After Ronda Rousey’s first loss in the UFC, there were a million questions to be answered. One of the first ones that popped into my head was “What the hell does Dana White think about his golden goose Ronda Rousey getting absolutely wrecked?”
I had seen a couple of post fight interviews with Dana and he certainly looked disappointed right after the fight was over. Who could blame him?
The biggest draw in his company was no longer the champion and no longer larger than life. In under two rounds, Rousey became just another fighter, bloodied and unconscious, with the deflating sound of her enormous ego almost audible above the crowd of 56,214.
I became plum giddy when I saw my podcast feed updated on Tuesday with Dana White as a guest on Joe Rogan’s Podcast as recorded on the private plane back from Australia where Holly Holm became a household name overnight.
Rogan’s podcast is a deep dive into thoughtful conversations, not soundbites like most media outlets provide with in and out interviews. I couldn’t wait to hear Joe and Dana break down what had just happened in the Octagon between Rousey and Holm, then almost as importantly what the aftermath would look like.
The most interesting tidbit from White was when he discussed the betting line moving more toward Holm right after the weigh-in between the two bantamweights. Of course, Rousey was still a huge favorite (as high as 12 -1), but apparently many fight fans saw enough at the weigh-in to put their trust in an upset, which turned out to be pretty damn financially sound!
I have never put much stock in these weigh-ins that seem to me to be just one last shot at hyping up a PPV. White feels totally different, putting a ton of emphasis on the weigh-in, saying it is the most important part of a fight except the actual fight when it comes to predicting what will happen.
One thing that White repeated several times was that Holly Holm fought the perfect fight. I don’t deny she did exactly what she should have. She did perform perfectly, and her gameplan was spot on.
However, without taking anything away from the new women’s champ, it was Rousey who fought the most imperfect fight imaginable. If Holm had prepared herself to guard against multiple takedown attempts, it was unnecessary. Rousey’s plan was to throw punches with a better striker, and she was hell bent on sticking with that strategy as she chased Holly Holm the entire fight, getting tagged all the while.
It’s cool that Dana White gave his new champion the credit for what she did, but he went overboard which will certainly help sell even more PPVs to see the rematch.
White stated that this first Rousey v Holm fight broke the live attendance record and also shattered several other UFC marks with over a million PPV buys.
Joe Rogan said he was conflicted after the fight, being happy for Holm, but really disappointed for Rousey after such a big blow to her career. The UFC commentator was very emotional after Rousey’s last with over Bethe Correia, as he talked about her dad’s suicide, an event that Correia felt the need to make jokes about.
Rogan also compared the Holm win to Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson. He said the fallout from Douglas upsetting Tyson was felt for years in the heavyweight division of boxing as Evander Holyfield later beat Douglas then went on to whip Tyson twice. That led to Holyfield having one of the most memorable heavyweight title runs ever.
Rogan made a clear distinction between Douglas, who was a lazy one hit wonder and Holm who was very experienced in big fights and had been at the top of her game for a long time. Indeed, Holly Holm was relatively new to the UFC, but not new to the spotlight the fight game.
The most memorable point in the fight for me was when Rousey lunged at Holm in the second round with a wild punch missing completely and stumbling against the cage. Rogan’s comedian pal Tony Hinchcliffe was along for the podcast, and he talked about that moment in the fight as well. He noted the look on Rousey’s face as she looked back at Holly Holm after her embarrassing stumble. He said Ronda Rousey looked like she was baffled that this beating was actually happening….to her.
To me, the look on Rousey’s face at that time told the story of the fight. She knew for a fact at that moment she was going to lose her precious belt. She realized that Holly Holm did not need to be a media darling in order to win the bantamweight title. Ronda Rousey knew that she was in the realest of moments, a fight. A fight in which she had no shot of winning from that point forward.
White also talked other UFC news mentioned below. To hear the entire interview, here’s the link.
Other UFC notes:
White mentioned the UFC is building a state of the art rehabilitation facility to help fighters as they recover from injury. That seems to be a great idea since one of the biggest issue the company faces is big fights being shuffled around when one of the fighters ends up hurt. Whatever the UFC can do to speed up the healing process and help prevent injuries will pay dividends in the long run.
White mentioned Jon Jones doing powerlifting and how the guy looks absolutely huge now. The UFC Prez also said it looked like Jones may be getting himself together. I doubt Dana White can tell what’s going on in Jones’ head by watching him throw around a ton of weights so we’ll wait and see on just how far Jones has come since all his legal troubles came to a head with a hit and run.
Talk of PEDs was also a topic that was discussed on the podcast. White talked about the millions it is going to cost the company to clean up the sport, while Rogan talked about some punishments that may go too far.