The Queen Of Elbows

How Ronda Rousey beat Miesha Tate, and changed everything.
Share |
Do NOT make eye contact.

Image capture by Tomas Rios.

Ronda Rousey’s eyes were growing razor-lined tentacles. For a reason, though, not just for manga-style yuks. It was for the sole purpose of slowly constricting the life from Heidi Androl’s body. To be fair, Androl—inexplicably Showtime’s interviewer of choice for Strikeforce events—has this weird habit of blinking in 4/4 time while straining for the kind of soulless smile that would make in-person interaction especially challenging even if there were not also a television camera involved. Rousey, just a few hours away from challenging Miesha Tate for the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title, simply did not have the patience for this bullshit.

After months of being told that she is bad for the sport and undeserving of the very fight many fans demanded, something in Rousey had either snapped or clicked. Whatever it was, she looked ready to go Buffalo Bill on the next poor soul to so much as think about getting on her last, raw nerve. Androl thankfully exercised some self-preservation by keeping the banality short. Still, the image of a supremely pissed-off-and-not-hiding-it Rousey captured the imagination of fans hardened and casual alike. It’s above these words, at right. You should definitely not feel bad about looking at it again.

Meanwhile, Miesha Tate was losing ground with the same audience. Already an underdog in a fight she entered as the champion, Tate’s resentment got the better of her when she endeavored to get all up in Ronda Ro-zay’s grill at Friday’s weigh-in. It’s a common bit of pre-fight drama when both parties openly profess outright disdain for each other, but Tate played the petty nonsense card by claiming Rousey should be fined for responding to her physical provocations. The Mean Girls-level machinations failed, but another source of cheap heat kicked up quickly. Tate’s boyfriend, anonymous UFC featherweight Bryan Caraway, went on an ugly bro-rant via Twitter after Rousey claimed she could beat him in a fight.

It was dumb, but it was also MMA. And it did invert things, for better or worse. After months of Rousey being cast as the knave to Tate’s white knight, the imaginary narrative collapsed under the weight of complex individuals acting in complex ways. It was a relief when, finally, we were left with what really mattered: the damn fight.

Referee Mark Matheny wisely realized that asking for any sort of pre-fight handshake was pointless. Neither woman was ready to set aside the ill-intentioned words fueling the ill-intentioned actions to come, especially not in the name of pretend mutual respect. Few things stoke my anticipation of violence like a referee who realizes he best get out the way. These two were, like the reality TV sub-people say, not there to make friends.

While Matheny granted a wide berth, Tate took the opening bell as her signal to dive straight into the breach. Eyes ablaze with the fury of a champion scorned, she refused Rousey the luxury of settling into her first title-fight experience. Past opponents made the mistake of trying to catch Rousey coming in, but Tate had learned from that folly and stepped into the pocket with punches that made clear she was not about to get tossed by an Olympic judo bronze medalist without at least making her consider a rock-you-in-the-face/stab-your-brain-with-your-nose-bone scenario.

Rousey betrayed her own discomfort with striking by making the amateur’s mistake of moving straight back while attempting to counter-punch. A head-snapping jab was the price she paid, but, like Martin Prince moving all-in on soy, Tate got greedy. That jarring jab gave way to wild hooks that mostly missed and, more importantly, sent Tate barreling into Rousey’s not-so-loving embrace.

Within three seconds, Tate was on the floor. Five seconds later and Rousey had moved to side-control. This was starting to look like every Rousey fight ever, and every Rousey fight ever has ended the same way—with an arm bending in ways arms are not supposed to bend. Thirty seconds later and Tate’s arm wasn’t bending so much as it was on the verge of snapping.

And then Rousey experienced something new. Gamely turning into the armbar, Tate gutted out the pain, got to her feet and, defying every self-preservation instinct of which I’m aware, rejoined the fray wholeheartedly. Suddenly it was Rousey’s turn to stand on the precipice of defeat as Tate deftly took her back and the threat of a rear naked choke loomed large.

