History at Honda Center : UFC 157
Famous journalist Heywood Broun once said, “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” In a packed arena on Saturday night two women entered a cage, looked each other in the eyes and fearlessly poured out their characters for everyone to see.
The fighters were Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche, two women who train out of Southern California and who became the first two females to not only be included on a main UFC card, but to be the main event themselves.
The energy in Honda Center was electric as bout after bout took place between popular male fighters; the final match before the women being met with dismay by local Southern California natives as fan favorite Dan Henderson lost to Lyoto Machida in a split decision.
If anyone remained angered at the controversial decision on the Henderson/Machida fight, their moods were quickly changed as No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” suddenly began to play in Honda Center. The girls were next and everyone was ready to see history be made.
Celia Zepeda, a female UFC fan for the past three years commented on how she was disappointed in some of the sexist comments she had seen online in reference to the fights saying, “I can’t believe I was seeing that in 2013!”
She was just as excited to see the women fight as she was the males and commented, “It’s really interesting where they (the fighters) come from because some of them come from nothing and fight their butts off to get here!”
The ladies entered the Octagon with their own unique flair. Liz came first walking out to Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction,” followed by “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey who chose Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” to herald her arrival.
It was evident from the outset that Rousey was the fan favorite and her fans were not shy in expressing their admiration of her. One man held up two signs reading, “Rowdy Ronda Rousey, I will marry you!” There was no shortage of support for Carmouche either and the decibel level quickly rose to almost unbearable within the arena.
The fight lasted less than one round and early on it appeared as though Liz Carmouche, a former US Marine, had the upper hand and was on the brink of taking Rousey down with a standing rear-naked choke. Rousey was able to break free from the tight hold Carmouche had on her but later stated, “That was the most vulnerable a position I’ve been in so far in my career.”
Rousey, already a champion fighter, quickly regained control of the fight and forced Carmouche to tap out due to an armbar. Following the fight Carmouche displayed incredible sportsmanship saying, “It was an honor to fight here tonight. I thought I had her for a minute there, but she’s the champion for a reason.”
No matter how you look at it, the bravery it took for these two women to literally fight their way into an Octagon so they could fight their way out of it is something to be admired and praised.
On a personal note, I was grateful and honored to be in attendance of such a historic night and the grace and poise both women displayed through their actions – including the fight- and words left a lasting and incredibly positive impression on me.