Ronda Rousey and the Punishment of Bethe Correia

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

Photos by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

Bethe Correia had already given bantamweight champion ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey plenty of reasons to get herself in the best possible shape for their August 1 meeting at UFC 190.

The Brazilian had sent two of the champion’s teammates, Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke, packing to get into the title picture. Like Rousey, Correia is also unbeaten in professional MMA. ‘Pitbull’ has also been predicting her toppling of the Rousey since very early on in her UFC tenure, a fighter that many people consider the most dominant female in professional sports.

Correia seemed to play the villain effortlessly, and although Rousey had claimed that the Brazilian had got her attention after the Baszler win, it wasn’t until the title challenger spoke out and “disrespected the greatest tragedy” the champion had ever gone through.

When she was just a child, Rousey’s father took his own life. Given that well documented information, when Correia said that she hoped Rousey doesn’t “commit suicide” after she loses her title, the UFC 190 main event has taken on a completely different back drop.

“I think everything up until the suicide comment could have been understandable from a marketing point of view,” said Rousey. “But when she said that is when it really crossed the line and became truly personal for me.”

Rousey has gone on record to say that she is contemplating punishing her challenger on Saturday night on account of her outlandish statement. Such is the dominance that ‘Rowdy’ has exhibited in her career that a premonition like that has to be taken seriously. In fact, the champion is so adamant about what she wants to do to Correia that she even admitted to her mother being “pissed off” at the thoughts of her dragging out the bout make an example of Correia.

“To be honest, my mom’s pissed and she doesn’t want me to do it. And she chewed me out. She wants me to end it as quick as possible still. And I promised her that I’m not going to and I’m going to be fine. I’m not going to take any damage.

“If it goes any longer it’s just because I’m punishing her more and I’m not going to purposely not finish her if I see something. But I could still drag it out and make the finish just a little bit more, you know, thorough,” explained Rousey.

Correia believes that her comment on suicide has been taken out of context and that Rousey has been “playing games” with the media to build up the fight. While nobody wants to see any athlete get seriously injured in a bout, some are relishing the thoughts of Rousey taking a little more time to go about her business in the Octagon.

In her last two trips to the Octagon, Rousey has taken a total of 30 seconds to completely dismantle two valid title contenders. Both Cat Zingano and Alexis Davis were considered to be “the best of the rest” in terms of the UFC’s bantamweight division, but Rousey brushed them aside effortlessly.

Considering her quick stoppages throughout her career, Rousey maintained that although she does get “mixed feedback” on the length of her contests, she likened her performances to early 90’s knockout king Mike Tyson’s.

Rousey explained that she never has any intention of finishing her fights that quickly, it’s just simply something that has happened throughout her career. As far as the champion is concerned, the MMA world is witnessing “a very special time” with her at the helm of the sport.

“Well I get really like mixed feedback,” she said on the subject of her quick finishes. “It’s 50/50 where people tell me like can you break your own record and can you do it faster or can you make it longer? And so I think that the fans and the people are aware that they’re watching history. And even if it’s a short fight it’s a historic short fight.

“I mean if you were around back when Mike Tyson was in his prime and he was knocking all these people out right away, and you couldn’t tell your friends that you didn’t see that because you decided you had better things to do that night, you would feel like an idiot that you didn’t see it, you know, because you could have.

“And I think it’s gotten to the point where people are becoming aware that this is a very, very special time. And if they decide to do something else that day, it’s going to be a moment that they could have witnessed and didn’t. And so, you know, I’m not going to call it and say oh, this fight’s going to end in like under 20 seconds because I’m not.

“Those fights that ended that quickly, I did not intend for them to end that quickly. It’s just that’s where - that’s how it ended up because, you know, I improvise while I’m out there. So, you know, I’m ready for a five round war. That’s how I walk out there and that’s what I prepare for. And who knows what’s going to happen?” 


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