The games between Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg continue in terms of getting the biggest women’s MMA fight since Cyborg/Carano together. First Cyborg’s management dismissed a fight at 135 for medical reasons with MMA Weekly:
Her cardiologist stated emphatically that he would not sign off on a move down a weight class based on her current health. The dangers to her body could also prohibit Santos from carrying a child later in life, and according to her camp, that was a risk the former Strikeforce champion was unwilling to make for any fight. Santos’ walking around weight currently hovers around 160lbs and the 25lb cut would just be too much for her body according to her doctors.
Rousey’s management team spoke with MMA Mania and fired back:
“If you ask five doctors, you’ll get five different opinions. I guarantee you, you can find doctors that’ll say the weight cut will be fine…. It all depends on what side they’re working for. It’s her doctor. If you’re going to trial, I can find a professional witness to make you look innocent or make you look guilty…. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt long-term … but my personal belief is she can lose the weight. She would just prefer an advantage to fight at 145 pounds. And I think we have the advantage at 135…
“We want that fight because it’s a big money fight. We want to fight Cyborg and I think Ronda can beat her at any weight. But I believe if she’s not taking drugs, 135 pounds will be absolutely no problem…. At the end of the day, it’s up to Ronda. I would advise against it because I would like to do everything to get Cyborg down to 135 pounds, but I know it’s the fight the world wants to see. I think it’s a million-plus Pay-Per-View fight, so we have to take those things into consideration.”
Kubryk’s Commentary: Well … welcome to gamesmanship at its finest. Both sides are holding their cards tight and are hilariously over the top in their posturing.
One the one hand you have Rousey’s team … who must be on something if they think Rousey/Cyborg is a million PPV buy fight. It’s a nice fight, and one that could boost up a major PPV with a novelty factor, but it’s more of a curiosity than an actual big time fight. It’s big to hardcores but it’s not something that casual fans en masse are going to be clamoring for to the point of actually paying for it. Rousey headlined events in Strikeforce may be getting viewers on Showtime but they’re not drawing big gates; people are curious to see her but aren’t paying to see her yet.
That’s the difference between a curiosity and a draw; convincing people to watch her on television is one thing. Convincing them to shell out $60 to see her on PPV is another. Look at the numbers: against Sarah Kaufman she drew north of $140,000 at the gate with 3,502 people in attendance but got a sizable audience on television. She did similar numbers in terms of gate vs. viewers with Miesha Tate as well in a similar position as the featured fight of the evening. We can draw from this so far that people will tune in but they won’t make it a point to pay to see her fight.
She’s not a hot ticket to see … but she could be. With some time she could be someone who brings in people to pay to see her fight but even the Zuffa marketing machine couldn’t produce a $7 million gate with over a million buys on PPV like UFC 148 (Sonnen vs. Silva 2) did earlier this year with Rousey/Cyborg right now unless they had a lot of help on the undercard. Right now it would take GSP on the same card, as well as another high profile fight, to boost up Rousey on top to get to that vaunted 1 million PPV her mark her management thinks that fight can get. And even then the focus would be off Cyborg vs. Rousey and on the other fights.
So far Rousey isn’t a draw, neither is Cyborg for the matter, but both are curiosities. And that works in their favor.
They’d would make for a perfect UFC on Fox co-main event, perhaps, but not as the focal point of a major card. Rousey isn’t going to draw people who aren’t into MMA to pay to see her fight in person but she can get them to tune in. She’s a star in the making, and will be a curiosity factor for many, but so far she hasn’t proven she can bring in people to see her. She will bring in people to tune in on free television, though, and that’s key to all of this. There’s a very good reason why the biggest drawing PPV cards of all time all had massive gates to match. Anticipated fights make people pay all sorts of stupid money for good seats and so far they’re paying fairly little money to see actually Rousey fight. And while the gate will be better than the Kaufman gate it won’t be leaps and bounds bigger for a card with these two ladies as the big draw.
The numbers tell us this and Zuffa knows it; right now Rousey’s team is just posturing to get the cards lined up in her favor and that’s good management working for her.
On the other hand Cyborg’s team is just using her doctor like how the UFC uses governmental regulation to avoid doing anything in relation to drug testing, et al. Could she make 135? Maybe … diet and nutrition consultant Mike Dolce has famously said he thinks she could make it and a lot of other people in similar spots think so as well. There’s enough conflicting opinions that it seems feasible, at least, that 135 seems possible. She’s not a large woman when you see her in the flesh; she’s proportionally built but isn’t a women’s bodybuilder type. So while her doctor claims it wouldn’t be medically advisable there’s enough evidence outside of it that 135 could happen, too. I’m not a medical doctor so I can’t say for sure but enough people on both sides have chimed in that it makes that particular conversation difficult unless you have an M.D to your name and access to her full medical chart.
There’s too much money to be made but Cyborg and Rousey are both posturin right now, nothing moreg. Rousey wants this as advantageous for her as possible and Cyborg has a hard time making 145 as is. Right now this is just posturing as both sides are trolling the MMA media and fans for a reaction and Zuffa for more money to make it happen.