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Will Hollywood step in to crash UFC’s party with Ronda Rousey?

By Zach Arnold | August 7, 2013

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2013 may be the year of Ronda Rousey in the UFC. However, it’s also been the year of UFC trying to dumb down her rhetoric in order to generate mass appeal. It’s grating. It’s irritating. It’s beneath her. It’s beneath us.

When marketing tells you to get involved in empty sloganeering, school grade mudslinging, and constant lying, it’s hard to justify and rationalize the remarks you make. It’s like constantly running on a treadmill. You can only tell so many lies before you get exposed and people just tune you out. Call it Hulk Hogan syndrome, if you will.

Ronda Rousey is the best female fighter the UFC has. She’s the best female fighter in the world. So, why does UFC constantly feel the need to put her into positions where she’s having to play the role of Gina Carano in the press most of the time? Because it’s the only playbook that UFC is interested in using, much like Gary Shaw did when he promoted Gina on CBS & Showtime.

It’s a strategy that undersells Ronda Rousey’s value as a fighter. It’s also the laziest marketing strategy. Rather than spend energy promoting Rousey’s credibility as a fighter, UFC spends most of their energy pushing her sex appeal and catfighting with other girls. I’m not suggesting that it’s debasing her marketing potential — but it is debasing to Rousey on a personal level.

Case in point: touting sexuality. When the UFC sent Rousey out on a media blitz regarding her fight with Liz Carmouche, Rousey spent time on HBO Sports talking about being a sex symbol and had an infamous exchange with Jim Rome on Showtime about pre-fight sex. Here was that exchange:

JIM ROME: “Some boxers abstain from sex for up to six weeks before the fight. What is your philosophy on this?”

RONDA ROUSEY: “Um, on the guys or the girls?”

JIM ROME: “Both.”

RONDA ROUSEY: “Um, I mean for girls it raises your testosterone so I try to have as much sex as possible before a fight, actually. Not like with everybody, I don’t like put out Craigslist ads or anything but, you know, if I’ve got a steady I’m going to be like, ‘yo, fight time’s coming up.’ ”

JIM ROME: “That’s great. That works for you.”

It was creepy to watch… and it opened up Pandora’s Box. Now that Rome had asked the question and Rousey played along by answering it, she opened the door wide open for everyone to start prying into her sexual endeavors. Why should anything be off limits? The justification for a complete invasion of privacy was established. And not just an invasion of privacy, but an invasion by complete strangers and fans. The fans and press simply pick up their cues from the UFC.

Which is why when a fan asked Rousey the same question that Rome and other sleazy male interviewers asked in the past, Rousey got uncomfortable.

Rousey drew quite a reaction on social media for rebuffing the fan’s question. She had every right to react the way she did. Her problem? It was a moment of candor and honesty and given the act that UFC has been wanting her to push, it’s a headache. The problem with Rousey pushing back against the fan and not pushing back against media types who ask her the same drivel is that it’s a double standard that basically sends the following message: go with the program, don’t ruffle any feathers, do what Uncle Dana says or else you’ll get labeled as a “bitch in a beauty salon.”

And with that, the circus in promoting the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter on Fox Sports 1 continues. Miesha Tate and Karyn Bryant are gossiping about whether or not Ronda Rousey can keep a boyfriend. Rousey is cracking Cupcake jokes and ripping into Bryan Caraway, Tate’s man. Then she’s flipping the finger to Tate at “World Tour” pressers. Why are these antics necessary to promote the show? Because the franchise (Ultimate Fighter) is on life support. Because Rousey had little trouble with Tate the first time they fought and distractions are needed to sell a rematch where Rousey is a 10-to-1 favorite. I’m sure it will be Michelle Beadle-approved material. With Ronda Rousey and the UFC, life is reality TV.

At some point, however, when you start engaging in non-stop bullshitting you reach a crossroads. You either get fatigued and stop the campaign or you become delusional and buy into your own rhetoric. In the case of Ronda Rousey, the fantasy land of Hollywood is ready to give her a reprieve:

The pay is better. The insurance coverage is better. The perks are better. It won’t be long before we see Rousey and UFC work out an arrangement similar to WWE and Rock.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

16 Responses to “Will Hollywood step in to crash UFC’s party with Ronda Rousey?”

  1. Chunk Finley's Dong says:

    Rousey has a minor role in Ex3; with that cast she won’t be anything more than an extended cameo.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    There are so few women in hollywood that can do the physical roles that it only makes sense…

  3. Steve4192 says:

    I doubt it.

    Ronda is a competitor first and foremost. It’s what she has done her entire life. I don’t see a few non-speaking roles in movies changing that.

