Maybe it’s her swagger, or the way she isn’t intimidated by anyone-male or female- but Ronda Rousey’s list of enemies is growing longer by the day. Described by Dana White as “the next Chuck Liddell,” the UFC’s darling speaks her mind and often rubs people the wrong way, most recently offending the owner of an apparel company.
Last weekend, Americana MMA founder Peter Giannoulis tweeted a $5,000 offer to the fighter who can knock out Rousey. The proposal isn’t based on contempt towards Rousey as an athlete; rather it stems from comments the UFC women’s bantamweight champion made about Invicta FC fighter Cris Cyborg.
“This girl has been on steroids for so long and [has been] injecting herself for so long that she’s not even a woman anymore,” Rousey said in an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole. “She’s an ‘it.’ It’s not good for the women’s division. It’s not good at all.” The UFC has not responded to Rousey’s comments.
Rousey defends her title against Alexis Davis at UFC 175, slated for Fourth of July weekend where the legitimacy of Giannoulis’ offer will be tested. Giannoulis hasn’t elaborated on the bounty other than to Facebook a comparison between Rousey’s remarks and those made by UFC veterans.
“Matt Mitrione calls Fallon Fox a freak; Matt Brown says that WMMA would be more exciting if women fought topless; both fighters are reprimanded. Ronda Rousey states that Cyborg is not a woman but more of an ‘it,’ and nothing happens,” Giannoulis said. Rousey claims that Cyborg hasn’t stopped using steroids since she tested positive for the banned substance three years ago.
With Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre sidelined for the foreseeable future, Rousey is the UFC’s biggest draw. Last February’s match with Sara McMann drew about 350,000 viewers, over 100,000 more than UFC 169. Rousey graces magazine covers and garners roles in prominent movies. The offense would have to be severe for White to punisher her.
Incentives outside of a promotion are nothing new. Before Rousey’s title defense against Miesha Tate last December, Dynamic Fastener President Kevin Perz offered Tate a $10,000 bonus if she dethroned the champion. Tate didn’t win but reaffirmed the belief a large part of MMA’s fan base wants Rousey to go down.
Davis will take the first shot at the $5,000 bounty, and Gina Carano may not be far behind. A long shot may be Cyborg herself, who is eyeing a move to the 135-pound weight class in hopes of making the UFC roster. White says it won’t happen, but he also once said a woman would never compete in his Octagon.
In reality, neither of these ladies needs extra incentive for beating the most recognized women mixed martial artist in the world. The bonus is just icing on the cake.