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Fightweets: Ronda Rousey, Bethe Correia, and crossing the line

Esther Lin

It wouldn't be a week in mixed martial arts if something distasteful didn't pop up and take the shine off a glowing success, would it?

So take a bow, Bethe Correia, for stealing the luster from last weekend's epic UFC 187 main card.

We talk about Correia's now-infamous "suicide" comment aimed at UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey; the light heavyweight picture in the wake of Daniel Cormier's UFC 187 victory over Anthony Johnson; and the usual hodgepodge of topics in the latest edition of Fightweets.

Correia's comments

@DCdoctr: It was tasteless, but would you say the comment is being overblown or misinterpreted?

@DCdoctr: I'm referring more to the comment's intention. Did Bethe know about Ronda's father? I'd like to think not.

First off, I'm going to acknowledge my bias on this one: As most of you reading this know, I lost both of my parents earlier this year. Neither was by suicide, as was the case with Rousey's father. But when you can relate to someone else's sense of loss on a visceral level, you're inclined to look at things in their favor when a controversy like this breaks out.

As is pretty plain by now, whether or not it was her intention, Correia went way over the line when she said she hoped Rousey didn't kill herself if she lost their fight at UFC 190. After the comment exploded, Correia apologized and claimed ignorance of the details of Rousey's father's suicide.

The latter point, to me, seems a bit of a stretch. The details of Rousey's life story have been repeated over, and over, and over, to the point we can all pretty much recite them off the top of our head.

In a subculture as tight-knit and insular as women's MMA, it strains belief to consider that a top contender to the championship held by the sport's biggest star would not know about one of the defining moments in her life story. Particularly when Correia seems familiar with other anecdotes from Rousey's book. But still, I'm sitting here in California and she's down there in Brazil, and theres a language gap, 's there's no way of saying for sure.

Yes, Rousey has said some pretty outrageous stuff in her day. But there are just some lines which should not be crossed, and this was one of them. The UFC presumably will have the good taste not to make this part of the fight's promotion, but it's out there and it's part of the story of the fight going forward, no matter how distasteful it may be.

@Dpop2: How do u think the ronda/bethe fight plays out? Bethe has to fight inside cuz of her lack of reach but that's in Ronda's zone

The temptation here is to assume the aggrieved Ronda is going to go out and deliver one of the most horrific beatings we've ever seen in the Octagon. After all, on the best of days, Rousey will use the slightest pretext to feel snubbed or slighted as a means of motivation, and Correia went out and gave her quite a valid excuse to deliver a beating.

But Rousey's already proven too smart to fall into such a trap. She has shown she possesses otherworldly powers of compartmentalization, and she's not about to get goaded into a brawl and risk letting the empire she's built over the past several years crumble. My best guess is another quick, business-like win for Rousey at UFC 190, followed by a dose of attitude similar to the second Miesha Tate post-fight.

Light heavyweights, post-UFC 187

@Mightyfar: DC/Bader-like confrontations at post-fight pressers: Conducive to building interest in potential matchups, or out of place?

Ehh, I'm fine with it as long as we understand it for what it is. Daniel Cormier's a huge pro wrestling fan, as he so amply demonstrated at Wrestlemania 31.

Have you noticed a pattern developing with Cormier's fight buildups, in which somehow, whenever DC is in a PPV-points position on the card, there's magically always a grudge involved? First there was the Patrick Cummins deal, then there was the very legit feud with Jon Jones, and now the beef with Bader. It's not a random string of coincidences. What most likely happened at the UFC 187 post-fight press conference was that Cormier knew exactly what he was doing, and Bader fell for his bait.

Whether DC's next fight is Jones or Bader, it's going to draw plenty of attention (and as an aside, keeping multiple options open seems to be a lesson DC learned from his former FOX Sports colleague, Chael Sonnen). As long as he doesn't take it too far, I say credit Cormier for being smart enough to keep his fights in the headlines in a cluttered event landscape.

@ElCujorino: What's next for LHW if Jon Jones isn't back in the next year? Division feels like the weakest in the UFC currently.