Showing the immediacy of someone in danger of losing blood flow to the brain, Rousey contorted her body to disrupt Tate’s offense while scrambling for an escape with equal measures of desperation and skill. Her grand prize amounted to a reboot—the mutual scramble ended with both women back on the feet.

By this point, the fight was over. No hands had been raised and no final bells had been rung, but while both fighters survived each other’s opening salvos, only one emerged with that most valuable of commodities: a plan.

Tate trudged forward with the same looping punches seen in the fight’s opening exchange, but Rousey kept her hands up, calmly stepped off to the side this time and practically goaded Tate into another charge. The reigning champion obliged and walked right into a harai goshi that left her stuck underneath Rousey yet again.

Undeterred by the failure of one already-seen tactic, Tate tried for another grab at back control. Rousey responded with one of the most brilliant displays of positioning this sport has ever seen, from any fighter of any gender at any weight. As Tate strained for the sweep, Rousey whipped her own body over to the opposite side, while maintaining control of Tate’s head and left arm. Forced to counter, Tate tried even harder for the same failed sweep and, in doing so, left herself defenseless. Still, it seemed Tate just might muscle her way through the sweep—at least until Rousey casually pinned her left leg down and took mount so smoothly it suggested she had planned the entire sequence well in advance.

Somehow, every situation from the fight’s wild start had been replayed to Rousey’s favor. Every situation, that is, except for the armbar that Tate had bravely and improbably escaped. Given that, no one would have faulted Rousey for taking a more conservative path—giving up dominant position for an armbar is a sucker’s gambit in MMA, anyway. Instead, Rousey delivered confirmation that she loves narrative unity far more than conventional MMA wisdom. Or maybe she just really likes ruining arms.

Whatever the actual reasoning, Rousey decided that she was going to erase the memory of Tate escaping her vaunted armbar by going for the same technique with a level of execution and mercilessness upped by several orders of magnitude. Game as ever, Tate gutted it out only to realize that there was no escape to be had. The hold was too tight, the opponent was too good and the pain far too much. Just prior to her inevitable tap out, Tate’s elbow was almost fully bent—fully bent, that is, in the opposite of its intended direction. Not content with one disturbing visual, Rousey twisted the already mangled arm into an unnatural right angle that made the inevitable tap out a reality. The visual served as another reason why I suggest all MMA fans keep a shot of scotch and a smoke at the ready.

Blissfully high off violence, skill and drama, I was jarred to my senses by Rousey’s pending post-fight interview. For all her dynamism as both a fighter and a personality, I fully expected the typical end-to-arms pap from Rousey, in which she admits that she was just trying to stir the pot, truly respects Tate as an athlete, and so unconvincingly on. It makes for a stomach-turning experience every time, and serves no point other than to maintain some imaginary ideal of sportsmanship. It’s hard to tell, really, who this is for—people who fight each other in this way shouldn’t have to act like they want to grab brunch sometime soon.

Sure enough, Strikeforce commentator Mauro Ranallo gave Rousey her chance to break kayfabe and she did exactly what I refused to let myself hope for, she went off-script—way off-script. After months of playing the supremely dickish heel, Rousey revealed herself as a supremely complex human. Her interview featured in order: an emotional dedication to her deceased father, a casual dismissal of any guilt over inverting Tate’s arm, the startlingly honest admission that top contender Sarah Kaufman should have been given a title shot ahead of her, and a closing soliloquy directed at Tate that painted her as a spineless choker. The crowd, both at home—or at least in my home—and in the arena, lapped up every last bit of it.

By refusing to be anything less than herself, Rousey blithely stepped over the limitations of being herself. The common perception of Rousey—that of an entitled narcissist-cum-sociopath with a thing for French-braiding ligaments—receded into something more complicated and infinitely more interesting. Rousey ripped through her packaging, revealing herself as both an elite mixed martial artist and a human who lays bare her thoughts and feelings with an honesty to which fight fans (and everyone else) is woefully unaccustomed. For better or worse, she is who she is.

MMA, fans, media, Heidi Androl: this is Ronda Rousey, and she’s a lot more than advertised.


