What is there left to say about Ronda Rousey that hasn't already been said? Nine combined amateur and professional fights. Nine first-round armbars. That about sums it up.
At some point, something like this starts to seem implausibly scripted, even if we know it's not. It's like watching someone exploit a bug in a video game over and over again. They're just sitting there giggling to themselves, the CPU flailing away helplessly, and you can't help but shoot them a few sideways, incredulous glances. ‘Oh crap, you used the armbar glitch again. I swear, is this even fun for you??'
Only this is real, it's unbelievable theater, and there's no telling where exactly the ceiling is for all this hype.
It's fair to wonder how big Strikeforce's creation can actually get before it implodes under its own weight. But then again, that we're even having this conversation means something. Back in the old days no one could've foreseen a night that featured a smorgasbord of genuine, jump-out-of-your-seat moments, and even saw the Skittles guy's creepy uncle posing as a ref, yet the two biggest stars -- the two athletes that carried the night -- were women. Because for all of Rousey's incomparable greatness, Miesha Tate clawing her way to one of the most dramatic victories of 2012 may have been just as remarkable a sight.
So if we're trying to summarize the weekend, it's probably best to keep it simple: Another Strikeforce event, another golden opportunity for the ladies to steal the show, another astonishing success. Just like last time. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this is starting to look like a pattern.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Rousey shines in first title defense. Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey did it again, submitting Sarah Kaufman via first-round armbar just 54 seconds into her inaugural title defense. For more on Rousey's victory, check out reaction from the pros, video highlights, and footage from the post-fight presser.
Cyborg rejects Rousey's challenge. Following her title defense, Ronda Rousey issued a direct challenge to former Strikeforce featherweight champion Cris Cyborg to cut down to 135 pounds and meet her in a superfight. Cyborg, however, made it clear she does not intend to leave the 145-pound division, and instead would wait for Zuffa to release her from her contract.
Tate guts out comeback, shuns title shot. Miesha Tate recovered from a jarring head kick to storm back and submit Julie Kedzie via third-round armbar in one of the year's most electrifying fights. Afterward, Tate was refreshingly honest, admitting she was not happy with her performance and did not feel like she deserved a title shot.
Jones doesn't want Machida, Sonnen goads feud. UFC light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones was surprisingly candid in admitting he didn't want to rematch Lyoto Machida because their first fight was Jones' lowest pay-per-view draw of 2011 (via ESPN). Meanwhile, a much bigger draw, perennial trash-talker Chael Sonnen, continued to prod and poke the young champion over Twitter.
Jacare bulldozes towards title rematch. Submission ace Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza dropped Derek Brunson just 41 seconds into the first round to score the first KO of his career and set up a potential rematch with Luke Rockhold for the Strikeforce middleweight belt.
Ronda Rousey did it again, y'all. Simply incredible.
If you needed any further proof of Miesha Tate's heart, Saturday night ended the discussion. That woman is a warrior in every sense of the word.
To quote the great John Cleese, and now for something completely different. Like, say, Anderson Silva belting out Michael Jackson tunes in his car. (Don't worry, there's plenty more where this came from.)
Two takeaways from this UFC champions' roundtable: 1.) Royce Gracie is right on the money when it comes to training, and, 2.) Tito worked hard, you guys.
ADD ANOTHER ARM TO THE COLLECTION
These girls can't deal with— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) August 19, 2012
Josh Barnett (@JoshLBarnett) August 19, 2012
CYBORG, STRAIGHT FROM GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Guys can not believe this fight will happen. My class has no more. I'm waiting for my liberation from the UFC...— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) August 19, 2012
Do not stay sad. God knows all things. Surely at some event that will fight Have my category.— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) August 19, 2012
Galera today in the fight One Person Event sent me draws, because I am suspended. Funny that in Brazil. I saw all fights. Discrimination?— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) August 19, 2012
Never fought to humiliate anyone. Where did my best and win come because God allowed it.— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) August 19, 2012
. A fight with anyone, anywhere. So I want to be respected as everyone wants to be.— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) August 19, 2012
Guys I have not changed my weight. I started where I am ...— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) August 19, 2012
THE NEWEST BLACKZILIAN
Diner with my new Blackzillian teammate and old-Idol Vitor Belfort.Welcome Vitor! twitter.com/Alistairoveree…— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) August 18, 2012
You can judge me if you want, hate me if you want, say anything you want. This is Amareca, you have rights. Just don't Harm anyone.— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
Respect the rights of free speech, and also recognize that speech is just that, speech, if you allow it to affect you, it's your own fault.— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
I have walked down much harder roads than this, many times before. I don't want you to waste thumb energy protecting me, or bashing me.— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
Ready for your lesson My former disciple and BFF, the creature formerly known as— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
@fonzoblunt now and forever after to be referred to as cont
"Bacteria," the lowest form of organic life. An single celled organism that only gets life from destroying the life of another organism cont— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
Yes— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
@fonzoblunt i invite you into my home, accepted you, let you have anything you wanted, but you could not fight the greed. The fear cont
the fear of not having enough, not being famous enough, not getting what you feel you are ENTITLED to,— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
@fonzoblunt so you try and wreck cont
what I have built... From the street up, mistaking my kindness for stupidity, unaware of the all-seeing eyes that reside In my home cont— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
I am not mad at you,— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
@fonzoblunt you have taught me a valuble lesson, and I thank you for the experience- you will still be punished cont
but not in the form of me pressing charges, or beating you, no.— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
@fonzoblunt you are banished from the monkeys, never to return again, cont
your journey is your own, and the one you walk now is a sad one, littered with hurt feelings and pain to those you interact with, cont— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
i feel sad for you, but I can no longer trust you to be around me, or anyone in my family,— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
@fonzoblunt I wish you luck on your journey cont
I hope that one day you find true joy and acceptance of who you are, despite the restrictions society places on you, and you learn cont— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
Apologies if that clogged your feed. Unfollow if you must, just needed to type. I love any and all of you, even if you think you hate me.— Jason Mayhem Miller (@mayhemmiller) August 19, 2012
CHAEL NEVER SLEEPS
NOT FALLING FOR IT THIS TIME
Keeping my eyes on the legend— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) August 20, 2012
Announced over the weeked (Friday, August 17, 2012 - Sunday, August 19, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is a stat lover's dream, courtesy of Moper: A Statistical Look at the Health of the Light Heavyweight Division
Chart 1 comprises three graphs: the average age of the top 25 fighters, the average age of the top 10 fighters, and the average age of the top 11-25 fighters. As this and other charts show, the light heavyweight division is "upside down" during the first half of 2009: the Top 10 contains well-worn fighters who are about to be heaved into the lower ranks. From March 2009 (the nadir of Top 11-25 graph) to July 2009, the Top 10 loses--and the Top 11-25 absorbs--Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, and Renato Sobral. The overall aging of the Top 25 is evidenced by the blue trend line; the fighters in the Top 11-25 are primarily responsible for this shift.
Chart 2 comprises three graphs: the average number of bouts fought by a top 25 fighter, the average number of bouts fought by a top 10 fighter, and the average number of bouts fought by a top 11-25 fighter. As they fluctuate around the blue line, one can easily see the inverse correlation between the Top 10 and Top 11-25 data sets (i.e., the mirror-image effect). This is due to the fact that, when rankings change, fighters swap places with members of the other set. From mid-2009 onwards, the top ten fighters do not appear to have significantly more career bouts (on average) than the top 11-25 fighters; the subsequent chart, however, shows that top 10 competitors spend more time in the cage.
Much more after the jump.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.