You created her, now what? You built her up, now what? She actually believed, now what? Now what seems to be the proverbial question after Ronda Rousey got kicked in the back of the skull, pounded in the grill twice and was knocked out in Australia last night. The one who was given movie roles, endorsements, legend/icon status, interviewed by seemingly every media outlet possible and a force fed role model for little girls was there splattered on the mat similar to another media created sports hero – Manny Pacquaio.
Rousey has been the “IT” athlete for the last two years. She pumped up the UFC fan base and got the casual fan interested in all of her fights. Her first round knockouts captured the imagination of the public. The press ate it up. Magazine covers followed, late night TV came calling then the ultimate took place — Hollywood. All of this was in a whirlwind that put her on the same marketability level of LeBron James. ESPN couldn’t get put her on the screen enough because the public embraced a rough, tough, allegedly sexy female fighter. Her brash attitude, tough talk towards Floyd Mayweather and her rags to riches story were exactly what movie screenwriters would write up to endear that character to the public at large.
She had the world in the palm of her hand. Her knockouts drew comparisons to Mike Tyson pre-rape case. Her ability to draw a crowd by talking trash like male athletes garnered heaps of praise by young and old media pundits. It was the most perfect of storms. All she had to do was keep knocking opponents out. But a funny thing happened on the way to her world domination – she bought into her own hype.
They say she didn’t train as hard for the fight Saturday night. That seems convenient and is an old excuse whenever a heavily favored fighter loses. Tyson has spewed the same story to explain getting dropped by Buster Douglas out in Japan all those years ago. Birds of a feather flock together, her loss and more importantly how she lost had to be explained so they dragged out the sports equivalent of the dog ate my homework.
They’re also saying she was too busying “selling” the fight and lost her focus, again another generic excuse that’s made the rounds for decades. For all of her tough talk about Mayweather – there’s a fighter who “sells” every one of his fights but routinely defeats his opponents with the greatest of ease. When’s the last time he looked out of shape/not focused or anything close to resembling that during a fight?
To me that’s where the tide turned – when she started throwing verbal jabs at Floyd to appeal to the mass media who owns tons of vitriol for the undefeated controversial champion. The causal fan ate up her quotes dissing Floyd. She got away with the slander because of her gender and the irony of the history of domestic abuse at the hands of Floyd. The general public completely ignored her own interactions with the same thing that sent Floyd to prison. She got carried away with it it seems. She drank the kool-aid and damn did it taste good. She was teflon — seemingly no woman could beat her and she had tough talk to go at any dude she wanted.
Then that roundhouse kick to the back of her dome happened, then the closed fists pounded twice upon her bruised face at close range. It all came crashing down in Australia, then social media took over. First it was little Simba from Lion King checking on her fallen body, then Pacquaio n her both equally laid out side by side, then the finale with the now infamous Jordan face meme. Her run is done. The rematch won’t matter although the hype machine will restructure and reroute to make you think otherwise.
The cloak of invincibility was ripped off and what was left was a fallen hero who was exposed for what she really was: A perfectly created star backed by corporations with carefully chosen opponents who had the gates to all things Hollywood opened for her. Ultimately with my eyes her run will be forever viewed as more Linsanity than anything close to resembling Mike Tyson.