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Is Ronda Rousey a poor sport?

Why You Should Admire the Champ, Even After Her Refusal to Shake Tate’s Hand

by Michelle Lopez

After watching UFC 168 last night, one has to wonder what it really means to be a champion in MMA. Just because someone is a “champion” at something doesn’t mean they should be admired. Or does it?

MMA is an extreme sport where your sole objective is to bloody and maim your opponent while staying within the boundaries of the rules. The rules allow you to inflict the maximum possible damage – without actually killing your opponent.

Take a moment to think about what that really means.

Last night we saw Ronda Rousey inflict physical and perhaps even emotional damage to her opponent, Miesha Tate. After Rousey won, she shocked the audience by refusing to shake Tate’s hand. Here’s a gif from @ZProphet_MMA showing what happened:

Some would say Ronda showed poor sportsmanship in that moment. But let’s take a look at the bigger picture.

We have here an athlete who has learned to harness her outstanding physical and mental power in such a way that she wins fights every time. Ronda wins in devastating fashion – by systematically assassinating her opponents’ arms.

Everything about Rousey’s performance on December 28th was consistent with the vicious and extreme sport of MMA.

Mean mug? Check.

Pissed off disposition? Check.

Pre-fight self-slapping? Check.

Meaty physique of a female well-schooled in the dangerous art of Judo? Check.

Armbar (albeit fashionably late)? Check.

The refusal to shake Miesha Tate’s loserly hand? Check.

You may look at this loathsome checklist of To Do’s that Rousey instinctively crossed off as evidence of “poor sportsmanship.” Or you might view it as proof of her being a “scary” or “ugly” human being.

But let’s look at the facts:

1) MMA itself is an ugly sport. To win, you have to do some ugly things. Everybody understands that, going in. If it’s ugly in one area, why not make it ugly in all areas? Why pretend it’s a dignified afternoon of tea and crumpets?

2) To win at MMA, you must harness every possible dark resource from inside of you. Anger, revenge, psychopathic rage, a lust for destruction, a death wish – or simply a desire to please your mom-who-taught-you-everything-you-know-about-Judo – whatever is available in your psyche’s bag of tricks, you’d better bring it out and use it.

3) “Mixed martial arts” by definition is about war. The word “martial” means “of war” or “warlike.” Can you imagine a Marine or other servant of the military bombing the Taliban, then shaking hands with them afterwards? Did Al Qaeda destroy the World Trade Center, then shake the U.S. President-at-the-time’s hand, while saying “Great match”? War is an activity that does not involve hand-shaking.

Rousey is a mixed martial artist – meaning, she has various ways of going to war with her opponents. She has turned arm-breaking into an art. And she’s undefeated. Nobody has been able to stop her no matter how much they trained, or how much they smirked, smiled, or laughed at her or her coaches.

Ronda is STILL the champion of a sport that requires a person to use every possible internal resource to win.

Photo courtesy of @ESPN_MMA

Despite her refusal to shake hands with Tate, there are many things to admire about Rousey:

  • Her athleticism
  • Her focus
  • Her refusal to quit
  • Her loyalty to her “family” – those people whom she considers to be the most important to her
  • She stays true to what she believes, even if NOBODY else likes it
  • She presses on, even in the face of tens of thousands of people booing her
  • She holds the belt, despite disgruntled UFC fans who are appalled at her “lack of sportsmanship following a war.”
  • She lives life on her terms

If you were to emulate these good qualities, you could arguably achieve anything you wanted in life – build a business, embark on a creative endeavor, or pursue any worthwhile goal. And that would be admirable.

As for Ronda’s “bad” characteristics? Bad is always subjective and should always be viewed in the proper context. At the end of the day, Ronda Rousey is still the champion of the sport she chose.

About the Author

Michelle Lopez is a copywriter from Colorado. She writes sales pages for bad ass business owners who want to make a sh*t ton of money selling more of their products. When not busy with copywriting, Michelle can be found watching UFC fights and commenting on the drama of certain MMA fighters. Find her on Twitter @MichelleLopezCO or visit her website www.michellelopez.net.

35 comments

  1. ive never seen so much sensationalism in one article lmao

    “The rules allow you to inflict the maximum possible damage – without actually killing your opponent.”

