UFC's Ronda Rousey Crossing Over From MMA Star To Pop Culture Phenom
Ronda Rousey, who on Saturday defends her bantamweight title in the main event of UFC 170, is "the biggest star in MMA, period, and one of the most recognizable female athletes in the world," according to Kevin Iole of YAHOO SPORTS. Rousey is "by far the most in-demand athlete in the UFC, and it's not even close." She "has been on Forbes' coveted '30 under 30' list" for the last two years, and was on Forbes' sports list last year "along with the likes" of Thunder F Kevin Durant, Nationals LF Bryce Harper and Penguins C Sidney Crosby. For the "second year in a row, she was also in Maxim's Hot 100." Even though Gina Carano "shoved women's MMA out of the shadows in 2007, it wasn't until Rousey debuted in the UFC last year that the women's version of the sport really took off." Rousey has "burst upon the scene like no athlete in MMA history and she's rewriting the definition of what it is to be a success in the UFC." In the last year, Rousey has "won two fights, both by arm bar; coached a season on the UFC's reality show, 'The Ultimate Fighter,' on Fox Sports 1; filmed two movies and has been chosen for lead roles in two upcoming films." Rousey "not only draws MMA fans, but she cuts across the spectrum of fan bases, even appealing to non-sports fans." UFC President Dana White said that Rousey has "made more money after her first two UFC fights than Brock Lesnar made in his." White: "She has the 'it' factor. Whatever reason you might come up with, her looks, her sense of humor, her athletic ability, her toughness, whatever, it's all of those things. Whatever it is, people gravitate to her" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/18).
STARRY EYED SURPRISE: White said, "She's the biggest star we've ever had. ... I’ve got a big 6-foot-8-inch (expletive) musclehead (Alistair Overeem) whose rib hurts and won’t (expletive) fight (Junior) dos Santos. This chick does two movies back-to-back, fights, comes back in (expletive) camp, films ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ (expletive) does all these appearances and all this other (expletive). She’s a (expletive) rock star." In Las Vegas, Adam Hill notes Rousey also is "on the verge of becoming a movie star," as she has "filmed roles in upcoming sequels" in the "The Fast and the Furious" and "The Expendables" franchises (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/19).