do they even know themselves?
Nevertheless, attitude, reputation, and bullying will only go so far in the mixed martial arts world. Especially when a participant has long been pretty much a one-trick pony. See armbar mentioned above.
Bullies aren't used to getting kicked in the head. But that's exactly what happened to Ronda Rousey courtesy of Holly Holm in the 2nd round of their UFC fight. The superior all-around fighter had sized up her opponent, waited for her chance to deliver a devastating blow, and it got there. A knockout.
It will be interesting to see what Ronda Rousey does next. Will she want a rematch? The UFC would likely love it. They were charging $60 on pay-per-view to see this particular bout. Maybe Dana White and his shysters could hype Rousey/Holm II into $80 or $100. Never underestimate the power of shills and the stupidity of the masses that will continue to fork it over.
But a few short hours ago, the once fearsome Ronda Rousey got knocked into next week by a world-class professional that would likely do it again in any such rematch. Hats off to Holly Holm. She's the real deal.
In a recent interview, Rousey stated that once her fighting career was over, she'd settle down, raise animals, and pop out a few kids. Nobody would ever hear from her again. Certainly her career isn't over after suffering her first defeat, but it had to send a message. All the glares, attitude and attempted armbars in the world aren't always going to be good enough to win a fight, especially against someone who can kick her in the head and knock her out.
And although just a guess, it wouldn't be too surprising if the bit parts in movies went away, and the talk show folks somehow find her a bit less compelling as a guest. When one is a heavy favorite and then gets knocked out, such are the consequences.
On top of the world one day, and one kick to the head takes it all away. Alas.
But it was only a matter of time.