Ronda Rousey era: it was special while it lasted

So an era ends — if not actually, certainly in spirit.


Ronda Rousey didn’t just lose, again. She was obliterated Friday by 59 landed Amanda Nunes punches, all in 48 seconds. It was worse than Rousey simply failing to reclaim her previous sTagus. She looked like a has been, a legend well past her prime.

If that is true, if the last two visuals we got of Rousey in the octagon was her defeated and helpless, that should not be the totality of her legacy.

As runs go, it was brief, crashing and burning at the end of Nunes haymakers. But the whole story must include how incredible the run was.

How Rousey put a sport on her back. How she captivated with her combination of talent and swag. How she played a significant role in pushing women’s sports into mainstream.

Rousey’s shocking demise only matters because Rousey made herself matter. She took a niche sport and made it profitable, forging her way to the cool table of popular sports. She got $3 million for UFC 207 for her first fight in over a year. Nunes reportedly got $200,000 for beating her.

Rousey was so impactful at the top of her game, she pretty much put herself out of UFC. She raised the bar enough, and the stakes enough, that the talent pool eventually exposed her weaknesses and belittled he strengths.

Sure, include in her legacy how her athleticism and skill — and mental strength — didn’t hold up when pressed. Question whether the fame distracted her too much. Take her off the lists of best women athletes that include Serena Williams, Maya Moore, Allyson Felix…

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