The increasingly public negotiations between Holly Holm and the UFC in regards to her first title defense are heating up.
Holm, 34, shocked the world at UFC 193 when she dethroned undefeated “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and took her place at the head of the table. After her victory, Holm admitted that an immediate rematch was the right thing to do, saying,“I think a rematch makes sense for sure. I’ve been on the losing side of a fight and I wanted the rematch, I wanted to avenge my loss. With a champion like Ronda – who has gone out of her way, above and beyond, to do great things – absolutely she deserves a rematch.”
Now, after a few weeks, it looks like the new champ and her team may be having second thoughts. Rousey is currently sidelined for what she estimates to be anywhere from 3-6 months, and according to Holm’s manager, Lenny Fresquez, they would prefer to not wait that long.
“Holly’s used to staying active,” Fresquez said to latimes.com on Monday. “We’re from the old school, and we believe the No. 1 contender is there for a reason. … [Miesha Tate] deserves a shot, but it’s not for me to decide.”
He continued, “We’d like to fight Miesha. We understand there are risks, but Holly’s a dominant champion, and she wants to fight the best. Right now, Miesha is the best.”
According to the report, Fresquez met with the UFC in Las Vegas, and the company informed him that there were no open slots from now until July that would allow for Holm vs. Tate. Fresquez said he would bring the UFC a proposal on Tuesday and they would come to a decision.
Apparently that decision has been made.
UFC president Dana White on Wednesday spoke to the L.A. Times' Lance Pugmire – who later tweeted the exchange – and told him, “no matter what Holly Holm’s manager says, her next fight in July will be against Ronda Rousey.”
He would later add, when talking about Fresquez, in a ‘sarcastic tone’: “We’re real concerned with his opinion.”
Well, OK then.
White using the media to convey a message is nothing new. And honestly, there isn’t anything wrong with it, but it can lead to a very dangerous game of posturing and at its worst, an eventual irreparable relationship. White taking such a seemingly hard stance in the press with a woman who just knocked out one of your self-admitted favorite fighters and close friends, frankly, it just seems sloppy.
At this point, Holly Holm is the new Ronda Rousey – at least that’s what the UFC has been telling us: She took down the queen of mixed martial arts, and she did it in the most dominant way possible.
The UFC paraded Holm around the TV talk-show circuit in the weeks following UFC 193. “The Preacher’s Daughter” became an overnight sensation by doing what the UFC told us was impossible: She ended Ronda Rousey’s cherished undefeated streak, and in the process, became the first-ever boxing and MMA world champion.
Now, with all of the attention and acclaim on Holm – a fighter who is trying to establish her legacy by staying active, something Rousey did – the UFC is seemingly using a ‘take it or leave it’ approach.
UFC bantamweights Sarah Kaufman and Germaine de Randamie will meet at a UFC Fight Night card later this month, but outside of that, there aren't any other officially announced bouts in the division.
With questions resurfacing as to whether or not the division could even survive without Ronda Rousey, the UFC and Dana White should prepare for Holm taking a hard stance in the media as well. After all, Holly Holm is the champ, and she should have some say in whom she fights next.
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