By: Jasyn Zangari
Imagine Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squaring off on the US Senate floor over comments made by Clinton towards Trump’s policies on immigration. Two consenting adults agreeing to meet face to face and throw hands to the death over comments passed along over the internet and television. Ridiculous isn’t it?
Yet for some reason, when the names Floyd Mayweather and Ronda Rousey are mentioned, the first thought of most are “when are they fighting?” Nevermind the fact that both compete in different weight classes and in different sports, one is a man and one is a woman. Not to ruffle the equality feathers of anyone here, men and women should be viewed at as equals in almost every aspect of life, but in this instance, it is not only ridiculous, it would be criminal. Many are well aware of Mayweather’s sketchy history with domestic violence and overall treatment of women. There has been no less than 4 instances for Mayweather stemming from violence towards women, and quite frankly, there is no excuse for this. Whether he simply pushed them or seriously injured them makes no difference, laying your hand on a women is wrong in essentially any situation. Despite all these issues however, Mayweather has still been able to rise to the top of not only the boxing world, but the entire sports world. Generally earning around 300 million dollars a year for just over an hour of ring time, Mayweather has been not only able to overcome the stigma of domestic violence offenders being socially castrated, he has shown that if you are talented enough, people will push aside their issues and opinions just long enough to allow you to succeed. Having an ego the size of Mayweather’s certainly helps him ignore most of the talk surrounding him, but the talk is there none the less. Enter Ronda Rousey.
Since entering the mainstream MMA scene in 2012 with her Strikeforce win over Miesha Tate, Rousey has never been one to shy away from the touchy subjects. Her comments on Twitter regarding the 2012 shootings at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut instantly blew up the MMA news feeds. During an interview with MMAJunkie, Rousey stated she would choke fellow fighter Sarah Kaufman “until she is dead”. Remember back to when current UFC Heavyweight Frank Mir made similar death threat comments towards Brock Lesnar in 2012 now. UFC president Dana White took to the media and blasted Mir for these comments, but what was said about Rousey and her comments towards Kaufman? Basically nothing.
Since entering the UFC in 2013, Rousey has continued with her controversial statements, directing them at female and male fighters alike. Fallon Fox, “Cyborg” Santos, Cain Velasquez, Georges St. Pierre, Bryan Caraway, Bethe Correia, the list goes on and on. In some of these situations, her comments were simply a response to comments directed at her, but in several situations, Rousey seemingly went on the offensive for no other reason than to drum up attention. This is where it gets tricky though. Any professional athlete at the level of Rousey will always look for attention that focuses on them, because let’s be honest, your “on field” performance is only half of what the fans and media flock to you for. If you want to hype a fight or start a beef with an opposing player to build up your motivation, feel free. But to focus you attention on someone with literally nothing to do with you or your career such as Rousey is doing with Mayweather is not only laughable, it’s almost too pathetic to even laugh at.
While Rousey has stated she can “hypothetically” defeat any man in the sport, it doesn’t take a genius to know that if she were to match up with former UFC Heavyweight champion Velasquez, it would not end well for Rousey. While there is nothing wrong with believing in your abilities, even if some of these beliefs are ludacris, you do not become the best by thinking you aren’t. But as the UFC Female Bantamweight (135 pounds) champion, why is any of her attention directed at not only men, but any fighter not in her weight class? Many excuses are dropped as to why bouts that could realistically happen (Cyborg, any female BJJ player) won’t, but her hypothetical matchups cause a social media buzz?
In Mayweather’s case, it’s not even the same sport. How much would we laugh if Serena Williams had a beef with NASCAR star Tony Stewart’s driving, but would only settle it on the tennis court? This is what makes the basically one sided “feud” so funny. Rousey wants to make Mayweather pay for something that has nothing to do with her, but only if he comes to her. If you believe any of the numbers presented on the HBO Real Sports report on domestic violence in the MMA community, there are more than enough men to be made examples of within the sport. Hell, current UFC Light Heavyweight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has a checkered history with domestic violence, why no call out and challenge to him? Former UFC and Bellator fighter “War Machine” might be the most vile fighter to ever grace a professional MMA roster, yet Rousey hasn’t gone on the offensive towards him.
Simply put, Rousey is using a serious social issue to garner attention for herself, and sadly, the media as a whole is falling for it hook, line and sinker. Beginning with her ESPN ESPY award win for “Best Fighter”, Rousey took the chance to call out Mayweather:
“I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once. I’d like for him to pretend to not know who I am now.”
Nevermind the fact that Mayweather is a 6 time winner of this award, how exactly was he beaten by a women here? To use his domestic violence history and compare it losing an award could not be more inappropriate for a woman who is so vehemently against it. But, soon after Mayweather did reply to Rousey, congratulating her on the win, but adding:
“I just say that, you know, I’ve yet to see any MMA fighter or other boxer make over $300 million in 36 minutes. You know, when she can do that, then call me.”
For any fan of MMA or boxing, this wasn’t exactly news, but something that is simply a fact. Mayweather makes more money than almost any other athlete in the sports world, and there isn’t any valid response to this. Yet while Rousey’s comments were praised across the media, this was just Floyd being cocky again. Anyone see the irony here? But even with Mayweather’s income being very public and well known, Rousey had to respond with a less than well thought out statement, saying she makes more per second then Mayweather, which was shot down very, very quickly by most people. For some reason, Rousey has become entranced with Mayweather, and while he doesn’t seem to care too much about it, the media seems hell bent on presenting this as a heated back and forth feud.
To steal a moment from the Karate Kid, does anyone remember the scene in the Cobra Kai dojo, where Johnny’s sensei tells his students not to touch the prima-donna until the tournament? Soon after this, Daniel decides he will poke and prod the students, knowing full well they can do nothing. In this scenario, Ronda Rousey is Daniel and Mayweather is Johnny. There is nothing Mayweather can truly say or do to any of her comments or attacks because of his history, and she is well aware of this.
Think back to the Rousey/Miesha Tate feud, which quickly escalated into a Rousey/Bryan Caraway feud. Both sides fired shots back and forth, but yet when Caraway responded to Rousey’s challenge and comment that she would kick his ass, he became a vile piece of shit who wants to fight a women. Again, does no one see the irony here? There have been dozens of professional boxers that have entered the ring with Mayweather since his issues have begun, all of which have a mother, sister, aunt, some female in their life they love dearly. But rarely do we hear them using domestic violence as the reason they want to not only fight him, but beat him.
Why can Rousey call out anyone she wants, male or female, hypothetical or real, and it is great, she’s changing the rules, breaking barriers, etc. But yet when someone accepts her absurd challenge, they are vilified instantly. Rousey knows what she is doing with Mayweather, trying to bait him into responding as the women beater she is looking to build attention off, and when he doesn’t, he is simply scared of her. Isn’t this the exact way a man is supposed to act when confronted “physically” by a women, by walking away and brushing it off? The fact that the media is actually promoting this as a feud and something that must happen is the truly vile part of all of this. Since when is promoting a fight between a man and woman anything but promoting a form of domestic violence?
This is not a feud, this is a one sided call for attention, using the largest name in the combat sports world with a checkered past to boost your name and use a serious cause to exploit for your own good. As athletes, both fighters are tremendous examples of what hard work and dedication can do for anyone. But as personal roles models, neither should be anywhere near the top of the food chain based on their pasts and presents.