Ronda Rousey on TUF: The Ultimate Sell-Out?

At UFC 158 on Saturday, Dana White announced that female bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey would be a coach on the eighteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite the winner of the upcoming Miesha Tate/Cat Zingano bout, and in addition, the TUF House would be packed with both male and female competitors. As Joe Rogan so succinctly put it, “That sounds ridiculous.” But it’s happening, so for this week’s edition of Rebellion Roundup, I asked the team their thoughts in the matter. Do they like the idea of Rousey coaching a house full of men and women? Some do.

Others, not so much.

 

Mike Drahota, MMAFrenzy:

Ronda Rousey coaching TUF with a mixed bag of male and female contestants comes off as complete bullshit to me. I understand that you need a certain amount of hype to get the ball rolling for women in the UFC, but is this the best way to go about it? It seems like they’re trying to make their own version of The Real Word: UFC. TUF ratings may be on the downward slide, but creating a freak show is not the answer to that problem. Either Miesha Tate or Cat Zingano will coach opposite Rousey based on their TUF Finale bout this April. They’ll be TUF coaches after only one fight in the UFC. I just don’t agree with the show being anything more than a drama-filled money grab. It simply screams illegitimacy, and definitely compromises the respect of martial arts for a chance at good television ratings.

 

Brendhan Conlan, FiveOuncesofPain and Fighters.com:

The UFC makes a lot of bone-headed decisions but this isn’t one of them. Not only does it give female fighters a platform to showcase their skills, deepening the bantamweight division in the process as well, but it also injects a little excitement into an otherwise stale product. Additionally, the move is destined to draw new viewers who show up for the drama created by men/women living in the same house and stay because they realize MMA is a tremendous sport peppered with interesting personalities.

 

Chris Leslie, MMAFrenzy:

As a longtime proponent of WMMA, I was excited to hear that Rousey would coach and that there would be female fighters on TUF. However, when Dana White mentioned there would be male bantamweights in the house as well, I could not help but be disappointed. The look on Joe Rogan’s face said it all. “Did you get in my stash, Dana?” I know the UFC is in a war with Viacom, but they did not have to turn TUF into a half-assed version of Jersey Shore/Real World to fight it. There is so much potential for disaster here with potential fights and other drama that usually gets annoying when it is only guys in the house. This is a ratings grab by Fox unfortunately, and quite frankly, it is bullshit.

 

Dana Becker, FightLine and MMAConvert:

It’s all about ratings, baby! Why do you think there were a hundred seasons of The Real World? Hell, I’m actually surprised it has taken the UFC this long to bring females into a house with amped-up, hot-headed male fighters. Will there be the obvious Jersey Shore fights between men and women? Yep! Will it drive the ratings? Yep. Is it the worse thing possible for TUF? Yep. So, why not do it, right?

 

Joe Lisnow, FightLine:

 

Ronda Rousey coaching serves two major points. The UFC is trying to keep The Ultimate ratings from dropping, and they’re looking to expose more women to the sport as they seek to add more names. It’ll probably do decent numbers, similar to the current season, but it depends on who the other coach is. Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano have expressed disdain towards Rousey, but the Tate feud is already there and a nasty one it is. Now, featuring women on the show is great and there’s no better way to introduce a new dynamic since women still believe they need to prove their place in the sport. Truthfully, women have already shown they’re here to stay, since they always deliver more exciting fights than the males. As for mixing male and female fighters on TUF, that sounds like lots of drunken drama. Maybe the UFC is starting to drift into MTV’s The Real World. Ultimately, Rousey coaching TUF works, but it would be better with an all-female cast to strengthen the division.

 

Sam Genovese, MMAConvert:

Time to get ready for this season of Real World: TUF. Which fighters will become a couple? Will this be the first season of TUF where a fighter actually gets pregnant in the house? Tune in to find out! This season is really banking on train-wreck television to garner ratings. I’ll watch it, hell, a lot of people are going to watch it. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Sure, watching horned up low-level fighters waste their time trying to hook up with their meathead counterparts will be entertaining TV, but it certainly won’t be good TV. Still, I guess the UFC has outsmarted all of us, considering I hate the idea but I am still going to watch.

 

Sean Beanblossom, MMALinker:

The UFC is the front-runner in the ongoing race to make MMA a world-wide spectator sport. When it comes to making sure that their product, and the sport itself, is widely broadcasted and is constantly mainstreamed, diverse measures of exploitation are needed to ensure expansion. Simply meaning, fight organizations need to do more than just promote fights to keep limelight status and stay relevant in the world of sports. The Ultimate Fighter is the prime broadcasting experience to keep viewers attentive to things inside and outside of the cage. Choosing Ronda Rousey to coach TUF, and bringing female and male fighters together to live in a house, is the perfect way to attract fans who appreciate the excitement of reality television and drama. Relationships mixed with fighting will be just another branch off the tree of MMA expansion in terms of versatile publicity attempts. Smart move for the UFC. Expect TUF ratings to flourish.

