Women's Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey admitted earlier this afternoon at the open media workout (watch video replay here) for UFC 170, which takes place this weekend (Sat., Feb. 22, 2014) at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, that "selling" the upcoming mixed martial arts (MMA) event has come with some visceral unease.
That's because "Rowdy" is a busy lady, jet-setting across the globe to shoot Hollywood films, training on set and then kicking ass in the Octagon on fight night. And rather than take a much-deserved rest after a historic, and hectic 2013, Rousey agreed to make the quickest turnaround for a champion in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) history (tied with Matt Hughes) to headline the show this weekend against fellow undefeated fighter, and Olympic medalist, Sara McMann.
Strike while the iron is white hot, right? Not really.
"I get concerned," Rousey said. "I do have my concerns about this pay-per-view (PPV). It's a really quick turnaround, which means that I didn't really give people a chance to miss me. It's coming after two huge PPVs, the Super Bowl card and the New Year's [Eve] card. And when I'm the headliner, all the pressure really does fall on me to deliver."
Rousey, it seems, might have it a little twisted; however, it's impossible to lay the blame at her feet. In fact, it's unfair.
UFC hit hit the jackpot toward the tail-end of 2013 thanks to legendary fights between Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva (twice), Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez, Mark Hunt vs. Bigfoot Silva and more despite an overwhelming schedule of events.
But, rather than cash out, the promotion more or less raised the stakes, launching a new online digital network, Fight Pass, which will air more talent-starved events more frequently at odd local times.
Hell, just today, the big fight announcement was Steve Bosse vs. Ryan Jimmo at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Nations" Finale! It might turn out to be a fun scrap, they all might, but UFC refuses to realize that it was once special.
That's no longer the case.
Not about to spin the tired, senseless "over saturation" narrative because it's tired and senseless. Indeed, White has made it abundantly clear that if fight fans don't like a fight card, then don't fucking buy it.
"Don't watch it," White barked before a much-maligned event less than two years ago. "If you don't like it, don't buy it. It's what everyone said about this card. All these geniuses who have all the answers are judging cards before they happen. You don't judge something until after it happens. To judge it before is completely stupid."
That's wild promoter-speak that really doesn't square right with the well-to-do fan who buys a ticket to an event to watch a former Light Heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans, compete in the co-main event of an already so-so show only to have him replaced by an unknown coffee barista, Patrick Cummins, when he suffers and unfortunate injury in training.
Don't even get me started on the barista. The move is Bush League, and the fact that UFC's marketing machine has shifted into overdrive -- INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER, FUCKERS! -- to sell Cummins as a worthy replacement who is capable of beating Daniel Cormier is an utter insult to fans, and Rousey, who want that special feeling back.
Even if he somehow wins, which he won't, the decision and subsequent desperate campaign to get him over as some kind of unknown, dangerous heel from Cormier's tortured past is disingenuous, telling and alarming.
Ronda Rousey is a special fighter, but if she continues to bust her ass and lose sleep while UFC pushes a ham-and-egger like "Durkin" to help "sell" her fights, she might be best served to follow the path that former disgruntled Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre recently blazed and get lost in Tinsel Town.
I'd pay to watch it, unlike UFC 170.