The UFC had a big weekend, with their UFC on FOX 5 offering featuring the title fight at Lightweight between Champion Benson Henderson and challenger Nate Diaz. Somewhere during the build up, UFC president Dana White announced that the 135 lb women’s title was given to Ronda Rousey, and that she would defend the title at UFC 157, facing off against Liz Carmouche. When this line opens, look for Rousey to be an overwhelming favorite. But what is the UFC doing, just handing out the belt, and not just putting it up for grabs at UFC 157? Yet another swing towards ‘spectacle not sport’.
So let’s see how this is going to work. Hypothetically, let’s say Carmouche wins the match (she is likely to open at a more than 10 to 1 underdog). Listings forever after will have a UFC champion with an 0-1 record in the UFC. The only reason to issue the belt rather than have Rousey earn it is the marketing push that is coming. It is also the reason Carmouche will be such a massive underdog in the fight. It is tailor made for Rousey to win.
Carmouche has two victories in a row under the INVICTA promotion, and her overall record is 7-2. Carmouche’s two losses are to Merloes Coenen and Sara Kaufmann for STRIKEFORCE. Kaufmann had all of 54 seconds for Rousey, Coenen is a true veteran who it could be argued deserved the shot more than Carmouche.
If you are looking to bet the underdog, Carmouche will have a puncher’s chance. Carmouche has shown striking throughout her career, and as much as the Rousey ‘hype’ machine may deny it, Rousey is completely unproven in the stand up department. Testing Rousey there is Carmouche’s only choice, as she most certainly does not want to be on the ground with Rousey.
The UFC is making a mistake in handling the women’s division. Right now, it is all about Ronda and that is OK. But will the UFC not do women’s fights should Rousey lose? They don’t seem committed beyond Rousey.
The UFC has two shows this week, the December 29th event, and four more shows prior to UFC 157′s date of February 23rd. There is no reason that every one of those events should not have at least one women’s match. They are not expensive, they could open the preliminary fights and the development would start. Instead, Dana pulls a belt out (could it be the one Riddick Bowe threw out in boxing a few years ago) and just handed it to Rousey. And the fight they announce will have odds that are are not worth betting.