Christian Cieri, Illustrator

Until about a week ago, you could have asked me who Ronda Rousey was and I wouldn’t have been able to give legitimate answer.

As a journalist with concentrated interests in female involvement and impactful activity within the world of sports, this story that headlined ESPN for around 48 hours fascinated me. I wondered, who is this Ronda Rousey and why haven’t I heard of her story until now?

Eagerly, I checked every headline regarding the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight Title Champion and what still managed to dumbfound me was why we were seeing this dynamic media explosion for an athlete who’s been active since 2007 and is an Olympic medalist.

The conclusion I came to was that Rousey defeated her opponent Cat Zingano in a mere 14 seconds. This defeat broke a record that was set by UFC fighter Andrei Arlovski as he took 15 seconds to defeat opponent Paul Buentello at the UFC 55.

There you have it folks, a woman in sports breaking a record held by a man in a competition that most believe according to gender stereotypes, to be “a man’s competition.” So where did Rousey come from exactly?

Ronda Rousey grew up in Riverside County, California and is the daughter of AnnMaria De Mars, the first American winner of the World Judo Championships.

Due to her mother’s influence, Rousey began her athletic career participating in judo in which såhe won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She became the only American since the sport’s induction to Olympic competition to walk away with a medal.

Her skill in judo took her career to mixed martial arts where she originally fought for Strikeforce, which was bought in 2011 by the popular UFC.

Additionally, she was given the nickname “Rowdy” by her family and friends to honor professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. In 2014, Rousey began acting and made her debut in Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables 3,” and will continue her acting career with an appearance in “Furious 7,” which will arrive in theaters later this year.

It is hard for me to comprehend is why it took the world so long to recognize this unforgettable female heroine within the world of sports. A reason for this could be that maybe the entire sports community doesn’t commend and respect the accomplishments of Rousey.

According to TMZ, former professional football player Jesse Holley of the Dallas Cowboys commented on Rousey’s performance and said that if he had “eight weeks” to train and learn “techniques[…] she wouldn’t stand a chance.”

He later continued to discuss the importance of weight and size, making the case that she’s only 135 pounds, and arguing that he wouldn’t favor her against him. But then, when asked if he could beat UFC fighter Conor McGregor, who is 145 pounds, he immediately admitted his very likely chance of defeat to the Irish fighter.

This interview was sickening to listen to and put the act of gender supremacy to the forefront rather than praising a truly incredible athlete.

The positives here lie in the fact that a woman is making great strides in the sports community, but the next step is getting the whole of the athletic world to recognize that fact.

Powell is a member of the class of 2018.


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