Thoughts from Maureen
Thoughts from a Female Professional Boxer on Holly Holm's Defeat of Ronda Rousey
By Maureen Shea
What an amazing night of fights! So proud of my friend Valerie Letourneau, who gave an excellent performance against the champion in what I would consider the fight of the night.
I want to address some things that have been on my mind regarding Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, boxing and MMA.
It's difficult for me to see all of the hate on social media towards Ronda right now.
As a fighter, I know the preparation that goes into a fight. I know about the literal blood, sweat and tears that goes into a fight camp. I know about the days when nothing seems to come together, yet we have to control the frustration and keep grinding. What people see on TV, is one night out of weeks of preparation. Ronda's job as a fighter puts herself in a position that most people spend their lives trying to avoid. Seeing the hate pour from the salty finger tips of keyboard warriors who have never, and may never set foot in a ring or in cage, is so frustrating. All fighters, love them or hate them, deserve respect for getting in that cage, especially one who has been so dominating.
I can see why seeing this loss is so sweet for some people. Ronda's boastful attitude can rub people the wrong way if you don't understand it. That supreme confidence got her to where she is: Arguably, the biggest star in combat sports and certainly the highest paid fighter in MMA. Against Holly though, that confidence is what put her in a position where she was easily being outclassed from start to finish. Her desire to show the world that she's more than just arm bars and judo throws is what got her in a position where she looked like a fish out of water and ultimately led to her being on the receiving end of a head kick that put her to sleep. It was a bold decision that didn't pan out for Ronda and her team, but they gave it a shot.
Holly put on an absolutely stellar performance. She and her team put together the perfect game plan and Holly executed it precisely. In the same way every opponent knew Ronda's game plan but still couldn't stop the arm bar, everyone knew Holly's game plan was to stay on the outside, be patient, pick her shots and avoid the clinch. It was a plan in for which Ronda had no answer. Holly, being a former world champion boxer and champion kickboxer, had the tools necessary to carry out this plan.
I want to make something clear though. This is not boxing versus MMA. Holly is no longer a boxer. She's an MMA fighter with a boxing back ground and she's not the first. Plenty of pro and amateur boxers have tried their hand at MMA and haven't faired as well as Holly. There are so many additional aspects of MMA compared to strictly boxing or even kick boxing that are difficult to train for which is why Holly's performance was so outstanding. She was able to stuff a take down, avoid one altogether and even score one of her own.
If the limelight of Ring Magazine and boxing promotors, like Oscar De La Hoya deserve to be shined on a female and combat sports, it should be Holly Holm. She’s a woman who captured world championship boxing titles in addition to her kick boxing title. She’s also a woman who transferred to MMA late (in a fighters life) and achieved some highlight reel worthy knock outs while doing so. Not that Ronda doesn't deserve the attention she's been receiving but, putting an MMA fighter on the cover of a boxing magazine when there is a former boxer with an undefeated MMA record about to challenge the cover girl for her title, just seems wrong.
However, as a fellow female in combat sports, I owe Ronda my gratitude. Even more so to Dana White, who eventually had the vision to get behind females in MMA. Without them, females in combat sports might still be viewed as a side show, a spectacle. Dana had the vision to promote females who were an untapped resource for so long.
I have been boxing competitively for 14 years. I love my sport and I don't plan to make a switch but I do hope these boxing promoters and television networks can get with the times and start promoting us women, the way the UFC has. Without the promise of equal pay or televised bouts, I am still committed to the sport that I love and it’s only my love for the sport that keeps me in it. With no incentive for U.S. amateur female boxers to turn pro, professional female boxing in the US will not grow or evolve without the support of major network and promotional support.