Seeing former Strikeforce champion, Sarah Kaufman on Showtime's "All Access Ronda Rousey" playing the drums and talking about being a dancer made me wonder why it took this long for some interesting details to be revealed about her. She reminds me of those quiet people who, when you get to know them, become one of your favorites.
Nothing wrong with being quiet, unless you're so quiet, that the decision makers like UFC brass, Dana White, don't remember your name. In a recent interview, DW said he could only think of two female fighter's names. Sarah Kaufman wasn't one of them.
Wallflower, blending in with the scenery
Sarah reminds me of this girl I met when I was 12. She rode the bus with me to school. She was the ugliest girl I'd ever seen. She was so homely and quiet that I became fascinated by her. One morning, I got up super early, so I could be there when she arrived at the bus stop. I wanted to talk to her.
Something about her enchanted me. We became friends--and for the duration of the bus ride to school, she was in the bully-free zone, as I thwarted any attempt to upset or embarrass her from my junior high school classmates.
I'm not saying that Sarah Kaufman is ugly
Sarah, with her chiseled, symmetrical features, is one of those women who, if a hair/make-up/wardrobe stylist had an hour with her, would be transformed into a raving beauty, living up to "something like a phenomenon" in a completely different way. video
I'm saying there's a disconnect between a dancer's fluid movement and Sarah's stoic fighter stance. Plug those two worlds together and I'd expect to see some spicy pepper show up in the mostly salty Sarah. Maybe it's because she's Canadian that she appears stiff. Blame it on the harsh winters.
I'm also saying that compared to Ronda Rousey, she's very quiet. I don't think Sarah thinks of herself as "pretty" because she's on record talking about wanting to smash Ronda Rousey's pretty face when they meet in the cage on August 18th at Strikeforce: Rousey vs Kaufman (10 pm ET/PT).
Take risks to avoid getting overlooked
Being shy and reserved doesn't fit anymore. Engaging a fan base is another skill set for champions and wanna-be champions (again) to continuously practice and improve upon. It's time for Sarah Kaufman to step up her "fan engagement" game and have fun chatting with people and inspiring more dancers and drummers to pursue their dreams.
Whether Kaufman regains her championship title or not, I believe it's time for her to apply her rhythm, timing and creativity--in a bigger way--to her online media interviews, to her Twitter / Facebook conversations and in press conferences.
If Sarah does succeed in defeating Ronda Rousey and taking the championship belt from her, I hope she doesn't go back to her quiet life in the frozen tundra...because Ronda's never going to shut up.
Strikeforce: Rousey vs Kaufman press conference video
Demonstration from Ronda Rousey from the pre-fight press conference: "I always fight the same regardless of the situation...I respect Sarah as an opponent and I've trained harder for this fight than for any fight before. She might not know it, but she should be thanking her lucky stars that MMA is properly regulated in California. I respect her so much that I'm not taking any chances. If I get her in an armbar, I'm gonna try and rip it off and throw it at her corner. And if I get her in a choke, I'm gonna hold onto it, until she's actually dead. And if I get her in a knockout, I'm not gonna walk away from it. I'm gonna try to actually pound her face into the ground and she's depending on the confidence of the California Athletic Commission to be able to walk out of that cage alive. And that has nothing to do with whether I like her or respect her--she seems like a nice chick--but, every single time I go in to fight, I pretend as if it's my little sister's life depending on it. And in that kind of situation, nobody could ever beat me."
What Sarah said (at about the 6 minute mark of the press conference video): "...I have no doubt that she has trained fully for this fight...I feel really confident going into this fight...She's going to show up to fight... She's going to try and kill me--which is kinda mean. But, that's alright. At the end of the day, someone's going to walk out with that belt and I want that person to be me...we're not here to play patty-cake...hopefully, no one dies in the process, but again, it's a fight and anything can happen. It's great. It gets people excited. And people wanna see two athletes showing up and fighting and not just trying to outscore the other person. They want to see someone decisively finish a fight."
Time for Sarah to take up more room
Ronda has already taken up valuable real estate space in the mind of UFC president, Dana White. Just because you're the champion, doesn't mean your dance card will fill up, if the big boss doesn't remember your name.
A woman who can fight, play the drums and dance. That sounds like someone fans would love to engage with online. I wonder if Sarah's wallflower status is because she doesn't realize that her fans want more from her. Sarah deserves a bigger audience. But it's up to her to open up and share more with her fans. Seems to me, the more she shares, the more people will connect with her.
Bottom line: No question, Sarah can fight. But, if Big Daddy, Dana White can't remember your name, you've got a gaping hole in your outside-of-the-cage MMA game. As a pioneer for women's MMA, no female fighter can afford to have a hole that big. It makes a difference for her career as well as all the other female fighters coming after her (literally and figuratively).
Source: All sources noted, Twitter
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'She's Got the Whole Package' Says Dana White About Ronda Rousey: Fan Reaction
Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. Currently, she trains with Keith Florian and has trained with UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny