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CagePotato Ban: Any Further Discussion of Ronda Rousey vs. Floyd Mayweather, At All


This has got to stop, you guys.

It has been 11 days since Ronda Rousey made her last title defense: a 34-second blitzkrieging of Bethe Correia at UFC 190. Eleven. Yet we still can’t stop talking about her.

Let me take that back a step. It’s not our inability to stop talking about her that is so frustrating — why would it be? She’s as charismatic and captivating a presence as we could ever hope for in our sport — it’s that we can’t stop talking about her for all the wrong reasons. Sure, she’s quite possibly the most dominant female athlete of all time, a budding movie star, a bestselling author, a marketing dynamo, a feminist icon, and an inspiration to an entire generation of new fans, but what we really need to know is: Could she beat Floyd Mayweather in a fight? How about Bryan Caraway? The resurrected corpse of Chief Jay Strongbow, maybe? 

Just two days after Rousey’s win over Correia, Fox Sports ran with the above story. The author, Clay Travis, was wholeheartedly sold on the idea of having Ronda Rousey fight Floyd Mayweather because:

1.) It would make soooo much money, you guys

2.) The fans want to see it

3.) Rousey would probably win, which, yay! since Mayweather’s a d-bag

And truth be told, it’s hard to argue with any of Travis’ points, at least at face value. Rousey vs. Mayweather would almost certainly shatter pay-per-view records, and yeah, who wouldn’t want to see a convicted domestic abuser get his comeuppance at the hands of a woman? It’s that Jennifer Lopez movie come to life, y’all! (Matter of fact, can we have Rousey fight J-Lo after she’s through with Floyd? It would sell billions! BILL-YUNS!!!)

But here’s the problem with booking a fight between the greatest boxer of all time and a woman, aside from what I just typed: It’s short-sighted, hypocritical, unintentionally misogynistic, and completely asinine.

I hate to break it to you, MMA fans, but Floyd Mayweather isn’t the only combat sports veteran to have very public issues with domestic violence. Our own sport is plagued with them, for starters, and it’s not just cases like that of Christy Mack and War Machine. Did you know that the domestic violence arrest rate among MMA fighters is nearly double that of the national average? Or that the UFC currently employs at least one fighter convicted of domestic violence, yet can’t quite come up with a coherent defense when asked about said fighter’s history? How about the fact that the UFC rehired Thiago Silva and praised him as “untainted” until it realized the massive mistake it had made and once again fired him once disturbing videos surfaced proving his guilt? Us MMA fans can take the moral high ground all we want by acting as if Rousey vs. Mayweather would serve as some sort of vengeance for the latter’s past deeds, but perhaps we should purge ourselves of the poison that is domestic violence before playing doctor to all of its other victims.

This isn’t even to mention the fact that the mere idea of booking Rousey vs. Mayweather glorifies domestic violence, whether unintentionally or not, in that it would allow Mayweather to directly profit off it. Tell me, what do you think the storyline would be heading into this intergender superfight? That both Rousey and Mayweather are the most dominant athletes in their respective (and oh yeah, completely different) sports, which is why we just have to see them duke it out? Or would it be that one fighter who’s been (briefly) jailed for attacking his wife might receive a little street justice? Do you honestly think Rousey — a fighter with the gift of gab unlike many others — wouldn’t use every opportunity in the build-up to lob barbs at Mayweather for his tainted past, while ironically posing for selfies with convicted rapist Mike Tyson afterwards? Whether it wanted to or not, Rousey vs. Mayweather would more or less promote the idea of domestic abuse, not challenge it.

In an excellent piece published by The Daily Beast, Emily Shire also argued that Rousey vs. Mayweather would additionally “only validate the false idea that physical strength is the true mark of a person’s strength.”

“The additional belief that a man beating a woman at a sport—or a woman beating a man at a sport—speaks to some larger truth about the right to equal protection, pay, or respect under the law is ludicrous” wrote Shire.

And yet, it is what permitted a chauvinist, money-hungry showman like Bobby Riggs to troll feminism by getting enough people to believe that beating Billie Jean King in 1973 would somehow prove that these “crazy” newfangled ideas about equality between the sexes were somehow lacking in merit?

