Against a fighter like Amanda Nunes many would have claimed that while Rousey is no striker as long as she can get her unstoppable arm bar in place then Nunes won’t stand a chance against the once reigning queen of Women’s Bantamweight MMA. Unfortunately for Ronda and her many fans, that was not how things played out Friday night (December 30th 2016.)
Many spectators, sports reporters and fellow fighters in MMA commented on how rigid and dangerously upright Rousey stood in those critical first few seconds of the fight. Some chalked it up to tension and the emotional pressure weighing on the former champion to redeem her loss to Holly Holm last year and to regain her self confidence which (by many accounts) has always depended on the respect and admiration of her fans and fellow fighters. While Rousey has never done herself any favors to ingratiate herself with her colleagues in the Octagon, she had maintained a fearsome respect as a venerable and almost unstoppable opponent for her amazing streak of 12 consecutive wins after transitioning to MMA.
Now it seems she may need to find new sources of inspiration to fuel her self confidence as this second consecutive loss has lead to embarrassment and public humiliation from online pundits, fight fans and fellow MMA fighters. But who was truly to blame? Had Rousey been soconsumed by her own popularity that she began to believe that her greatest strength was just about anything she put her mind to? While plausible this was unlikely the sole or even most significant contributor to the once champion’s loss at UFC 207.
Having avoided engaging in media promotions leading up to the fight fans could only speculate as to how prepared Rousey would be but very few were prepared to see the loss that would be handed to her by the now reigning champion of Women’s Bantam Weight MMA, Amanda Nunes.
As the audience recovered from the initial shock of such a devastating loss some began to express their confidence that Rousey simply never stood a chance against Nunes. But if so, even a $3M guaranteed payday would be unlikely to convince a fighter as proud and vocal about her talents as Ronda Rousey to accept a potential loss and public embarrassment in exchange for a lump of cash.
That being said this may be very well all she gets as consolation for her participation in her single credible opportunity at returning to the Octagon as a champion. Other pundits and fighters turned their heads to Rousey’s coach for blame. Edmond Tarverdyan has had a history of financial troubles, legal entanglements (of criminal nature) and a generally poor reputation with his star pupil’s own mother.
Rousey’s mother, Dr. AnnMaria De Mars, told LatiNation during an interview last year,
“I think Edmund is a terrible coach, and I will say it publicly. I think he is a terrible coach and I think he hit the lottery when Ronda walked in there. She was winning before she even met him. She probably won 99 percent of the judo matches she ever fought in. She had won the Junior Worlds when she was 17. She got a bronze medal in the Olympics. She got a silver medal in world championships. She was one of the top athletes in the world when she walked in there, and he wouldn’t even give her the time of day for months. Somebody like that is a terrible coach.”
“And, I think she stays there because it’s like somebody who pitches a no-hitter when they’re wearing red underwear and then they wear that red underwear every day. I think it’s superstition. I would caution anybody from going there. I think it’s bad he uses her to lure people in, and the reason I tell everybody and I told Ronda I’m not going to be quiet about this anymore. He is a bad person and people should not go there. And if he want to sue me that is my honest opinion.”
These and other accounts regarding his career in and out of the Octagon have led many to believe he is nothing more than a con artist. One who not only has been convicted of actual identity theft but who also managed to convince a multimillion dollar athlete like Ronda Rousey that she could match a fighter like Nunes with her striking skills alone.
After the fight Nunes gave a statement to media and didn’t hold back from sharing her opinion of Rousey’s coach,
“I know she was going to strike with me because her boxing coach told her she has a good strike, I know she was going to strike a little bit with me, but when I started to connect with some punches I knew she would want to start to clinch with me.”
Audio captured from the PPV broadcast by an enterprising fan and later distributed on social media gave a glimpse into the advice Tarverdayn was shouting from Rousey’s corner during the fight:
Tarverdyan: Make her miss, miss, miss! She’ll fade. Be patient! Pick your moments!
Head movement! Head movement! Head movement! Head movement! Head movement! Head movement! Head movement! Yes, move! Hands up! Hands up! Catch her! Please! Head Movement, good jab! Move, move! Move, please! Move, move, move, clinch, clinch, clinch! CLINCH! CLINCH! CLINCH! No! NO! NO! NO! NO! Move out!
This would be the guidance that most certainly led to Rousey’s second defeat and looking back we can safely conclude that it’s quite likely that very same perspective that led to her initial loss to Holly Holm (a world champion boxer turned MMA athlete). Now that the deed is done many are speculating that retirement is imminent for the beleaguered bantamweight but as for Tarverdyan the fight this coach’s career may come down to a war of words in the social media circuit.
Good Lord. How the hell is that Edmond guy allowed to pretend to coach anyone?
— Ryan Hall (@ryanhall5050) December 31, 2016
@TheTomasRios There are plenty of coaches in MMA who are stunningly mediocre and she managed to find one who's actively terrible. Impressive
— Patrick Wyman (@Patrick_Wyman) December 31, 2016
— FrontRowBrian (@FrontRowBrian) December 31, 2016
But Tarverdyan wasn’t the only one to receive sharp criticism. Rousey’s (now famously) poor behavior after the fight was of particular interest to many fans and pundits online.
Cruz gets lit up for 5 rounds, then gives Garbrandt a congratulatory handshake. Rousey gets KO'd in 48 seconds and storms off. Classless.
— Jeff Wagenheim (@jeffwagenheim) December 31, 2016
Fair point. But a lot of KO victims have managed to act with class simply by pure instinct. https://t.co/xz8riqaXVR
— Jeff Wagenheim (@jeffwagenheim) December 31, 2016
Heard Rousey fans call the stop F'n BS 1)If anything the stoppage was late. 2)Ronda losing & walking is classless & that's F'n BS.#ufc207
— JasonWakeUpCall1079 (@JasonWakeUpCall) December 31, 2016
Later, in the audio referenced earlier and distributed online you could hear another voice and UFC President Dana White commenting on the fight’s outcome.
Voice: C’mon, guys. Let the camera crew in there, please?
White: And I told you guys: I said, nobody knew who she was yesterday, but they all know who she is now.
And indeed he is right. Amanda Nunes has demonstrated an ability to use a fighter’s game against them twice already and many more times in the past. During her confrontation with Meisha Tate she used a rear naked choke to submit her opponent winning her the Bantamweight title and this was the very same technical move that Tate used to win against Holly Holm. It’s no coincidence, she could read Rousey’s writing on the wall and recited that fight poetry in the Octagon like a seasoned orator.
While we offer our condolences to Rousey’s once blooming MMA career we offer even more congratulations to Amanda Nunes for a well deserved victory and a successful defense to her title as Women’s Bantamweight Champion of the UFC.