In the aftermath of the stunning finish to UFC 193, let us take a step back and look at what we have learned from the event. No, not about Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, or even the sport of MMA. Let’s look at what we have learned about the fans of the sport:
1. The number of uneducated fight fans is staggering.
Following Holly Holm’s defeat over Marion Reneau, I had a conversation with my brother, who is a new fan to MMA. In our conversation, he asked me if Ronda Rousey was beatable. I replied that the only competitor I could see beating her was a fighter named, “Holly Holm.” In watching Holm’s UFC fights, and being knowledgeable about her boxing and kickboxing pedigree, it was obvious to me that her size, ring awareness, reach advantage, and striking ability would present such a unique challenge to Ronda that it wouldn’t be a huge upset if she knocked her off. If I myself were an oddsmaker, I would have placed Rousey as a -420 favorite over her. Still a sizable favorite, but certainly not in the four-figure range. I did not expect Holm to get the title shot so soon, but when it was announced on Good Morning America, I rejoiced. I knew that this was the best possible matchup to be made and would without a doubt be Rousey’s biggest challenge to date. Dana White said it. Rousey herself said it. But practically no “fight fan” believed it. “It’s too soon,” they said. “She’s not ready,” they said. “They’re just giving Rousey easy opponents to feed the machine,” they said. All the while, I just looked on in amazement of how so-called fans of a sport could be so ignorant. For everyone who said she didn’t deserve the fight, my question is, “Why??” Women’s MMA is still so young that less fights are needed to score a title shot. Her record coming into the fight was 9-0, which is the same record Bethe Correia had prior to her clash with Rousey. Her overall fighting experience (counting her boxing career) is more than any of Ronda’s previous opponents. And most importantly, I am convinced that these fans did not take the time to really study up on Holm and her skill set. And if they did, that makes their ignorance all the more astounding, because anyone with any MMA IQ could see that Holm presented a brand new challenge to Rousey. Holm’s fighting style made it evident that Rousey wouldn’t just bum-rush her and take her down. Holm is too adept defensively and too great at maintaining distance. I, like the rest of the general public, expected Rousey to win. I thought Rousey would problem-solve and use her will to win and grappling skills to eventually score the victory. Others thought this was another “easy fight.” As Dana White himself has pointed out about his own fan base, the majority of fans simply have no idea what they are talking about. Which would be OK. But then to take to social media and message boards and spread your ignorance and let it infect others…that is when we have a problem. Fight fans, please, stop before you hit “send” next time. And ask yourself, “Do I know what the fuck I’m talking about?” Then, ask yourself, “Am I sure?” And if there is any hesitation in any of the above responses, please, kindly filter yourself out of the conversation so that we can at least have less uneducated fans polluting the Internet.
2. In addition to being uneducated, many are apparently very duplicitous.
Prior to the fight, if you were to scroll the UFC Facebook page, you would see die-hard Ronda Rousey supporters, fans saying Holm had absolutely no chance, and often a combination of the two. Any negative Rousey remark was few and VERY far between. Suddenly, after the fight, Rousey is, let’s see
– A Paper Champion
– A Hype Train that Got Exposed
– An overconfident, cocky egomaniac who got put in her place
Oh, and let’s not forget all of the fans who “knew this was going to happen” who were somehow invisible before the fight. Some of this is the result of the “Monday Morning QB” syndrome that is present in all sports mediums—both Internet fan and TV “expert” alike. However, it is not the points that are being made that are rebukeable. It is the fact that suddenly all posts are flooded with anti-Rousey comments when before the fight, there were almost none. This reminds me of the SpongeBob SquarePants episode when SpongeBob acquired a lot of wealth and everyone wanted to be around him because of his money and because he was on top of the world. But the moment he lost his money, the room instantly cleared out. You guys, and you know who you are…are fucking pathetic. Nobody likes a bandwagon fan, but the only thing worse than a bandwagon fan is a bandwagon diver. Someone who dives off the bandwagon the first chance they get. And then to make matters worse, they take delight in watching the same wagon that they were JUST ON implode. God do you disgust me.
The next time a fight is made, folks, research the fighters before you form and more importantly VOICE an opinion on it. Chances are it was made for a good reason. Also, if you are a fan of someone, continue to support them in good times and in bad, or at least allow your fanhood to fizzle away quietly. But to go from a bandwagon fan to a bandwagon diver and ultimately a bandwagon sabotager…well…that’s just plain despicable. Hopefully MMA fans will heed this advice; but the chances of that happening are much lower than the outrageous 15-to-1 odds Holm faced coming into the fight. If there is a silver lining in this, it’s that the true experts of the sport just showed the same ignorance as these repeat offenders. So…I’m saying there’s a chance.