With only a handful of professional fights--all stunning performances--Ronda Rousey (5-0) is a promoter's dream come true. To become famous as a professional MMA fighter, you have to be more than a top ranked fighter. You have to be controversial, like Ronda Rousey, to get people's attention and maintain it over the long haul. Being the best in your weight class just isn't enough.
Ronda Rousey, Always Fresh
Take the case of Strikeforce champion, Ronda Rousey, for instance. When Ronda responded--with some heat--to a casual message from an old flame, she generated thousands of Facebook shares, hundreds of tweets and retweets, plus a notable number of Google Plus and Linked In shares. Ronda explained why she shared her dismissive response with her fans on Instagram. Basically, she said that it felt good to let someone--who treated her badly--know what he was missing out on. Everyone can relate to that message.
Ronda hangs out with the Diaz brothers, more commonly known as Nick and Nate, the bad boys of MMA. It makes me laugh to think of Ronda with her big smile flanked on each side by one of the Diaz boys mean-mugging into the camera. No, I haven't seen this photo yet. If it doesn't exist, I predict that one day it will.
Photos and video do exist of Ronda training judo and jiu jitsu with the Diaz brothers.
Ronda's name came up as the witness to three time champion BJJ black belt, Braulio Estima making weight at the recent World Jiu Jitsu Expo. She was there in support of Nick Diaz who was supposed to match up with Estima in a BJJ superfight. Nick was a no-show and the BJJ match did not take place--disappointing fans, Estima and the charity who stood to gain from Nick donating his fight purse to them. I wrote about Nick's latest escapade on this post, Nick 'No Show' Diaz Disappoints Braulio Estima at World Jiu Jitsu Expo: Fan Reaction
Ronda is unmatched in the realm of women's MMA for showing up and being noticed. She gives interviews regularly. In the lead up to her fight against former Strikeforce champion, Miesha Tate, there seemed to be a new interview--with fresh quotes and new perspectives--every day. Ronda works hard to push herself, her brand and the Zuffa promotion, Strikeforce, onto the front page.
Bellator 69: Megumi Fujii vs Jessica Aguilar
By contrast, the upcoming battle between 115ers, Megumi Fujii and Jessica Aguilar, is flying below the radar. These two well-known and well-respected female MMA fighters face off at Bellator 69 (shown live on MTV2). The event takes place May 18, 2012, at L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana. source
With their current records at 115, Megumi Fujii (25-1 MMA, 3-1 Bellator) vs. Jessica Aguilar (13-4 MMA, 3-1 Bellator), Megumi is ranked number one in the world and Jessica fourth. source
Just goes to show, you don't get attention just for doing great work. Like Ronda, you have to be mixing it up with fans on Twitter and Facebook and sharing your life on Instagram too. Each fighter decides how far down that rabbit hole she will go.
I would love to see some of the Japanese female fighters trash-talking or finding some way to represent and take up more MMA fan media space. It would be fun to get to get to know what makes them tick...and to have more reason to repeat their names. With so much competition for attention, female fighters need to step up their media-attention game.
Megumi Fujii, 7 Years, 25 Wins Tribute video
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Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. She trains with Keith Florian and UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny