Let’s get Rowdy: The Double Standard of MMA Fans

Posted: December 29, 2013 in Marketing, PR, Strikeforce, UFC

I’ve been a big negligent of the ol’ blog.  Some personal and professional matters have kept me preoccupied and my writing has suffered a bit. Well, I’m back on the horse and ready to jump back into the wonderful world of MMA.

After months of buildup on The Ultimate Fighter fans finally got to see the rematch of UFC champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and challenger Miesha “Cupcake” Tate.  The “Cupcake” had benefited from the injury of Cat Zigano and was slid into a coaching position on TUF and an instant title shot.  Although many may say it was undeserved, marketers could quickly see the appeal that Dana White and the UFC saw: a rivalry that would create instant ratings. Like Shamrock-Ortiz or Rampage-Evans, these coaches had a hatred that could not be faked.

What I never saw coming however, was the backlash that fans unleashed on Rousey during her time on TUF.  Miesha Tate took a page from the Rousey playbook using mind games and smack talk to get under the skin of Rousey.  However, fans seemed to gravitate toward Tate and lose interest in Rousey when she would react (explode) to the goading.

During their first encounter, Rousey defeated Tate for the Strikeforce championship via vicious, limb-snapping armbar. The second fight went a few more rounds, but the result was the same. Rousey won via armbar. The fight was one sided with Rousey taking the better of the striking and judo tossing tate around the octagon at will.  When the fight was over, Tate extended her arm and Rousey walked away.

The fans of the arena exploded with boos and I for one was disgusted – with them. MMA fans that cheer on the Diaz brothers flipping off defeated opponents, love watching Tito Ortiz dig his opponents graves in the cage and still praise Brock Lesnar for his double guns, “Coors light” UFC 100 rant, held Rousey to a different standard. They felt she should have shown more sportsmanship and shook her opponent’s hand.

Ronda Rousey didn’t owe Miesha Tate a handshake. She fulfilled her obligation as a champion by putting the title on the line and going toe-to-toe for the gold.  In her post fight interview with Joe Rogan and her backstage interview (embedded above), Rousey explained her actions, her respect for Tate and why she would not extend her hand.  Fans need to realize if they want to cheer “the bad boys” they need to hold that same respect for the bad ass women of MMA.

I’ll admit I’m in the opposite camp of the booing Vegas crowd. I was cheering on Rousey and admit I loved seeing her walk away from Tate. I found Tate to be obnoxious on TUF and thought that Rousey gave her a well-deserved loss.  The irony of me admitting this is that when fans cheer on the Diaz brothers for similar behavior, I am usually disgusted and screaming for them to show more respect.

This post could easily be 10 pages, so I’ll wrap it up here. As a huge comic book geek and Rousey fan I found Fox’s take on the fight to be perfect.  If you have a moment give this a read. “Ronda Rousey doesn’t need to apologize to anyone for being Ronda Rousey.”

So….what were your thoughts on the fight?

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