UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey got booed all week in Las Vegas, then got booed even worse inside the MGM Grand after refusing to shake Miesha Tate‘s hand following her submission win in Saturday night’s UFC 168 co-main event. A lot of people are absolutely outraged by this.
The crowd definitely seemed upset about the no-shake, and that made Rousey’s fall from grace even more apparent. Regardless of what you think about the move, you have to admit that it was a pleasant change of pace. How often do we see fights with intense, personal rivalries, and then they just hug it out when it’s all over? You could call her rude or tactless, but at least Rousey is consistent.
At the same time, though, you have to wonder how much of this is an act. Not in the sense that she’s faking her animosity toward Tate (that seems genuine), but Rousey knows how to manipulate a crowd. In the post-fight press conference, she made a tenuous comparison to the movie “The Dark Knight,” saying that she’s the champion that we need right now, and subtly hinting that she may be martyring her own popularity for the good of the division. In pro wrestling parlance, they talk about heels needing to generate heat, and it’s hard to imagine someone as hot as Rousey right now. Having said that, has she gone past the point of no return? The UFC sold us Tate/Rousey II because of “The Ultimate Fighter” and extreme personal dislike. With her next fight against Sara McMann already booked for February 22nd, has Rousey hit the point of no return? Has she resigned herself to a Josh Koscheck-like existence where she’ll always be the ‘bad guy’?
The most amusing thing, maybe a comparison, that I can think of? Leading up to the Chael Sonnen/Anderson Silva II rematch in July 2012, Chael Sonnen insulted Anderson Silva worse than anybody (as in a fighter insulting another) I’ve ever heard. Sonnen insulted Silva’s wife (said that she can come over to his house so that he can slap her on the ass and and have her cook him up a steak, as long as it’s medium rare, which I thought was hilarious), his entire home country of Brazil, training partners, coaches and friends, and yet when all was said and done, Silva was able to bury the hatchet and shake Sonnen’s hand.