While the Ronda Rousey haters have come out in droves after she was knocked out cold by Holly Holm at UFC 193, UFC president Dana White claims the company’s biggest superstar is bigger now than ever.
“It’s crazy because you win and lose in the fight game – it happens,” White said on Thursday’s edition of ESPN’s First Take. “It’s funny, because we were comparing her to [boxing legend Mike] Tyson, who had this invincibility. She was a Tyson, and it was never more true than when she lost because when she lost, everybody was shocked. One hundred million people were talking about it on social media. And I actually think Ronda Rousey is bigger now after the loss than she was before the fight.”
White might be right. On Wednesday, Yahoo! reported that Rousey was the most searched athlete on the Internet in 2015, topping the likes of Lindsey Vonn (2), Floyd Mayweather (7) and Manny Pacquiao (8).
At one point, Rousey was pegged as high as a 20-1 odds-on favorite to steamroll Holm last month. However, when the cage door slammed shut, Holm schooled Rousey from beginning to brutal end, which was capped off by a highlight reel head kick KO.
Many media members immediately likened the upset loss to Tyson getting put down by Buster Douglas in 1990. Tyson returned to boxing, but was never the same. The aura of invincibility was gone, much like Rousey’s.
With the UFC’s biggest cash cow no longer donning the hardware, it isn’t a surprise that they want to grant Rousey an immediate rematch. White says it’s not a matter of if, but when.
“I think that if we didn’t make the rematch, me and [UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta] would probably lose our promoter’s license if we didn’t make that rematch,” White said on ESPN’s Mike & Mike. “That fight’s going to happen. I don’t know when, but that fight’s going to happen.
“Ronda Rousey has gone undefeated, taken the sport to another level and was beating the best women in the world in 14 seconds and 30 seconds. She deserves a rematch, and Holly deserves a rematch, and we’ll figure it out.”
“You have to give Ronda some time,” White said. “When Ronda’s ready to come back – there’s literally no pressure on her whatsoever to think about anything as far as fighting goes. And she’s on a medical 45-day suspension after the fight. She can’t have any contact or have anything for 45 days.”
In the meantime, Holm has been on a nationwide tour discussing arguably the biggest upset in UFC history.