By Zach Arnold | December 17, 2012
So, the debate this weekend in media circles was about Dana White’s defense of Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche being booked for the main event slot of the UFC show this February at the Anaheim Pond (Honda Center). There really shouldn’t even be a debate.
Sure, I suppose you could have a debate in a Machiavellian kind of way if you think that Dana wants women’s MMA to tank, ergo Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche in the main event flopping would somehow serve his purposes of saying, “See, I told you women’s MMA in UFC wouldn’t work.”
However, that just doesn’t logically make sense from a current or historical perspective.
When Gary Shaw was promoting Gina Carano as his women’s ace, was he in the women’s MMA business or the Gina Carano business? He did pretty well with Gina as one of his top two aces (Kimbo Slice being the other ace). Gina drew plenty of eyeballs against female fighters who had lower media profiles. She saw her run end against Cyborg, but it was a hell of a run. You can’t say that the experiment was a failure. You can argue that the ceiling could have and should have been higher if Gina was more dedicated to training, but that’s about it.
Much in a similar vein to Gary Shaw with Gina Carano, Dana White sees Ronda Rousey as his vehicle to reach the masses who only care about Entertainment Tonight, Extra, The Insider, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, and random Youtube video clips where Rousey can make remarks about sex & testosterone and know that a billion people are going to talk about her comments. Rousey is completely shameless in the way she attracts what political pundits call ‘low information voters’ and she’s proud of it.
Appealing to the masses on a sleazy level works. It’s why Vince McMahon is still in business and it’s why Chael Sonnen still has PPV appeal.
So, why is there more heat on Dana White for promoting Ronda Rousey the way Gary Shaw would promote Gina Carano? Rousey’s a significantly better fighter & athlete. Combine that with the media buzz that Zuffa’s consumer behaviorologists in Las Vegas are focusing on and you have a pretty fail-safe combination here.
Does the success of Rousey given her tactics mean that I have to embrace her actions? Hell no. I largely find her schtick to be incredibly boring and mundane. However, I’m not the one that UFC is trying to target and get $60 out of to pay for a PPV. I’m going to watch the shows no matter what, anyways.
Other odds and ends from the weekend
The way FX handles the UFC B-level shows makes me scratch my head. Why did they decide to go live in all US time zones for The Smashes TUF Australia Finale but go West Coast delay for the US TUF 16 Finale show? That was a weird move. Plus, it turned out to be a brutal call given that you had two boxing fights going on HBO & Showtime at the same time.
Mike Goldberg’s performance on the TUF 16 Finale show was truly embarrassing. I’m not harsh on him like many other writers are but he should absolutely get called out for … whatever that was on display Saturday night.
Georges St. Pierre is a 4-to-1 favorite to beat Nick Diaz when they fight in Montreal this March. Talk about home cooking. Wonder how UFC feels now spending the capital they did to push GSP/Anderson Silva before GSP/Condit happened and during the PPV itself?
Am I in a bubble here or does it feel like the Junior dos Santos/Cain Velasquez fight coming up in Vegas has less buzz than the media campaign generated for St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit? I couldn’t avoid ads for GSP/Condit, even if I was on Yahoo or watching NBA games on television.