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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm

I think it was in 1905 that a horse came from out of nowhere -- literally and figuratively, to upset the favorite for the Kentucky Derby.  The horse's name was Upset, and that's how, I recall, that verb (which had meant to turn over, as in to upset a table) became associate with the sports and political worlds.

Well, in the wee hours in Australia, for something called the UFC Women's Bantamweight title, a fighter named Holly Holm stunned the very much touted and acclaimed Ronda Rousey, perhaps the Babe Ruth of women's UFC or the Michael Jordan of it, or simply the Ronda Rousey of it, with a kick to the head in the second round that knocked Rousey out.  That Holm got out of the first half a minute let alone the first round probably gave her some Rocky-like satisfaction, and I wonder if she has her own significant other worthy of a "Yo Adrian" like shout when the fight concluded.

Everyone anointed Rousey.  One commentator on ESPN said we would never see another fighter like her ever.  We saw that fighter last night, in Holly Holm.  Does that make Holm the real Babe Ruth/Michael Jordan of women's UFC fighting?  Or does that mean that on a given day, everyone is beatable, including Ronda Rousey.

I recall when Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's record for the most hits in a Major League Baseball career, that the reporters asked him how it felt to have had more hits than anyone else.  Rose, unimpressed, said he would bet that if they checked, he probably made more outs than any other hitter too.  The reporters checked, and Rose was right.  Show me someone who has an unblemished record, and I'd offer that either they are truly great or that they haven't taken enough chances.  Data without context is dangerous, and it was dangerous to anoint Rousey as some uber-Super Hero without a deeper body of work.  That said, Rousey was the best and is great.  Certainly not the best ever.

On a weekend where major college football teams turned their worlds upside down with a lot of upsets, most of us thought that the one constant would be that Ronda Rousey would win last night.  She didn't.

Now the spotlight probably is on the New England Patriots, with the question looming -- can they be that good?


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