Asked in an interview earlier this week with CBS Sports whether Rousey’s absence, and the fact women’s mixed martial arts is currently driven by narratives that have nothing to do with her, is good for the sport, Tate sounded eager and excited to give an answer.
“And I think having the belt change a couple times is the best thing that could have happened. Instead of singling out one female that has to carry the entire sport, we have to disperse and make more stars, which helps legitimize the sport of women’s MMA.”.
In Holm’s first title defense at UFC 196, it was Tate who made sure the women’s bantamweight title again changed hands.
Still, the fact that UFC 200’s top fight features two women – neither named Ronda Rousey – speaks to a sea change.
The only time, outside UFC 200 this weekend, that women’s sports otherwise get top billing is the Olympics.
That’s mostly amateur sports, every two years, and due as much to nationalism as sporting fervor.
On the surface, UFC does not seem like the place for the women to make a major breakthrough.
Women can compete in these spheres, of course, but fans embracing them doing so is a whole other thing.
Now atop the UFC 200 card, a great fight – another thrilling match, regardless of who actually wins – will further cement women’s MMA as a crucial and captivating part of one of the country’s fastest growing sports.