    • Chuck says:

      I could. She is a woman in her mid-twenties. The window of opportunity to grab her money then get out is shrinking. I wouldn’t blame her at all if she stopped fighting and went Hollywood (hell, or even Sundance) for good. To stay in the martial arts game she could always open up her own judo/bjj gym for extra cash (especially if they train celebrities) and to stay in shape. Just like Judo Gene Lebell and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, and many other martial artists-cum-actors-cum-stuntmen.

      Olympic bronze medalist for judo Allen Coage/Bad News Brown has said something like “All right, I filled up the scrapbook [judo career], now time to fill up the check book [pro wrestling career. For Ronda you can switch that out for movies]“.

  4. Steve4192 says:

    “The pay is better. The insurance coverage is better. The perks are better.”

    I doubt that.

    Ronda is taking glorified stunt-woman roles. She’s showing up, filming a couple of scenes with her in the background looking scary, then filming a fight scene and losing to put over the star. She’s basically taking the same kind of roles that her Uncle Gene built his career with.

    That doesn’t pay big bucks. Just ask Judo Gene.

    • Chuck Finley's Dong says:

      The sad thing is that this should be the time where Ronda gives up WMMA and acts full time; once she hits her mid 30s in Hollywood the roles are fewer and fewer.

    • Chuck says:

      “That doesn’t pay big bucks. Just ask Judo Gene.”

      Unless you talked to him personally and asked him about this, I sincerely doubt that.

      Quote of the day for me:

      ““You know, it’s kind of funny, I never really thought about a future when I was younger,” LeBell said. “I took some criticism early on for wanting to be considered a legitimate fighter and for still being a stuntman. I won hundreds of trophies competing in judo and wrestling, but you know what? You put them all together and they don’t make a house payment. In the movies, the good guy comes along and beats the stuntman, so I have probably more losses than any other stuntman alive. I can say I’m financially in great shape, and that came from all of that losing.””

      Seems like Gene was just fine with all of that. Pay is pay. And the thing about acting and doing stunt work? Someone can do that for DECADES. Just look at Jackie Chan.

      • edub says:

        Good points Chuck.

        Even if Ronda got 25gs for each part (which I believe is probably much more), that’s 50 for 2 weeks worth of work. Pretty damn good for a 1/25th of the year.

      • Jonathan Snowden says:

        Gene told me explicitly that he didn’t think he’d have necessarily gone into fighting because movie work paid better and was steady money.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Keep telling yourself that…

  5. frankp316 says:

    Zach has already put his finger on it. The reason Ronda is taking her entire training camp to Bulgaria to film The Expendables 3 is she is sick of the TUF BS. She says she knows she looks nuts on the show and doesn’t want to be around when it airs.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Deep down, Rousey is jealous of Miesha. Rousey might be the better fighter, but Miesha is much more beautiful and gets more attention because of it.

    2) Just like high school, two dudes can fight and then be friends. But women are enemies for life. Some things never change.

    3) Rousey comes across as uneducated.

    4) How bad will it be for WMMA if any star that doesn’t look like Cyborg runs for Hollywood at the first sign of movies success?

    She is now saying she will be done fighting in 2 years. Coincidence that the movie rolls are popping up and she is saying this? Nope.

    If this becomes a trend with WMMA… That the non ugly champions leave at the first wiff of Hollywood, it will kill WMMA pretty quickly…

    • frankp316 says:

      She didn’t say she will be finished with MMA in two years. She said she COULD be finished because she plans her future in four year cycles. On Twitter last night, Ronda realized that what she said was not interpreted as she intended.

    • Jonathan says:

      45 Huddle,

      On points 1-3 I have no clue what you are talking about, I think that they are wrong, and obviously we have a difference of opinion.

      One point 4, I think that you are right on.

      I know that two (Gina and Ronda) does not make a trend, but it would not surprise me if this continues to happen, and if it does, it will be bad for WMMA.

      • frankp316 says:

        Ronda and Gina are not comparable because Gina was the star in her first movie and Ronda is not the star in either of these movies. It’s not as big of a time commitment. Also, Ronda has said repeatedly that she will not leave MMA until the UFC women’s division can get along without her. She doesn’t know how long that will take. Saying she COULD quit in two years is too easy to misinterpret. She knows now she shouldn’t have said it.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    Bellator’s Fight Master did 398,000 viewers last night. That is shockingly bad.

    I didn’t expect it to do huge numbers, but I did expect it to have an increase from 2 weeks ago since Ortiz/Rampage have been in the media the last week or so on most MMA Websites.

    I will be shocked if they put on a 2nd season of it.

    Bellator is now left with:

    1) 10 to 12 live shows on SpikeTV this fall on Friday nights. And those shows won’t have much talent because they are likely losing Askren and are saving a few champions for the PPV.

    2) The “big” PPV. Could Bellator be gone by the end of the year if the PPV flops?


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