Hendo coach questions Rousey main event status at UFC 157

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On February 23, 2013, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche headline UFC 157.

Some fans questioned whether Rousey should have been declared the first female UFC champion without a fight, and other questioned whether she should have been given PPV main event status.

Among the naysayer was Dan Henderson’s boxing coach Gus Pugliese, who argues via Facebook that Henderson vs. Machida is more deserving of main event status.

Ronda is headlining UFC 157. Here is why I have a problem with that. Ronda is the champion of Strikeforce with 6 wins in less than 2 years of a mma professional career. That’s impressive regardless of who she has fought. However, she is not the UFC champion yet. She still has to win this fight to get that belt.

On the other hand, we have Hendo, who has also been the Strikeforce champion (never lost the belt), Pride champion in two different weight classes, has been ranked #1 contender for the UFC 205lbs, and #6 by many as pound for pound best fighter. His resume is second to none. Moreover, he is fighting a former champion, Lyoto Machida.

Now why aren’t they main event? Is Ronda a better market value? I don’t know, but her fight could be quick as usual and we could be missing another historic five round fight between two legends and possible hall of famers.

I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve to headline an UFC event, but certainly not this one.

In a follow up with MMASucka, Pugliese expanded on the remarks.

“He is the President of the UFC,” said the coach. “If he feels Ronda has a better market value than Hendo or Machida, he is gonna risk it. But Ronda never fought for the UFC, she was given the belt without a fight there. I believe in pecking order, and paying dues. In this particular case, it wasn’t applied.”

However, at the TUF 16 Finale post fight press conference, UFC President Dana White explained that the criticism is based on a lack of knowledge about how main events work in the organization. The decision to make the first female fight the main event centers on the fact that when Strikeforce disbanded, Rousey’s Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship carried over to the UFC, as the organization did not formerly have a women’s division.

So Rousey is the UFC champion, and the UFC champion always headlines a card.

“She’s the champ,” said White. “You will never see a situation in any fight, whether men, women, the lightest weight division there is. If you’re the champion, you’re the headliner. You’re the top of the card.

“I’ve seen some people talking s—, ‘ohh, the women’s fight is headlining.’ Ronda Rousey is badass, she’s a champ, her opponent stepped up to the plate and wanted this fight with her when no one, others didn’t. I don’t give a s– what they say, that’s a fact.”

“What people don’t realize is there was a time and a day when we put the ’55 pound division and headlined it with a title fight and people said, ‘you can’t headline a title fight, BJ Penn and Jens Pulver in a title fight headlining?’ This is ridiculous. BJ Penn become one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts and a huge pay-per-view draw.”

“I’m looking at Ronda and all the other 135-pound women the same way I’m looking at the guys. They’re UFC fighters, and they deserve all the recognition and perks and all the other things that go along with the men. Everyone keeps asking all this crazy s–. It’s not f—— 1920 guys – there’s women fighting in the UFC, there’s a woman who’s the champ. She’s mean, she’s nasty, she’s badass, and there are other girls in that division who are tough. There are fights out there that will be interesting, and I’m going to treat them the way I treat the guys, no different.”