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Chael Sonnen: Ronda Rousey is 'created by the media'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Chael Sonnen thinks Ronda Rousey's dominance was manufactured and everyone fell for it. Including himself.

"That division is still so shallow and so new and when the media got behind it, there was so much hype and belief," Sonnen said on ESPN Radio's "The Dan Lebatard Show" on Wednesday. "It's like anything else -- and Dan, I'm not above this, either -- when you hear something enough times, you start to think that it's real."

Sonnen admitted to falling into the same trap. He threw cold water on Holly Holm's boxing background on The MMA Hour last month, saying her titles were not legitimate. Sonnen quipped that he didn't even know if Holm could outstrike Rousey.

By now, everyone knows what happened Saturday night. Holm battered and bruised Rousey in the first round with boxing and finished her in the second via a vicious head kick. Rousey was knocked out cold in the main event of UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia in front of more than 56,000 fans.

"Things should become clear -- after you see them," Sonnen said. "I wasn't good at predicting this one, either. The thing with Ronda is she is created by the media. That was a media sensation. You did have a lot of fighters coming out and saying, 'I want a Ronda Rousey technique video, because I want to learn those skills.' She has great skills, but so does everybody else on the roster."

Sonnen thinks Rousey's loss "probably hurts things" long term when it comes to UFC pay-per-view sales and the state of women's MMA. However, in the short term, the promotion is looking at a windfall for the rematch.

"When Dana White, our president, sinks his teeth into this and gets ready for a rematch, it's going to be huge," Sonnen said. "It just will. I don't think the reality of the outcome is going to be anything different than it was Saturday. That wasn't a close match. That wasn't a competitive match. That was a one-sided beating. But, as for the short term, they will do huge numbers for part two. Long term, every fighter's career comes to an end. We thought that Ronda's reign was going to be much longer than this."

If Rousey loses the rematch -- and Sonnen thinks she will -- it'll be a bummer for the UFC, he said. Rousey is the promotion's most transcendent star. No one has ever crossed over more into the mainstream. Rousey is a bonafide worldwide celebrity unlike any MMA fighter before her.

"I think that when one star goes out, another one is born," Sonnen said. "I don't think that Holly Holm -- as great as she is physically -- I don't think she's going to be able to transcend cultures like Ronda did. Ronda was a very unique personality. She's very likeable, she's very marketable. She does and says the right things. Holly is just a really kind and sweet person that's a really good fighter. I think yeah, you are going to lose a little momentum."

How much will that knock down the UFC, though? Sonnen doesn't think very much.

"We had Brock Lesnar," he said. "He's a once-in-a-lifetime attraction and nobody has sold as well as Brock has. But boy, the company is still worth billions and billions of dollars, even without him."