Thursday, August 18, 2022

Sonnen Explains Why Ronda Rousey’s Success Was ‘Manipulated’

Chael Sonnen has given his take on MMA journalist Ariel Helwani’s recent comments that Ronda Rousey could be considered overrated.

Rousey is inarguably one of the most influential fighters in UFC history, if not the most influential. She helped normalize women’s MMA after UFC president Dana White hinted at women never competing in his promotion.

Rousey went on to become arguably the biggest star of the promotion during her reign as UFC bantamweight champion. This included a 14-second win over Cat Zingano at UFC 184 and a vicious knockout of Bethe Correia at UFC 190.

Despite her accomplishments in the Octagon, Helwani argued during a recent episode of The MMA Hour that a case can be made that Rousey is the most overrated MMA fighter. This prompted a debate on social media from fans and pundits alike.

During a recent video on his YouTube channel, Sonnen explained why he believes Helwani’s stance holds some merit when it comes to evaluating Rousey’s career.

“(Ariel Helwani) talked about Ronda is the most overhyped fighter of all time. Now, that’s gonna hurt somebody’s feelings. I do not want it to. The story of Ronda and Ronda’s career is awesome,” Sonnen said of Rousey. “But if you study that story, there’s gonna be some things like that that are gonna come up. To be the most overhyped fighter of all time, that’s not the insult it sounds like… You’re talking about an ability to captivate the world’s attention. It starts with a massive compliment.”

Chael Sonnen Rationalizes Ariel Helwani’s Position On Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey
Fox Sports

Sonnen went on to point out the differences between the start of Rousey’s UFC career versus the ending when she lost back-to-back title fights to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes in shocking fashion.

“How did she do that? How did she fool everybody? How did she make everybody believe something that apparently wasn’t there? … We just didn’t know where the division was at,” Sonnen said. “There was a day where the UFC anointed two champions. They got one of them right (José Aldo) and they didn’t get one right (Rousey)… The division was brand new. She was leaps and bounds better than who we deemed the number one contender, number two, three.

“Amanda Nunes, for example, had no problem with Ronda, very uncompetitive match. She was not from a different generation, she didn’t change weight classes… same age, same everything. We just didn’t know where Amanda should be ranked, and because of that, we didn’t have her ranked, and because of that, we didn’t put her in there for the title (for a while). The same goes for Holly Holm.”

Sonnen summed up his argument by pointing out how the UFC dictated Rousey’s career.

“The division was just too new. We hadn’t had enough fights yet. That’s where this overhyped business comes from,” Sonnen said of Helwani’s Rousey take. “Ronda’s story is a tremendous success story… How did she do it? How did she captivate? … There was maneuvering. There was manipulation. There was a lot of really smart things done. The story of Ronda was a great one for promotion.

“The boss came out and said, ‘This is the biggest star in the sport.’ I went to her fight in-person when she took on Sara McMann. This was at the height of her popularity; this was a world-title defense. The building sat 13,800, we had 7,500 people. In fairness, the story was never told straight, and the rankings were wrong, and the championships were suspect.”

Rousey was named the UFC women’s bantamweight champion after the Strikeforce-UFC merger. She went on to defend her title against Liz Carmouche in the first female-led UFC main event at UFC 157, before successfully earning another five title defenses.

Rousey is now retired from MMA and transitioned to a career in professional wrestling following her loss to Nunes at UFC 207. She became the first female fighter to be named to the UFC Hall of Fame.

Rousey is without question a UFC legend, but her legacy is complicated in some UFC fans’ eyes. Her exact place amongst the greatest fighters in UFC history remains a hot debate.

Do you agree with Chael Sonnen’s comments on Ronda Rousey?

Related Articles

Follow MMA News

Related Articles