“When she sat down with me and Lorenzo [Fertitta] a few days ago she said ‘I was exhausted’ going into that fight. I was exhausted mentally, physically, personally.’ She had a lot of personal things going on, too, with her family. She’s gone into every fight – Cat Zingano is one of the best fighters in the world, she beat her in 14 seconds, so I don’t know… The reason she’s such a huge star is she’s that type of fighter – anybody, anywhere, any time – and I made the Holly Holm fight and everybody criticized me for making that fight. I made the Holly Holm fight because she’s the most decorated boxer ever in female boxing, world-class kickboxer who has won titles, undefeated in MMA and she had the height and reach advantage. It was the best fight to make, she was the best female fighter in the UFC at the time that hadn’t already fought Ronda Rousey.
Me and 57,240 people in the arena were obviously shocked. I’m never shocked at somebody losing, but it’s the way that she lost that was so shocking. People obviously are saying ‘He’s devastated, he’s this, he’s that’ – listen I always call myself the bells-and-whistles guy. We put on all the bells and whistles, we promote the show, they step into the Octagon and whatever happens is determined by them, but in the history of the sport there’s been two people: Chuck Liddell, that I was very close to, and Ronda Rousey, I’m very close to. She’s one of my very good friends so to see her lose that way, yeah, it was tough.”
Penick’s Analysis: It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if her entire whirlwind of a schedule finally caught up to her, but at the same time it’s something she courted. It’s something she took immense pride in being able to handle, because she said it was her burden, no one else could handle it, and no one else would want it. That finally extended to her as well. Given the outing of her relationship with Travis Browne and the backlash that caused due to the accusations of domestic violence against him, along with the numerous comments her mother had regarding her coach Edmond Tarverdyan, she had a lot more drama and distractions than she was used to dealing with. Most in that spot would have a hard time being fully prepared or effective. Will anything be different in a rematch? Perhaps, but it’s entirely possible the further scrutiny and attention on how she bounces back from that loss becomes too much to bear.
[Photo (c) Matt Roberts via USA Today Sports]