1. It didn't kill the tension with Tate
After the fight you could see Mauro fishing for the 'It was all for marketing' line from Ronda. I'm glad she didn't oblige him. Before the fight I wrote that I didn't want Ronda to kill the tension between her and Miesha should she win, and why that was so important. She didn't disappoint. She has great storytelling instincts. The shortline is that by not saying it was all for show/hype/marketing, it doesn't kill the tension between them. Which is good because Tate is bound to get a rematch one day. And if Ronda had said it was all for show after the first fight, it'd be a tough sell to get us amped for the rematch.
But this way there's still unfinished business, there's still a lot of issues between them that can make for a great story in the inevitable rematch.
She's gonna catch a lot of flack for it from some people, but I feel those people are shortsighted. It's not like she rubbed Miesha's face in it (well within her right to do), she just refused to apologize for her actions. Own that shit.
2. Set up her fight with Kaufman
I kinda smiled when they cut to Sarah Kaufman after the fight, who looked a little unnerved. Some website had a headline saying "Kaufman sends message to champ", and I thought nah dude, Ronda sent the message. To every single fighter that doubted or criticized her skills and experience. In the words of Brock Lesnar: 'Talk all that shit you want now!'
3. The fight had a great story that put both competitors over
Each fight tells its own story, and this had a great story. Miesha blasts her with some hard shots, Ronda used her judo to get Miesha in an armbar just as fast as her previous opponents. But Miesha doesn't tap! She shows her heart and toughness and fights out of it, and then takes Ronda's back! She made a lot of fans sweat with that one. Ronda escapes and after a couple more sweet throws locks in the nastiest fucking armbar I've ever seen. The look of agony on Miesha's face, the heart, the pride, refusing to tap for far too long. And then the amazing and eerie look of calm as she lied there and doctors attented to her arm.
4. The video can go viral
Because of how crazy that armbar was, the video is bound to go viral among MMA sites. The Julia Budd finish made the rounds, and this was that armbar x10. Every fan that has the internet is going to see this fight. It's a gross finish that's gonna have a lot of people talking, and that's only a good thing.
5. It showed where Ronda is vulnerable and has holes in her game
Understand that from a storytelling perspective, having holes in your game and being vulnerable is a good thing. Ronda showed just enough vulnerability to be scary for us to watch. In other words, a dominant invincible champ isn't nearly as exciting or nerve-wrecking to watch as a vulnerable one.
I heard Ronda was into the whole manifesting thing, and so I smiled when I saw her mother rocking a t-shirt with Ronda's face and the text 'Strikeforce champion' during the event. They went on sale the hour of her victory. Cheeky.
Speaking of smiling, I laughed when Judo Gene lifted her arm in victory, and Ronda kept turning away from the camera because she didn't want them to see her armpits.
Watch these two heartwarming videos:
I want to end this post, not with a picture of a gross elbow, but with a video of Ronda that encapsulates her story. I remember the first video I ever saw of Ronda she talked briefly about her father's death, and you could hear her voice start to break with emotion. It was clearly a touchy subject. I immediately said 'That's the story, right there' and was angry when the interviewer didn't follow it up or go deeper.
Well, FINALLY, after months of watching weak ass interviewers they finally got it right. In these two videos Ronda talks about her back story with her dad that motivates and even haunts her. As some screenwriters call it, her 'ghost'.
As she talks she tears up and begins to cry. For some reason they didn't linger on it, but it's still a great moment. A beautiful, vulnerable moment of insight where we can see and understand why she does what she does. Because I look at MMA from a storyteller viewpoint, I've been waiting for such a video for months, so thank you to the people who shot it.
Video one here (see from 6.48).
Video two here:
Original on my blog here.