Share |

Comments

It is very good, but look at the information at this address. Gramdog

I like to recommend exclusively fine plus efficient information and facts, hence notice it: demolition services

I would recommend my profile is important to me, I invite you to discuss this topic. upholstery Los Angeles

I read this article. I think You put a lot of effort to create this article. I appreciate your work. garage conversion

It's superior, however , check out material at the street address. Heiraten im Rheingau

I am continually hunting on the web down articles that can help me. There is clearly a great deal to think about this. I think you made some great focuses in Features too. Continue working, extraordinary job ! don\'t care bear bad drip ejuice

During this website, you will see this shape, i highly recommend you learn this review. general contractor

I am continually hunting on the web down articles that can help me. There is clearly a great deal to think about this. I think you made some great focuses in Features too. Continue working, extraordinary job ! crypto clothing

A debt of gratitude is in order For sharing this Superb article.I utilize this Article to demonstrate my task in college.it is valuable For me Great Work. technology

Customary visits recorded here are the most straightforward technique to value your vitality, which is the reason why I am heading off to the site regular, hunting down new, intriguing data. Many, bless your heart! ecommerce Bologna

It's superior, however , check out material at the street address. Jeremy Eveland

We do custom Embroidered patches, Printed patches, Woven patches, Woven labels, Embroidered keychains, PVC patches, & Leather patches for promotional companies. Wholesale Prices for SAGE distributors, ASI distributors, PPAI SAGE distributors, and local retailers - Free Design Setup - Free Shipping Velcro Patche

You finished certain dependable focuses there. I completed a pursuit regarding the matter and discovered about all people will concur with your blog. Jake Friedman Austin

You finished certain dependable focuses there. I completed a pursuit regarding the matter and discovered about all people will concur with your blog. Jake Friedman Austin

I am continually hunting on the web down articles that can help me. There is clearly a great deal to think about this. I think you made some great focuses in Features too. Continue working, extraordinary job ! canadian county bail bonds

Astonishing learning and I get a kick out of the chance to impart this sort of data to my companions and expectation they like it they why I do 123models

Its most noticeably awful piece was that the product just worked discontinuously and the information was not exact. You clearly canot go up against anybody about what you have found if the data isn't right. Lambingan

Its most noticeably awful piece was that the product just worked discontinuously and the information was not exact. You clearly canot go up against anybody about what you have found if the data isn't right. Lambingan

Astonishing learning and I get a kick out of the chance to impart this sort of data to my companions and expectation they like it they why I do cirurgia

I wear t have room schedule-wise right now to completely read your site yet I have bookmarked it and furthermore include your RSS channels. I will return in a day or two. much obliged for an extraordinary site. Tujhse Hai Raabta

I'm eager to reveal this page. I have to thank you for ones time for this especially fabulous read !! I unquestionably extremely loved all aspects of it and I likewise have you spared to fav to take a gander at new data in your site. leather fashion

You re in purpose of actuality a without flaw website admin. The site stacking speed is astonishing. It sort of feels that you're doing any unmistakable trap. Besides, The substance are perfect work of art. you have completed a fabulous movement regarding this matter! long legged dog

You re in purpose of actuality a without flaw website admin. The site stacking speed is astonishing. It sort of feels that you're doing any unmistakable trap. Besides, The substance are perfect work of art. you have completed a fabulous movement regarding this matter! medical equipment supplier dubai

You possess lifted an essential offspring..Blesss for using..I would want to study better latest transactions from this blog..preserve posting.. cable seals

Mmm.. estimable to be here in your report or notify, whatever, I repute I should moreover process strong for my have website want I play some salubrious further updated busy in your location. Android kya hai?

