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Ronda Rousey rips 'mama's basement blogger' for asking whether UFC 184 could hurt women's MMA

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Nearly two years after Ronda Rousey smashed down the door for women in the UFC, it's easy to call the experiment a booming success. With a crossover appeal that few fighters share, and a streak of electric title defenses that started with her seminal win over Liz Carmouche on pay-per-view, Rousey has risen to not only become one of the UFC's biggest stars, but an effective draw as well, co-headlining two of 2014's most successful UFC pay-per-views and generating solid buyrates for each of the two events she headlined, despite the latter of them, UFC 170, being ravaged with injuries.

But Rousey is not alone. Her success, along with the overwhelming popularity of the women in general, led the UFC to last year introduce a brand new division into the promotion, the strawweights, and feature them exclusively on the UFC's flagship reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. Now women are a common sight on most UFC cards -- an altogether incredible reversal from the struggling state that WMMA existed in as recent as a few years ago.

The progress is something Rousey can be proud of, as her initial goal -- ensuring the viability of women in the UFC, both with and without her presence -- has effectively been accomplished. Yet still those doubts persist on the fringes of outsider media, and occasionally they rear their head, as they did Wednesday when Rousey was asked a question on UFC 184's media conference call by a reporter from a conservative news outlet about whether the event -- which is the first UFC pay-per-view to be headlined and co-headlined exclusively by women -- could actually damage the women's cause because pay-per-view buys may suffer without the men's presence.

"Well I think it's a great opportunity to be able to prove something," Rousey responded. "But otherwise, you know, it is what it is. There was 46 UFC events last year. I think that's something like 20 to 30 percent more than they ever did the year before that.

"There's a lot of factors that affect pay-per-view. But you know what, I think that this card is going to perform extremely well, and compared to the guys, I think it's going to hang in there and be respectable, and that's why they have enough faith to put us in there. The UFC has been around for more than 20 years. They know how business works and they're not going to put together a card like this if they think it's going to fail."

Rousey's UFC 184 dance partner, undefeated number-one contender Cat Zingano, was quick to agree, refuting the reporter's notion that an all-women quartet atop the pay-per-view could actually harm what progress has already been made for gender equality within the sport.

"Us women, we go out there and we've already proven enough," Zingano said. "Women's MMA has come a really long way, and in my opinion, just from the people I talk to or the responses that I get, or the responses that I see from multiple people just everywhere, people look forward to us fighting. They get excited.

"You can have a fight card full of male fights, but yet when that women's fight comes on, that's what people want. They're super excited by it. So I have to agree. I think the UFC was smart with the choice that they're making, and all of us girls are going to go out there and do what we do and prove why we're out there. It'll be exciting."

These kinds of questions about the perceived frailty of WMMA have persisted for years, hounding Rousey ever since she was first introduced as UFC bantamweight champion in a Dec. 2012 press conference in Seattle prior to UFC on FOX 5. They've grown fewer in number as the women have proven themselves time and time again, often putting on thrilling performances and providing a welcome change of pace from the occasional cookie-cutter male bouts that litter the UFC's bloated schedule.

Still they arise though, and if only for this one time, Rousey's frustration showed through.

"You even asking the question, it really proves that there ain't equality for women yet," Rousey said. "If they put up a men's 125-pound main and co-main event, people wouldn't be asking the question, ‘Oh, if this doesn't sell very well, we might just get rid of the whole men's division.' Why are we still even asking this question? Do you remember the last time you asked that question to a guy?

"You know what, lighter divisions are a turn off for some people, but you don't ask them about that. Like, ‘Oh, don't people just want to see heavyweights?' Your kind of opinion is the thing that we're trying to change. You are what we need to change about this culture."

Strong words, but that wasn't the end of it. The subject arose again at a media scrum later in the day in California, and having had time to let the question simmer, Rousey didn't spare her thoughts.

"That's the difference between a journalist and a mama's basement blogger," the UFC champ said. "It's not trying to get any actual information and report the news, it's just trying to get a rise out of people, which is really unprofessional.

"I know what a journalist is supposed to look like and supposed to behave and that guy wasn't it. But whatever. Not everybody can be good at their job."

Additional reporting done by's Marc Raimondi.

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