Female Fight Night
Saturday night I watched two wold class fighters try to take each other down. They stepped into the ring as two very distinct personalities and set of circumstances. One of them is a superstar on the cover of magazines basking in endorsement deals, with a solid team of experts driving the momentum of this hard won career. While the other-the underdog- has fought adversity, bigotry, and fear to train everyday in a refurbished car garage with a team that is far more hard scrambled.
I know this narrative sounds familiar. It is a Rocky like tale. It is those very well edited commercials surrounding the Olympics. It is the story of out lifetime, where we are all striving for the equivalent of a championship belt. But what makes this different is that the two fighters are women, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and Liz “Girlrilla” Carmouche, and they are the first women to fight in the UFC octagon.
The President of the UFC, Dana White, once famously said that a woman would never fight in the octagon. He also threw a hissy fit when a fighter stepped into the ring wearing lavender shorts. Needless to say he is not the most progressive leader, but he is interested in money and that is where Ronda Rousey steps in.
Rousey is a star. She is a judo expert that was raised by a judo phenom. She is talented, driven, has a beautiful smile, and seems to be a kind person. She is one of the most famous fighters in the United States at the moment, and she is the first woman to be signed by the UFC. Rousey has won every fight she has ever had in the first round by armbar, a judo technique where a fighter hyperextends there opponents arm to the verge of breaking. Rousey does it so well that no one has been able to escape it and she always forces a tapout (I know the clothing line is terrible).
Liz Carmouche is newer to fighting than the adolescent judo champion Rousey, but she is skilled and she has heart. Much is made of the fact that Carmouche is an ex Marine with 3 tours of duty in Iraq. She was not allowed to come out as a lesbian during her military career and now she is the first out gay MMA fighter. Her fans are called the “Lizbos” and she comes to the ring wearing a rainbow mouthguard. She is a sympathetic character and she also seems like a rad lady. She was also the only woman who would agree to fight Ronda Rousey.
Women make up a large part of new UFC fans. I grew up with pay per view boxing matches as a reason to have a family party. I was watching the night Mike Tyson bit off part of Evader Hollyfield’s ear. I started watching UFC with a boyfriend and I found it pretty great. I am not a fan of the blood, and some of the douchier parts of the culture that surrounds it (horrible clothing lines, inane tattoos, faux-hawks, and creative facial hair) but I can look past all that to the athleticism and the mental fortitude. The ability to step into a ring and remember your training, counter a skilled opponent, take a punch and at the end of it all (even if you lose) to shake the other persons hand is beyond me. If I was in the octagon I wouldn’t be able to remember my own name.
The fight between Rousey and Carmouche ended as predicted by most, in a first round submission via armbar by Rousey. Carmouche put up a pretty good fight but Rousey had the upper hand, she is just too good. I don’t know who will have the balls to fight Ronda Rousey next but I will be watching.