Friday, February 21, 2014
Rousey's star power, Cormier shove, more
By Brett Okamoto
LAS VEGAS -- Almost exactly one year ago, the question regarding Ronda Rousey’s star power was whether it was enough to carry a UFC pay-per-view event.
Today, that question has turned into this: Is her star power actually so strong that it could end her fighting career?
Rousey (8-0) will attempt to make her third defense of the 135-pound title against Sara McMann (7-0) on Saturday at UFC 170 inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
In addition to fighting three times in the previous 12 months, Rousey, 27, has drawn plenty of interest from Hollywood. She’s already completed filming roles for “Fast and Furious 7” and “The Expendables 3.” She is due back on the movie circuit next month to film an appearance on a movie version of the popular HBO series “Entourage.”
During a news conference on Thursday, UFC president Dana White said he does not consider Rousey’s acting obligations to be distractions, pointing out that Rousey has remained an active champion.
“What is she juggling?” White said. “[She will] obviously have time off [after UFC 170], but what do you do when you have time off? Some people gain a bunch of weight and they have to go lose it in their next fight.”
White did acknowledge that although Rousey is far from the first UFC fighter to appear in films, her earning power is far higher than any he’s seen previously.
If that ability to make money in Hollywood does eventually pull Rousey away from the cage, White says he’ll be happy for her and move on.
“Everybody keeps talking about, ‘What if she leaves for Hollywood?’” White said. “What if she leaves for Hollywood? How is that bad for [the UFC]? Is ‘The Rock’ [Dwayne Johnson] being a huge superstar bad for the WWE?”
White added that the UFC plans to have Rousey fight three times in 2014.
The UFC 170 co-main event got off to an early start after Daniel Cormier shoved Patrick Cummins.
Prefight scuffles between UFC opponents are rare, but they can happen.
Daniel Cormier (13-0) shoved Patrick Cummins (4-0) during a stare-down on Thursday, presumably because of Cummins’ comments on their history.
The two former amateur wrestlers trained together years ago at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Cummins, who accepted the fight on short notice after an injury sidelined Rashad Evans, claims to have made Cormier cry once at practice.
The UFC has never lost a fight because of an incident at a weigh-in or news conference, but it was easy to read the uneasiness on White’s face as the shove happened.
“I don’t like it. I don’t like when they touch each other before fights,” White said.
Zingano still No. 1 contender whenever she returns
According to Dana White, women's contender Cat Zingano is still in line for a crack at the title.
Cat Zingano remains at the front of the line for the next shot at the UFC women’s bantamweight title.
Zingano (8-0) was supposed to coach against Rousey on "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series last year but was forced to withdraw because of a torn ACL. Last month, her husband and coach, Mauricio Zingano, committed suicide in Denver.
White did not know a timetable for her return but said she has not lost her place in the division. Zingano was originally expected to return to training in March.
“Cat Zingano and I have played phone tag, and I owe her a phone call,” White said.
“The kitchen sink has been thrown at that poor girl. Losing the opportunity to coach TUF, losing the opportunity to fight for the title, being injured and going through all the emotional crap and then her husband -- you can’t even imagine.”