King’s victory was emotionally satisfying and inspired many women—and this should not be discounted. As the New York Times put it, King’s victory “convinced skeptics that a female athlete can survive pressure-filled situations and that men are as susceptible to nerves as women.”

However, her win also didn’t fix the wage gap, improve access to birth control, or rectify many of the other challenges facing women.

In fact, it’s debatable what exactly it did prove.

This isn’t a battle of the sexes ala King vs. Riggs, which Travis also attempted to argue in his piece for Fox Sports, because these athletes aren’t even competing in the same goddamn sport. And beyond that, what would a Rousey win prove, exactly? That the most dominant female mixed martial artist can beat a man in a sport he knows next-to-nothing about?

“Tonight at 11: Serena Williams takes on Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the BE ALL-END ALL tennis match for gender superiority!!”

And oh yeah, what if Mayweather wins, you guys? What if he destroys Rousey before she can ever get close to him? Not only would we literally allow a man to profit off of beating a woman, but as Shire argued, “it would be yet another victory for a man who has already beaten the justice system.”

Though he has been convicted of violence against women five times, he has only been made to serve one sentence. Obviously, a sanctioned athletic activity is not remotely the same as his attacks against women in his personal life, but there is something utterly disturbing at the thought of serial abuser being paid millions to knock another woman, even a fellow fighter, out cold.

Mayweather has already, unfortunately, ‘won.’ No outcome in the ring will change that.

And that’s the sad reality of it. No matter how bad Rousey beat Mayweather’s ass, it wouldn’t change a thing for the women he has harmed in the past. God forbid it went the other way.

To be fair, it’s not entirely the MMA media’s fault for constantly running with this illusion of news. It’s clickbait gold, Jerry! Rousey has also used Mayweather as a springboard to hype her own career a dozen times over by now — her epic diss of Mayweather at the ESPY’s immediately comes to mind —  and has admitted to doing just that, because like I said, she knows how to market herself. But even by her standards, Rousey has been upping her trash-talking game lately, claiming that she would be close to making “Floyd Mayweather” money in 50 fights in a recent interview and all but challenging Mayweather to a “no-rules” fight during her reddit AMA earlier this week (a fight she would totally win, BTW). Even the UFC has gotten in on this ridiculous back-and-forth, tweeting that Rousey wouldn’t need 12 rounds to…I don’t know, earn 300 million dollars, or something?

Is the UFC really so insecure in its ability to draw eyes that it needs to constantly loop in an outside entity to promote itself, or is this kind of rationalized sexism so ingrained in our cultural minutiae that we simply can’t allow a woman’s accomplishments to stand on their own without first comparing them to a man’s? Rousey doesn’t need to be validated by these cheap comparisons, because Rousey is an athlete who should transcend them. So compare her to Billie Jean King, or compare her to Mia Hamm. Just for the love of God, stop leaning on the idea of an intergender battle to prove what we already know about her dominance.

This neverending, ludicrous debate has gone on for far too long, you guys. It’s gotten to the point where Floyd Mayweather is starting to look like the only sensible one in this thing, for Christ’s sake. Just check out his response when asked about a potential fight with Rousey by FightHype:

I’m in the $100 million business, not the $100,000 business. I shouldn’t even be stooping to certain levels, because it doesn’t make any sense. People that’s in MMA, I wish them nothing but the best. I don’t have anything negative to say about them. The hand I was dealt in life, I was dealt a royal flush and I just have to be thankful and appreciative of the hand I was dealt.

I don’t have anything negative to say about anyone. I wish everyone of them nothing but the best.

Come on, people, do we really want to come off sounding like the ignoramus next to an illiterate wife-beater who once said that MMA was started by white guys who couldn’t hack it in boxing? That’s what I thought.

So to reiterate: Enough with this Rousey vs. Mayweather talk. Forever. Just stop it. I know it’s easy, I know it’s profitable, but it also represents the absolute nadir of the boxing vs. MMA debate, and dare I say, sports journalism in general. As Jeremy Botter and Jonathan Snowden noted in their recent piece on the issue for Bleacher Report:

Let’s talk about Miesha Tate. Let’s talk about Holly Holm. If you’re blessed with endless patience, let’s even talk about Cyborg. But one name that shouldn’t be mentioned together with MMA, ever again, is Floyd Mayweather. The final bell rang for that conversation some time ago.

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