Look at it this way: Has the welterweight division been boring in the wake of Georges St-Pierre's sabbatical? Just the opposite. New faces have stepped up, there was an amazing first fight between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler, and Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald promises to be outstanding.

And while no doubt someone out there is scrolling down right now to leave an angry comment about how welterweight and light heavyweight aren't the same before bothering to read this paragraph, no, LHW does not have WW's depth. But there's still something to be said for putting a fresh coat of paint on the division.

DC vs. Rumble was an intriguing fight which delivered. We still haven't seen Cormier vs. Gustafsson. Or Bader, who is going to sink or swim once and for all, against any of the above. I think there's plenty to keep fans entertained while we await the eventual Jones-DC rematch (BTW, can we stop the revisionist history that Jones steamrolled DC? The fight was a tossup through three rounds and Jones pulled ahead in the championship rounds. That's far different, say, a Jones-Glover Teixeira-type rout).

Flyweight follies

@philmcmasters: Was this past weekend's underwhelming flyweight results the worst thing possible for the division moving forward?

No doubt the best thing that could have happened for the UFC would have been for John Dodson to look impressive against Zach Makovsky and build up a rematch with champion Demetrious Johnson. Didn't quite happen that way. Dodson looked rusty, and Makovsky is a tougher out than his UFC record indicates.

Joseph Benavidez, of course, beat John Moraga fairly handily. Joe B. is 10-0 in his last 10 against fighters not nicknamed "Mighty Mouse." He's also 22-0 in his career against fighters who aren't the best in their respective divisions' history, with his losses coming to DJ and Dominick Cruz. So what do you do in this situation? DJ has beaten Benavidez twice. He's beaten Dodson, who didn't exactly put on a performance that demanded a title shot. Johnson probably doesn't want to wait long enough to see Benavidez and Dodson fight and then take the winner. Maybe Cejudo looks so good at UFC 188, UFC rolls the dice on fast-tracking him into a shot.

Really, Phil, this was a long-winded way of saying yes, UFC 187's flyweight developments were probably the worst thing for the division going forward.

Getting impatient with Bellator

@DestroyKillBurn: Coker's Bellator started out promising, but has lost some steam. Should we be optimistic?

I can understand why it's come off that way, but give it a little time. Remember all the buzz coming out of that Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar card in November? Even back then, Bellator and Spike officials mentioned that their first big tentpole event for 2015 -- with the heavy hype, the stage and the pyro and whatnot -- wouldn't be until May, which, as it turns out, will now be June 19. Bellator has a loaded-up show on June 19, with Kimbo vs. Ken Shamrock to lure the casual fans, topping a card which also has a featherweight title fight and the returns of Bobby Lashley, Mike Chandler, and Daniel Straus. So we'll be hearing plenty from Bellator a few weeks down the road. Now that the company more or less has it's ducks in a row, Coker and Co. should be in a better position to capitalize on whatever buzz comes out of this show than they were in November.

Burying Cejudo?

@MacPherson9999: Why is Cejudo toiling away on the UFC 188 prelims while Rodriguez/Rosa gets a main card slot?

I don't think this is as A + B = C as you're making it out to be. Yair Rodriguez has a spot on the main card against Charles Rosa because he won TUF: Latin America last year, and the UFC has been fairly consistent about giving overseas TUF winners main-card slots in their homelands. As for Cejudo, he's in the "prelims main event" spot on the FOX Sports 1 prelims fighting Chico Camus. They're still trying to build Cejudo and give him exposure, so putting him in a feature bout on basic cable in front of a million or so pairs of eyeballs in a fight which on-paper he figures to win, isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world.

Independent contractors

@stormlandbrand: At what point will the UFC be forced to call fighters "employees" and not "independent contractors?"

When the fighters band together and force the UFC's hand. This would require the guys at the top of the food chain to use their leverage on behalf of the guys making 6 and 6. You'll see that about as soon as you'll see a highly paid newspaper sports columnist go on strike to improve his copy desk's working conditions. In other words, don't hold your breath.

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