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Ronda Rousey hits Liz Carmouche during their historic UFC Bantamweight Title fight at Honda Center in Anaheim, California last weekend. Photograph: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Compiled by MARY HANNIGAN
Women grapple with the ultimate issue
It was back in 2000 that Anita DeFrantz, the first female vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, visited Dublin for a conference on women in sport, and on being asked if she approved of women’s boxing, those being the days before it had been included in the Olympics, she replied: “If women want to box then no one should stop them . . . I just thought they had more sense.”
Quite what she’d make of Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey and Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche, then, heaven knows, the pair making “history” last weekend when they became the first women to take part in an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout.
(It took a while to cop on to Girl-Rilla, until reading Carmouche say she fights like, well, “a mini gorilla”).
A lively affair in their Californian cage it was too, in front of a crowd of 15,000, judging by AP’s account of the contest (this might be where DeFrantz pours herself a stiff gin): “Carmouche had Rousey in trouble early, nearly landing a rear naked choke while clinging to Rousey’s back . . . Rousey barely escaped the chokehold by getting her chin and mouth underneath Carmouche’s arm . . . She gradually imposed her will on the former Marine after that, rolling her across the canvas and finally getting side control on Carmouche before patiently separating her arms to land an armbar.”
Bronze in Beijing
Rousey, apparently, is no stranger to armbars, perfecting the skill in her judo days – she won bronze in Beijing – dislocating two opponents’ elbows along the way. (As armbar experts and Wikipedia-readers know, “by holding the opponent’s wrist to the attacker’s chest with the pinky finger on the sternum and the thumb facing up, the practitioner can easily extend the opponent’s arm and hyperextend the opponent’s elbow”).
Rousey triumphed, then, with 11 seconds left in the first round, although she conceded after that Carmouche had given her quite a scare.
“That was pretty tight, that neck crank. She had the choke across my mouth and her forearm was pushing against my teeth. That can’t have been any more fun for her than it was for me. Crazy sport we’re in, huh?”
Crazy, perhaps, but profitable too. Rousey collected $90,000 for her troubles, still less than four of the male fighters on the card, but that figure could rise once pay-per-view sales are taken in account – and they, reported the Los Angeles Times, “were assessed as 40 per cent better than the UFC’s Super Bowl weekend card”.
Including replays, sales could reach 500,000 – at $44.99 per-view.
(Note: Carmouche picked up $12,000, which mightn’t sound bad for less than one round’s work, but a pittance considering the arm-barring).