Dana White: “Ronda Rousey is What It Took to Get Women in the UFC”

November 12, 2013
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Ronda Rousey UFC 157Women’s mixed martial arts didn’t begin when Ronda Rousey made her professional fighting debut in 2011, but she’s responsible for women being featured on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage, the UFC.

Organizations like HOOKnSHOOT were pioneers in featuring women’s fighting on their cards, hosting all-women’s events a decade ago. Other promotions followed, but women’s MMA didn’t generate widespread attention until the arrival of Gina Carano in Strikeforce in 2006. She headlined cards in Strikeforce and ElitXC, but women were no closer to fighting in the UFC than they were when Tara LaRosa made her professional debut against the late Shelby Walker in 2002.

UFC president Dana White said that women would never fight under the UFC banner, but that all changed when he met Ronda Rousey.

Rousey had recently defeated Miesha Tate to win the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title and defended it against Sarah Kaufman. In November 2012, Rousey became the first female fighter signed by the organization and was named the first UFC women’s bantamweight champion upon her arrival.

Rousey, along with Liz Carmouche, made history in February by becoming the first women to fight in the famed UFC Octagon. Rousey has become one of the most popular fighters on the UFC roster.

Her popularity garnered her a coaching slot on the reality series The Ultimate Fighter opposite her Strikeforce rival Tate, but viewers have had a mixed response to Rousey since the season began airing in September.

“It’s not the way she’s portrayed herself. It’s who she is. It’s why women fight in the UFC because of her,” said White following UFC Fight Night 32 on Nov. 9. “I could care less if you don’t like her or like her. It doesn’t matter to me. She’s the world champion and she’s badass and she goes out to win.

“I wouldn’t have done it without Ronda,” said the UFC president about brining women into the organization. “You could line up all the greatest girls on Earth from here to (expletive) Pluto, and she’s the one that when I met her I said, this chick is insanely competitive and just a different animal. And she’s what it took to get women in the UFC.”

When Carano was headlining events on CBS and Showtime, White didn’t even consider offering her a contract. It took Rousey to break down that barrier.

“Hate her or not, the reason why all these girls fight in the UFC is because of her,” said White. “Ronda Rousey is a different animal. She’s a different animal. I’m telling you, and I know her a lot better than all of you do.”

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  • Mark McDowall

    So if/when she looses…whats the over under on how much time before the womens division gets forgotten about?

  • bajafox

    “Hate her or not, the reason why all these girls fight in the UFC is because of her,” said White. “Ronda Rousey is a different animal. She’s a different animal. I’m telling you, and I know her a lot better than all of you do.”

    And who gives a rats ass how well he knows her? He’s not paying $50 to watch her fight. The fans are over her thanks to TUF

    • Jay Mcgarrity

      I was never on the Ronda D*ck riding train but I don’t see why seeing somebody in a different light or potentially bad light would lower the desire to watch them fight and either kick A** or get their A** kicked. It’s interesting and intriguing to see if anyone can dethrone her or even stop the armbar. I could care less who wins the fight between Ronda and Miesha being that I’m not emotionally invested in the least to either but I am sure as Sh*t going to watch to see what happens.

  • Advance*

    I’m surprised he didn’t call her “mean and nasty”. He’s described her that way about 200 times.

  • Calvin Josey

    Cris Cyborg has called her out several times but she wants nothing to do with that. Dana does not want his cash cow to lose the belt.

    • Jessie Butler

      no calvin she won’t come down to the weightclass and dana won’t let dbl r go up,but if dana thinks she is nasty apparently he don’t see many women fighter’s cause the nastiest women lb for lb is holly holm’s otta g jackson’s gym and she weighs the same as dbl r

      • Mark McDowall

        Dana doesn’t have an issue with Cyborg…Dana has issues with Cyborg’s dumb a** of a manager Tito Ortiz. Who screwed his client by telling her not to take the deal the UFC was offering her to fight in Invicta for a while, on the UFC’s dime, while they figured out what they are going to do. But Tito, the great manager that he is, said F the UFC go straight to invicta…essentially talking Cyborg and in turn himself out of alot of money.

        • Jessie Butler

          i did forget about tito,mark and i think we’re both correct and i bet tito is mad now cause with all the new competition in women’s mma and invicta she may never ever get that chance,and i think dana also worries she’s on that juice!!

          • Calvin Josey

            It does not negate the fact that she will not accept a fight with Cyborg. She called out Cain, not Cyborg or Holly Holms, who I agree is much nastier.

          • james j

            Tito. Lol.

          • Mark McDowall

            Damn right Titos mad now…Dana wanted her in the UFC to make her the cornerstone of the womens 145lb division or see her drop to 35. Mike Dolce said he could have her at 35 without too much problem. The man is a miracle worker…he said he could have Roy Nelson as a ripped 185’er!! If he can do that he could get Cyborg to 135 and making tons and tons of UFC money as their womens champion.

  • Jessie Butler

    i wish the women had more div,like watching good fighting;k’o’s are nice but these women beat the snot out of each other and most fights last and some are battles as a fan i think women fights are more entertaining cause they aren’t one-sided or predictable

  • Jacob K

    White is saying, I have a massive crush on this chubby little chick and in order to better hit on her, I will pay her and promote her and control her with contractual obligations until I can coerce her into screwing me. The real question is….why doesn’t Dana try to dethrone her ASAP in order to put her future under his thumb.
    White is never the most logically convincing person, but this explanation of why Ronda inspired Dana to do women’s mma is garbage and incomplete. She’s an animal….ok cris is an animal Ronda is a pretty girl.

    • L

      No wonder Dana told Edmund he was keeping his eye on him. Dana’s jealous! He heard about how Ronda likes to up her T levels before fights, and wants a piece for himself.

  • TKDGuy

    White: “I could care less if you don’t like her or like her. It doesn’t matter to me.” — until it affects ticket sales and audience…

  • jake snod

    Please let Cyborg destroy Rousey and end this crap. Rousey is a low life scum bag foul mouthed uncouth loser.

    • james j

      Cyborg can’t pass a Roid test. We will never see that fight.

  • jake snod

    Rousey had it all but blew it with her foul mouth and her ignorance and crude boorish behavior. Rhonda is more scum bag trailer trash than anything else. Not a role model but more a tramp.

  • Mike Santone

    the only role women should have in MMA is those scantily clad skanks holding up round number signs during the matches