 

Jake Berezansky, MMAConvert:

It’s a stupid show with an old and drawn out format. What the hell am I watching? MTV Road Rules vs. MTV Real World? I’m no fan of the show in general, but this is purely a publicity stunt, and the saddest part is it’ll work. Idiots will tune in to see scripted drama, so the ratings won’t dip too low. The show was great when the UFC needed it, but when I pray to the MMA Gods at night, I pray this show gets shit canned, and we never need to see a highlight of “Rampage” ripping a cardboard door down or a three-second clip of ambulance lights promoting a crap reality TV show ever again.

 

Tim Thompson, MMALinker:

Ronda Rousey coaching season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter can be described as nothing but a brilliant move by UFC president Dana White. Rousey is extremely talented, very outspoken, and undoubtedly a sex symbol after her recent pictures for ESPN the magazine. She was brought in to the organization as a champion, faced adversity in her fight with Liz Carmouche, and still managed to finish with her vintage first round armbar. The time is now for women’s MMA to be pushed into the spotlight and it is undeniable the TUF ratings will benefit by having her on the show week after week. As long as they can showcase some exciting fights in the house, there is no reason that this won’t be a building block to another huge expansion for the UFC.

 

Miguel Barragan, Fighters.com and FightLine:

The next season of The Ultimate Fighter featuring both men and women living in the same home can be summed up in one word: desperate. This reeks of desperation, desperation for ratings. Forget who’s coaching, I could care less who’s chosen as coaches. To be frank, I don’t even tune in for the show until the last half hour to fifteen minutes to catch the fight at the end of each episode because the drama in the house has gotten so staged and just plain pathetic. The show used to be about finding young prospects to develop into refined mixed martial artists. Now it’s been reduced to a house full of douchebags who happen to fight, bottom line. Chael Sonnen and Kenny Florian blatantly struggled to show their supposed enthusiasm without blurting something politically incorrect. It is a well-known fact that the UFC supplies and provides alcohol for TUFers while in the home. I can only hope for the sake of these TUFers lives that it is removed this season. I can absolutely understand and support training alongside women – I do it, everyone who’s trained has done it. Now living together? That’s just unacceptable. It’s bad enough that some of these young men are banned from seeing their families, wives, girlfriends and children. Now they will be forced to live with other most likely attractive and fit women? How are the girlfriends and wives of the male TUFers going to feel about that? And that’s just the men, how about the women who have husbands, boyfriends and children of their own? It’s an obvious and pitiful attempt to embark into another key demographic, young gullible women who watch E!, TMZ, Jeresy Shore, etc. This next season should be re-named The Ultimate Homewrecker.

 

Casey Hodgin, MMALinker:

I definitely think they’re trying to milk for attention! Yes, I felt that an all-women TUF was inevitable”¦ but why co-ed? I feel that the addition of men into the mix was a last-second attempt to “vamp” up the scheme to draw more attention. I’ll watch it regardless, but it has some high risks. I think, if approached with the same mentality as this current TUF is (with more emphasis on the competition and “fighting” drama, rather than partying, getting drunk, and “personal” drama) it could be fine and could turn out really well. But that’s a big IF.

 

Ben Bieker, CagedInsider:

It is amazing that the sex of the fighter should make any difference on what should happen in the house. As we have seen with the current season of TUF, the executives at FOX are putting more on the emphasis of what the fighters’ home lives, inspirations, and passions are instead of the drunken escapades that ensued on the first 16 seasons. In fact, have we even seen crazy pranks or drunken people this season? No, the worst it got was a rap battle and a couple of fight callouts. Of course there will always be the fighter that is there more for reality show infamy than a career in the UFC, but this is the biggest opportunity that most of these fighters will ever get in their professional MMA careers. People should be worrying less about sex, pregnancies, and shenanigans, and worry more about giving female fighters the respect they deserve for how far they have come.

 

John Petit, Fighters.com:

The UFC is in the fight/pay-per-view business, and they are partnered with a company (FOX) that is in the ratings business. Ronda Rousey is an extremely talented champion that garners media attention from around the world. The decision to make her a TUF coach is a no brainer, and is really that simple. The peculiar part is that the UFC is making Rousey a coach over women in the 135 pound division that is in its infancy stages. Also important to mention is the fact that by the time the fighters fight to get into the house, they will have as many fights in the octagon as Rousey has. In a new division where you are literally one fight away from getting a title shot, this seems like a strange time to make Rousey a coach