This is also a fair post which I really savored the experience of scrutinizing. It isn't every day that I have the probability to see something like this.. jesus quiz

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. voyance gratuite telephone 24h 24

Very nice blog and articles. I am realy very happy to visit your blog. Now I am found which I actually want. I check your blog everyday and try to learn something from your blog. Thank you and waiting for your new post. cars electric for kids

On that website page, you'll see your description, why not read through this. Zonne energie

For many people this is important, so check out my profile: Zonnepanelen

You re in purpose of actuality a without flaw website admin. The site stacking speed is astonishing. It sort of feels that you're doing any unmistakable trap. Besides, The substance are perfect work of art. you have completed a fabulous movement regarding this matter! best wrinkle cream

You ought to basically fantastic not to mention solid advice, which means notice: Dove Medical Press

Listed here you'll learn it is important, them offers the link in an helpful webpage: single men women

Plastic Surgery Limassol | Plastic Surgeon Limassol (Dr. Ioannis Georgiou) performs plastic surgery on various parts of the face and body. I provide information on the wide variety of surgical procedures and non-surgical treatments offered at my clinic. As part of my commitment for accurate education of the candidates for cosmetic or reconstructive plastic surgery, the information provided is evidence-based, away from misleading, false and erroneous data. On my website plasticsurgery4cyprus.com you will find many before & after pictures of patients, so you can have an idea of the results you could expect after a specific procedure or treatment. All the procedures have been performed by me and there is no technical intervention to the pictures. Plastic surgery Limassol

Oil Cyprus by wymering.net Oil Cyprus

Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. Partzlla shipping

Wedding Arrangements Cyprus|Wedding Planning Cyprus| Wedding Arrangements are professionally undertaken and proudly organized by yourweddingconcierge-cyprus.com , your favourite wedding planner. For many years weddings took place in the couple’s hometown – no questions asked. Nowadays though couples can get married pretty anywhere they want and a lot of them choose a destination away from home. From on a beach to on top of a mountain your destination wedding should reflect your personality and style. And, perhaps best of all, you are not only getting married but giving yourselves and your loved ones a vacation in the process! What better place to experience all of the above than a beautiful island in the Mediterranean where as the legend has it, Aphrodite - the Goddess of Love, emerged from its waters, CYPRUS! Of course, planning a wedding from afar has its own set of challenges, however, with “Your Wedding Concierge” by your side the experience you are about to live will give you nothing but smiles to share! Have you thought about all the requirements you as well as friends and family may have before your special day, or even after? That is anything from the slightest detail of arranging transportation between the airport and your hotel, to a restaurant reservation, hotel accommodation, or even spa treatments. How about a holiday on the island after you say “I Do”?
In a nutshell just think of “Your Wedding Concierge” as your new friend abroad who will be with you every step of the way and no matter how small or elaborate the request is, “Your Wedding Concierge” will make it happen, in STYLE!
We pay a lot of attention to each client as we understand that this is your most important day. You are in good hands! Wedding Arrangements Cyprus

Hi I am so charmed I found your online journal, I truly found you by misstep, while I was watching on google for something else, Anyways I am here now and could simply get a kick out of the chance to say thank for an enormous post and an overall captivating site. Kindly do keep up the immense work. rain shower heads

I would recommend my profile is important to me, I invite you to discuss this topic. Marrakech desert tours

On this subject internet page, you'll see my best information, be sure to look over this level of detail. Happy Independence Day Wishes 2018

This is also a fair post which I really savored the experience of scrutinizing. It isn't every day that I have the probability to see something like this.. aadhar card status

Good to become visiting your weblog again, it has been months for me. Nicely this article that i've been waited for so long. I will need this post to total my assignment in the college, and it has exact same topic together with your write-up. Thanks, good share. how to grow youtube channel subscriber faster 

You bear through a awesome vacancy. I sanity definitely quarry it moreover personally suggest to my buddys. I am self-possessed they determination be benefited from this scene. free dating sites

I am interested in such topics so I will address page where it is cool described. voyance pure

it's really nice and meanful. it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information. construction contractor los angeles

These you will then see the most important thing, the application provides you a website a powerful important internet page: voyance par telephone

It is very good, but look at the information at this address. wordpress themes

I prefer merely excellent resources - you will see these people in: TMS Treatment NYC

These websites are really needed, you can learn a lot. The nub theory

This web journal is truly awesome. The data here will unquestionably be of some help to me. Much appreciated!. escort in amsterdam