Well, that was anti-climactic.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey scored the first technical knockout victory of her career on Saturday night (Feb. 22, 2014), when she dropped Sara McMann with a knee to the liver and finished her off with a couple of strikes.
The challenger, slumped over with her head down and hands on the floor, did not defend. Nor did she offer much in the way of a complaint when asked if the bout was halted prematurely, resigned to the fact that she was creamed in the clinch and sent south for the winter.
"I thought it was a good fight," McMann said in her post-fight interview. "I got hit in the liver, and no matter how hard you train, it's not like you can get your liver stronger."
McMann did, however, spring to her feet as referee Herb Dean jumped in to halt the contest, drawing a chorus of boos from mixed martial arts (MMA) fans inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and probably a good portion of those fans watching from home.
People were (understandably) disappointed, especially when you consider what a gigantic waste of time the co-main event was.
Upon watching the instant replay, it was apparent that Dean was making the right decision, as McMann was in a heap and unable to defend. It's just unfortunate that it had to come so soon after he was lambasted for a premature stoppage in the UFC 169 main event (more on that here), as well as the flak he took for some questionable reaction times in the UFC 170 main card drubbing of T.J. Waldburger.
A man who UFC President Dana White lauds as "the best referee in the business," is off to a rocky start in 2014.
But part of the disappointment in Saturday night's finish -- which could have just as easily been granted a few extra seconds considering what was at stake -- comes with knowing that not many challenges exist for Rousey after her "Sin City" stoppage.
There are also a handful of other female fighters who managed to perform impressively in recent months, like fellow UFC 170 combatant Alexis Davis. The problem is, none of those wins have been the kind of jaw-dropping spectacles that would compel fans to scream for an immediate title fight.
All our eggs, it seems, were in one basket.
That's not a knock on Rousey, who can't be faulted for her dominance, but rather a realization that UFC has little to offer in terms of bantamweight title contenders. The time may come in the very near future when the promotion is forced to look outside its eight walls for the next big thing at 135 pounds.
And from what I hear, it may not have to look very far.