(Fresquez and Holm field questions after her win over Angela Hayes on Friday. / Photo via Getty)
By Mark Dorsey
Former world champion boxer Holly Holm is an MMA franchise. She’s a marquee star, a better face of the UFC women’s division than Ronda Rousey, and worth a six-figure contract — at least according to her manager, Lenny Fresquez, who has been making the media rounds lately trying to convince the public that his undefeated client is the only worthy challenger to Rousey’s belt.
Let’s get one thing straight: Calling Holly Holm a “franchise” is ludicrously premature. Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva are MMA franchises. Beyond that, the list gets very thin. In fact, the concept of franchise players is fading in every sport as the Lebron Jameses and Jacoby Ellsburys of the sports world show that their loyalty only extends to the highest free market bidder.
The argument could be made that UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is a franchise athlete. After all, Dana White has admitted that the UFC only created the women’s division because of her. But Holly Holm is not on the same level of recognizability as Rousey. Sure she was a big boxing draw in New Mexico, but being a regional draw does not translate to franchise-level success with a global brand like the UFC.
Chances are, not many outside of the hardcore MMA and boxing fanbase have even heard of Holly Holm. The Holly Holm brand might bring a few new eyeballs from the boxing world but she is certainly not selling a PPV on her own.
However, just because Holly Holm is not a “franchise” does not mean she wouldn’t make a great investment for the UFC’s fledgling women’s division. Holm is a fantastic athlete. Once considered by many as the best female boxer on the planet, she was twice named Ring Magazine’s female Fighter of the Year. Training under Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, she not only has the physical ability and attributes, she also has the right team around her to be a world champion in MMA.
It’s possible that Holm may one day be a UFC franchise athlete. She certainly has the potential to dominate a women’s division that is severely lacking in high-quality strikers. She could also develop into a legitimate MMA star. She’s personable, good looking and professional. However, she’s not there yet.