Ronda Rousey needs to fight Floyd Mayweather.
There, I said it.
This fight must happen.
I know Rousey has said she won’t do it and she thinks it sends the wrong message and that the only time she could see herself fighting Mayweather would be if they were dating — a great line, by the way — and Mayweather would probably be disinclined to fight as well because everyone would be rooting against him and what does he have to win? But Mayweather’s all about the money and Rousey is too. It’s the business they chose. And if Rousey fought Mayweather in a UFC match the entire country would watch and both fighters would make $250 million or more. (Mayweather-Pacquiao did $410 million in revenue.) Rousey-Mayweather would do north of $500 million in buys. This would be the most popular pay-per-view event in sports history. And we might never see its equal in our lifetimes. If you doubt me about the appeal, the easy test is this, which sports fans do you know who wouldn’t watch this fight? Just walk around your office today and ask people if they’d watch. Every sports fan would. Hell, tons of people who don’t even care about sports at all would be shelling out $100 or more for this fight.
This would be a modern day battle of the sexes, a story that transcends sports, a contest between the preeminent boxer of his era, undefeated and coming to the end of his career, and the greatest female fighter in UFC history, a woman with no competition in the present day and none on the horizon either. Rousey and Mayweather are pretty much the same height and weight and according to fight prognosticators much smarter than me it’s impossible to predict who would win. Would Rousey be able to get her hands on Mayweather or would Floyd be too quick for her? Could Mayweather land enough punches to keep Rousey at distance? Or would Ronda take Mayweather to the ground and force him to tap out via submission hold?
We have no idea what would happen.
As if the battle of the sexes angle wasn’t good enough, we also have a battle of fighting styles. And a hero and a villain. It’s too good of a fight not to happen, right?
Especially since Floyd Mayweather loves money so much he doesn’t care who hates him. Are you really telling me if promoters offered him a $250 million guarantee he wouldn’t fight? With only a couple of boxing matches left, why not finish his career with the ultimate battle of the sexes? Train for MMA for six months and take on Rousey. Win or lose, if it’s a good fight, you’d get a rematch. Heck, split the first two matches and each fighter is likely to make a billion dollars off these three fights.
A billion dollars!
How does either fighter say no to this? The market is salivating at the idea. If Rousey wins a couple of more fights — check that, when Rousey wins a couple of more fights — what does she have left to prove in the UFC? There’s no challenger now and there’s none on the horizon either. She’s 28 and interested in moving beyond UFC and into pop culture. Why not retire from the UFC with no injuries, her body intact, fight Mayweather to make herself a hundred millionaire and then ride off into the sunset as a UFC icon? The baddest ass woman to ever live. Can you imagine how beloved Rousey would be if she beat Mayweather’s ass? And even if she lost, what does that cost her? As for Mayweather, he’s already hated, how much more will people dislike him if he beats Rousey in a UFC fight? Not much. He’ll just get richer.
But here’s the deal, I think Rousey would win. I really do think, she would beat Floyd Mayweather’s ass. (Chances are, many of you feel the exact opposite way. Which is why this fight needs to happen. When was the last time that we entered a big fight with relatively even odds?)
Ever since Ronda Rousey put me in an arm bar in the Fox Sports green room and chose not to break my arm, I’ve loved her. So there I was on Saturday night, buying my first ever UFC fight on pay-per-view. Next thing you know you find yourself awake well after midnight watching all these guys fight each other, rooting for them to beat each other’s asses as fast as possible, so you can get to the main event, we all wanted to see Ronda fight.
Thirty four seconds after it began her fight was over, and I felt like I’d seen the ghost of Mike Tyson.
If you’re around my age you remember what it was like to see Tyson in his prime. He was a mythical figure, a heavyweight champion who strode into the ring clad in black leather shorts with a white towel with a hole cut in it thrown over his head. Back then you didn’t get to see Mike Tyson fight unless your family had HBO. My dad wouldn’t ever pay extra for any of the movie channels so we’d always see the fights later on replay. Either that or you might get really lucky and have a free preview when a fight happened. (We watched the 1990 Buster Douglas fight on replay at my grandmother’s house because she had an HBO free preview then.)
But I remember watching one early Tyson fight live, it was 26 years ago, in July of 1989, I was ten years old. We were in a hotel room during a little league baseball tournament somewhere in middle of nowhere rural Tennessee, tons of kids and parents gathered around a television. Mike Tyson, then 36-0 and already a legend at the age of 23 years old, was fighting Carl “The Truth” Williams and our hotel had HBO!
The fight lasted 91 seconds.
Tyson’s power was jaw dropping, his finishing skills unmatched, for many of us he was the last heavyweight champion of the world that justified the nomenclature. He was the baddest man on the planet and on that July night we all saw Tyson at the absolute apex of his competitive powers; in seven months he’d lose to Buster Douglas in a fight that took place in Japan. The news was so shocking that none of us believed it was possible. But on that night against Carl “the Truth” Williams Tyson was unstoppable.
When Tyson knocked Williams down, the explosive power of his punch seemed to come from nowhere. They’d been grappling one moment and then suddenly a punch so fast we hardly saw it and Williams was splayed on the canvas, eyes bewildered, uncertain how he’d gone from standing to on the ground so quickly.
I hadn’t seen anything like Tyson on that night until I saw Ronda Rousey on Saturday night.
Twenty six years after Mike Tyson left me breathless, Ronda Rousey did it again.
The fighter makes the fight. And right now there are two fighters that can make the biggest fight in pay-per-view history happen — Ronda Rousey and Floyd Mayweather.
It needs to happen.