Morning Report: Ronda Rousey turns on the charm for Jimmy Kimmel

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A rough weekend behind her, UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey performed some masterful damage control Monday night appearing on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live. Rousey was slammed this weekend by media and fans alike for her cringeworthy interviews alongside rival Miesha Tate following Saturday night's Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale broadcast. Overshadowing much of the night's action, her curt responses to basic questions mixed with open hostility towards Tate made Rousey appear as if she'd prefer to be anywhere else. As if you needed any more of a clue she didn't want to there, she told the interviewers.

To her credit, Rousey brought her A game to late night. While most of her prescribed anecdotes were covered on a 2011 podcast with Joe Rogan, Rousey was holding court over the sea of midwestern tourists by the segment's midpoint. Between tales of a wacky mom and beating up rude strangers at the movies, you'd hardly believe you were watching the same person. More importantly for the UFC, it instills faith that her behavior this weekend wasn't a preview of things to come.

Often compared to her controversial cohorts in the Diaz brothers, Saturday night perfectly illustrated why being dysfunctional doesn't mean not playing ball. Fans were enamored with headliner Nate Diaz' post-fight interview with commentator Jon Anik, hanging on every jumbled exclamation. Diaz left hardcores wanting more while creating fans out of casual viewers. Rousey likely did neither Saturday night. On an evening meant to capstone a significant step forward for women's MMA, Rousey remarked she hadn't bothered to watch a minute of the season. While saying she was glad these female fighters were given a platform, it seemed hollow given she'd all but avoided watching it herself, making it more about her.

The title bout with Miesha Tate at December's UFC 168 will certainly weigh heavy, but it's these such instances that go a long way in the battle for hearts and minds. Not everyone is given the benefit of crafting their legacy solely inside the cage, just ask Jon Jones. Unless Rousey intends on being a 'real' career heel, she should continue to show us all how affable and charming she is.

You can watch Part 2 here.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

It's Tuesday, so make sure to check out the MMA Hour featuring former UFC fighter Brian Melancon, Luke Barnatt, Paul Daley, Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp, Miriam Nakamoto, Forrest Griffin and the legendary "Judo" Gene LeBell.

To be a judge. UFC hall of famer Forrest Griffin believes former fighters would be too biased to judge MMA contests. "I don't care who you are. Me and Matt Hughes are not going to see eye-to-eye if a kickboxer fights a wrestler."

Fortunes change for five. Dave Meltzer tells us where Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard and even Ronda Rousey go from here following Saturday's UFC event.

Signal to noise. Luke Thomas details the best and worst of all that was the TUF 18 Finale.

Not sorry. Dana White refutes claims he called Georges St-Pierre to apologize for his post-fight comments at UFC 167. "I had heard that, but no, that's not true. I have not watched the fight yet. I still haven't watched the fight."

Going global. The UFC has plans for a new online subscription service to broadcast more events in 2014.

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MEDIA STEW

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UFC on FOX 9: Road to the Octagon.

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Great mini doc on 'Judo' Gene LeBell.

Also, catch LeBell on Rogan's latest podcast.

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Paul Daley Prepares for BAMMA 14.

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Inside MMA's Prime Cuts 2013.

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Bruce Buffer with a great take on doing media.

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Action from Rage in the Cage 3:

Fox Hackett vs. Ollie Morris. (skip to 2:00 for start, 8:00 for finish)

Jim Ratcliffe vs. Dan Stoddard.

Danny Cullen vs. Ross Jones.

Craig Young vs. Dom McDermott (11:30 for finish)

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Kendale Young vs. Brandon Grimmett.

(via r/MMA)

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TWEETS

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Very coy.

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Green?

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I'd watch.

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Get well soon.

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Before the rubber match?

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Sorry to hear.

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Tate on the mic.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Dec. 2 2013)

Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Gaethje at WSOF 8

Cody Bollinger vs. Tyson Nam at WSOF 8

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Diehard-mmafan.

If you're going to retire, please, just give us one more fight George

By Diehard-mmafanCan you imagine what it would of been like if Anderson Silva would of retired before having his re-match with Chael Sonnen at UFC 148? or how about if Frankie Edgar retired from the sport without having a re-match with Gray Maynard after their fight went to a draw? What if Jon Jones opts to move to heavyweight before ever having a re-match with Alexander Gustaffson

How would these career decisions affect how these fighters are remembered if these fighters had took the route I just mentioned above? My hypothesis is, not very well.

Johnny Hendricks did what seemed impossible. Ever since George St. Pierre took back the belt from Matt Serra, George had looked unstoppable. Most opponents that George has faced weren't even able to win one round in their fights with George (with the exeption of Shields and Condit). Nobody has looked that good against George St. Pierre during his dominant title reign. NOBODY

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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