    “Ronda wins in devastating fashion – by systematically assassinating her opponents’ arms.”

    “Last night we saw Ronda Rousey inflict physical and perhaps even emotional damage to her opponent,”

    i mean really…. give me a break. First time viewer?

  2. Dumbest article ever! The article is asking if she is a bad sport. YES. So what if she is athletic and so forth. Does that mean if you are all those good qualities you can’t be a bad sport? She is a champ and congrats to her but she is a horrible person. The fact that people boo her is a sign that recognize that. Again she is a great athlete and MMA fighter. But is she a bad sport and possibly a bad person? YES! I hope Michelle Lopez can do better than this.

  3. This is simply the worst article I have ever read. I cannot believe this would be published. What a waste.
    “Everything about Rousey’s performance on December 28th was consistent with the vicious and extreme sport of MMA.” WHAT kind of statement is that?
    I am never a fan of bashing a writer but this was horrible. I would expect this kind of article from uneducated website, or newspaper, but not from a MMA website?!?!
    Higher standards please.

  4. As I, and many others have said, all the UFC and you are doing is empowering her to act even worse. MMA is supposed to be above the out-of-control actions of lesser sports. When the fight is done, you act appropriately or you are gone. Except when you are Dana White’s little princess. If a male fighter was to have the continual issues that Rousey has had, he would have been in White’s office, and out the door. At this point, I am wondering when Rousey is going to bring in a folding chair, and how White and you are going to spin it so that Psycho Girl is just being picked on.

  5. Well that’s a stretch. Maybe we can all be assholes and some second rate writer will excuse us for it.

  6. Dana likes Rousey. He isn’t empowering her to “act even worse.” She is empowering herself to act in the manner which she thinks is right for herself.

    The male version of Rousey would be Nick Diaz. Dana White loves and is fascinated by Nick Diaz, as he has stated in many interviews. When you have a person such as Rousey or Diaz who says what they really think, does what they want, and doesn’t give a flying f*ck what others think… that’s powerful. Rarely does a human being behave like that. We live in a society that encourages people to play the “manners” game and go against their true selves, keeping the mask on tight.

    So when someone goes around WITHOUT daring to wear a mask… wow, that’s shocking and offensive to everyone who believes they have to continue wearing their masks.

    Rousey is simply being herself, but she is also adding to the sport. As far as I know, she’s also fulfilling her contractual obligations. Dana understands this, which is why he allows such controversial fighters to be paid by his organization. I and countless of family members didn’t give two flying f*cks about WMMA until Rousey came in. My fam ordered their first PPV because we wanted to see Rousey vs Tate rematch. That says something.

  7. To be honest, I wrote it for an audience who aren’t MMA fans. Traditional MMA articles bore me, so I put my unique spin on it, and opened it up to appeal to a ‘human’ audience, rather than just an MMA audience.

  8. People boo Rousey because she doesn’t play by their rules. She plays by HER rules. That takes balls. Props to her.

  9. I hope people start understanding that MMA despite it’s brutality is still a sport. A tough sport but a sport, not exactly war.

    In the end, the better fighter wins and that is how it should be. Mortal combat for sane people requires reasons beyond ego.

  10. So you wrote it for all the people that think MMA is a bloodsport and full of savagery. That really does nothing but further the bad stigma that those ignorant people already have.

  11. Many of us ARE assholes, witness what the blacks are doing recently trying to sucker punch people’s lights out.

  12. The logic in this article is completely illogical.

  13. Great article. Props to Ronda for having integrity. Haters (especially in this comment section) are terrible human beings who are probably as fake as Meisha…

  14. MMA can be pretty gruesome. Let’s not try to sugar coat it by calling it an afternoon cup of tea.

  15. Thanks… but let’s not get carried away.. having an opinion doesn’t automatically mean you’re a terrible human being.

  16. I can be an asshole when I stop paying attention.

  17. MMA is close to war. It’s not the exact same as military war, but there are similarities…

  18. ok so its either one extreme or the other i see, there is no such thing as reality. Sensationalist media hype never gets old I guess. keep it up I’m sure you will be writing for CNN soon, they love that style.

