2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: March sees the loss of a UFC behind the scenes mainstay, and Ronda Rousey give an awkward TV interview

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Bruce Connal

Welcome to the third of twelve installments of the 2018 MMA year in review. In the series, we will look at the biggest stories and fights from each month and reflect on how things played out as the year went on. Be sure to check out the previous installments and stay tuned as we go through each month of 2018 over the coming days.

Top March Stories

3/1/2018 – Longtime UFC producer Bruce Connal died at 61 years of age. The broadcast team for UFC 222 on March 3, notably Joe Rogan, was very visibly broken up over Connal’s death. The show opened with a tribute to Connal narrated by Rogan.

3/13/2018 – Cynthia Calvillo was suspended for nine months after testing positive for marijuana at a UFC 219 drug test.

3/27/2018 – Ronda Rousey gave an awkward interview with ESPN’s Mike Golic. When Golic began a hypothetical question by asking Rousey if she “could go back in time,” Rousey replied, “There’s a possibility that I could go back in time? That’s your question to me? I do not have the ability to go back in time, no.”

3/28/2018 – The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that TV rights negotiations between UFC and FOX may be done as FOX was expressing more interest in WWE.

How did things turn out?

Connal was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July.

Calvillo returned to the cage in November and won a first-round submission over Poliana Botelho.

Rousey continues to say awkward things, only now through scripted WWE promos.

UFC signed with ESPN in May while WWE signed a joint deal with NBC-Universal and FOX.

Key fight results

3/2/2018 – Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell retained his title with a first-round submission of Leandro Higo.

3/3/2018 – At UFC 222, Brian Ortega put the featherweight division on notice with a first-round knockout of Frankie Edgar. Edgar took the fight despite originally being in a title fight with Max Holloway. In the main event, Cris Cyborg won a first-round TKO over Yana Kunitskaya.

3/17/2018 – Alexander Volkov won a fourth-round knockout over Fabricio Werdum in London.

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