Article by Dave Walsh
This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen the face of Women’s MMA get the attention of the world outside of MMA, and something tells me that this won’t be the last, but Ronda Rousey and Hollywood seem to be cozying up right now. At this point it looks like the inevitable will happen in that the film industry will fall in love with Ronda Rousey, or at least see something in her and want to milk her for all that she is worth. I mean, the film industry already got one female wonderchick out of former EliteXC star Gina Carano and by all measurements Rousey has a bigger platform in the UFC to raise her star power up.
The question that a lot of people are asking right now is can the UFC keep their grasp on Rousey, or will she jump ship just like Gina Carano did when bigger and better roles in Hollywood came knocking? For Carano, it made perfect sense. She had done some work outside of MMA and then her tough loss to Cris Cyborg just made it all-that-much easier for Carano to take a starring role in Soderbergh’s Haywire. The media wasn’t hyper-focusing on the minutiae of her weight fluctuations, she didn’t have to cut to any sort of weight for a film and her win-loss record didn’t matter in Hollywood, either. She was a bad ass chick to everyone and was learning the ropes of a new profession.
For Rousey is seems like competition is in her blood, as she was an Olympian, much like her mother, and has been competing her whole life. The reality is, though, that it won’t last forever. She won’t be able to be a fighter for her whole life and that the money in the UFC is good, but not great. Even if Hollywood is in a bit of a slump, the money and schedule of working on a major motion picture makes for an easier life than being the UFC’s go-to girl for everything. While Carano’s film career is still not matured that much, she is still getting decent roles (Fast and Furious 6) and has made no effort to even consider returning to MMA. Rousey has gotten a lot more attention than Carano ever got and would most likely see bigger and better roles.
As we’ve seen in the past, the UFC and Dana White like to have a tight grasp on what goes on with their athletes and most importantly their stars. If they had just let Rampage Jackson do The A-Team without making such a big deal about it there would still be a good relationship between the two parties and both would be making money off of Rampage’s acting career, which seems like a smarter move than trying to sell PPVs with him, like they were trying to do. Rampage Jackson was just proof that the UFC doesn’t know what to do with one of their fighters when they still have some star power but aren’t able to perform in the ring like they used to. For someone like Rousey it will be interesting to see how everything turns out, as she will only get offered more roles that pay better money and a fighting career might not seem as attractive to her.
UFC has the opportunity to extend its brand beyond its few hundred thousand PPV buyers and the million people that will watch whatever they put on cable television with Rousey, or they could just let her slip right through their fingers. The choice is theirs.