  19. Who cares about the attitude Rousey displays. It’s her, so get over it already. Did T.O. show professionalism after hauling in a TD pass then get in the face of his QB or coach on national television? Sure he did. Just one of numerous athletes who have to have a display of their own. Did you ever watch ESPN and listen to S.A. Smith describe elite athletes? Short and sweet, they are unique unto themselves. They participate to win, not to fit into the neat and tidy box society expects them to live in. Or maybe they just truly don’t give a crap what others think of them. They are involved to display their talent’s and mostly to WIN. That is their drive. It’s MMA. If you all got as passionate about something that truly mattered, maybe the world would be a better place.

  20. Actions speak louder than words. You could see how insecure she became when the fans booed her relentlessly. I guess Daddy just didn’t love her enough.

  21. stupid article, doesnt anyone read these before they get published

  22. So do spoiled children. Ignoring the standards of others isn’t automatically a badge of honor when those standards are decency and respect. Follow the Ronda-Tate saga from start to finish and you’ll find by and large that the primary antagonist throughout was Ronda, who even admits it to a large extent; the same one who’s now playing the victim to minimize her trashy demeanor. Wow. What a hero.

    Trying to justify the behavior by tying it into her profession is equally as misguided and historically inaccurate as the overwhelming majority of upper echelon fighters in the UFC and throughout combat sports have and do still conduct themselves with maturity and honor. Not that historical precedent is necessary to punch a million holes in that ridiculous premise that martial artists are exempt from public scrutiny because they do something that resembles fighting.

    In an elaborate way, what I’m saying is: Stop. Just…stop.

  23. Indeed Cal James!

  24. Ronda is a beast! No one can touch her! Good article Michelle.

  25. Yes she is a poor sport. But! She is also an excellent fighter. Until someone stops her, she will continue to be a poor sport. Money Mayweather is the poorest sport of them all. Is he still the best boxer out there? Absolutely no question about it. RR is the best female fighter in MMA. Prove her wrong and shut her hole, then she might change. Until someone does that, we will have to deal with it.

  26. LOL. that Miss, is the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard. I’m pretty sure no one is shooting at them while they fight. Let’s be real a street fight is more dangerous than a cage fight. There’s no one waiting on someone to go down and jump in and stop a street fight.
    This isn’t war, and to even compare the two, is just f-ing retarded.

  27. So in other words, you are trying to cover the fact that you are an idiot and wrote one of the dumbest articles I have ever read.

  28. Yvonne Coats-Branley

    hey dumbass…if you knew anything about these 2…Rousey has a history with her and her family and she just doesn’t LIKE HER…..blah blah blah on all the other stuff…

  29. They are right to sucker punch you honky asses, anything we do to you lot is justified in my book.

  30. Wow! 2 months to answer. Are you always that slow? Did you have to get a white guy to tell you what words and sentences mean? Did you get help with your spelling “honky asses”?
    Maybe you and I should get together to discuss the taste of blood, yours. This time no written words or sentences for you to struggle with . . . . just pure energy.

  31. fuckyouandyourhockeyteam

    garbage article, she was just a poor sport and there is no point in trying to excuse it

  32. Rhousey may just be using the same strategy that guys like Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, Muhammed Ali, and Gorgeous George used. They didn’t care if fans hated them as long as they paid to see them lose. It’s all about dollars and cents folks. People will pay good money just to see the villain catch a beatdown.

  33. It is very simple, she doesn’t have an athlete attitude, that just mean black and cold heart, the way you treat others will reflect on the way you treat your family, there is nothing admirable about that, besides she is only winning because she is using the causing pain on the elbow move always, that won’t fill the place, there is nothing smart about that, you can teach an animal to make the same trick over and over and of course he will be good at it, does this mean she is really good at it, um, I wouldn’t say that, the seats are going to be empty soon and you will be out of the job Rousey.

  34. MMA is still a sport, not war. The way you guys try to twist that around with the meaning of “martial” is like claiming the DDR (Democratic Republic of Germany, communist east Germany) was democratic, just because the name says so.

  35. Really nice thought provoking article and discussion. Worst thing is to deodorize and sanitize the sport. Rousey didn’t get to where she did by being stupid. And she has little obligation to be nice.

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