HBO "Real Sports," the self-described "most honored sports journalism program" on television, will deliver its 191st edition later this evening (Tues., Feb. 19, 2013) on the premium cable network.
And who better to headline the hour-long Emmy Award-winning show than Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, who this weekend (Sat., Feb. 23, 2013) will headline UFC 157 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., opposite Liz Carmouche.
By now, it is painfully obvious the reason this is so significant: Rousey -- "a beautiful Californian blonde .. a knockout" -- is currently the "brightest rising star" in mixed martial arts (MMA), the "most macho sport on Earth." She is also the reason UFC President Dana White and Co. decided to lift the ban on women competing inside its revered Octagon.
That's how "Real Sports" framed the landmark MMA moment in the 15-minute "Rowdy"-inspired special that will air later tonight. HBO was kind enough to distribute an advanced copy of the episode, which, unsurprisingly, weaved an inspirational story about Rousey and what contributed to her date with destiny on fight night.
From her near-death experience at birth -- she didn't speak for nearly six years -- to her fond (and painful) childhood memories of her father prior to his unfortunate and untimely death (not as gut-wrenching and/or emotional as UFC 157 "Primtetime," Ep. 1) to her mother's (a.k.a "The Animal) competitive career as a judo world champion back in the 1980s.
That's not all.
Here are a few excerpts that don't include her comments about posing for "Playboy (read those here):"
On Hurting Opponents:
"No, but it's a fight. We're not baking cakes for each other. You know, I didn't go in there to make a pie."
On Deserving Main Event Billing:
"It's true but I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt that said, ‘To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.'"
On Armbar Ligament Limits:
"Yeah, I, I know when the joint's reached its limit because you feel it. You feel it pop. And this is a very sensitive area that I'm putting strain on so I could feel things pretty well."
On Her Sex Symbol Status:
"I don't really see myself as a sex symbol because ever since people have started calling me a sex symbol, I haven't had a lot of sex in my life. Like, it's just, it's not really working out great for me. But, yeah, people bring that up all the time. I'm like, ‘Look, you're right. I probably get more attention fighting because of how I look. But if I didn't know how to fight and I just looked the way I did, no one would know who I am."
Of course, Rousey's trips to back-to-back Olympic games (she was the first American female to ever medal in Judo in the Olympics) were covered, as well as the reason for her disillusionment with the Olympic establishment when she returned stateside, where she found herself living in her car, pondering what to do next with her life.
The rest, as they say, is MMA history
"Real Sports," overall, did a solid job on the piece, with reporter Jon Frankel even getting in the ring with Rousey and allowing her to hip toss him into an armbar set up, demonstrating that girls really can fight. White -- and any official from the UFC for that matter -- was noticeably absent from the production. Instead, HBO decided to let Rousey, and her mother, serve as the primary sources of attention.
And that's refreshing.
Definitely be sure to check out HBO's "Real Sports" with Ronda Rousey later this evening if you have the means to do so -- it's well worth a 15-minute watch. However, if you can't catch it on the first go-round, other HBO playdates/replay dates include, but are not limited to (all times ET):
- Feb. 19, 2013, at 3:05 a.m.
- Feb. 21, 2013 at 5 p.m. and midnight
- Feb. 24, 2013 at 11 a.m.
- Feb. 27, 2013 at 10 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
- March 1, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- March 9, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 a.m.
- March 11 at 4:40 a.m.
HBO2 will also have several playdates/replay dates; therefore, be sure to check your local listings for the correct re-air times in your area. You can also get more info at the new 'Real Sports' Facebook page here.
In the meantime, enjoy the video preview and excerpts up above. And be sure to check back later this evening and share your thoughts on HBO "Real Sports" with Ronda Rousey as it happens during our live open thread and discussion.
See you then, Maniacs.