For a long time, Ronda Rousey was the biggest name in UFC. Then she got her clock cleaned by Holly Holm at UFC 193 last November.
What exactly happened to Rousey? Some people say she lost her way and started caring more about popularity than training, and if you you start worrying too much about popularity, eventually you’re going to get your butt kicked.
UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz doesn’t think it’s that easy.
“It’s a different sport we’re in,” Cruz said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You got to touch people – and by just going in there and fighting, fans don’t relate to it. They have to relate to a human being and a story. Ronda had that in her. That’s what people watched. They didn’t watch her to fight; they watched because of their person. They watched Conor (McGregor) because of his person. They watched certain people because of their personality. Anderson Silva was more of a fighter, but because he was Brazilian, he got more love from America and Brazil. There’s so many different ways you can go, but it’s a person that you have to connect to. That’s what really sells in fighting.”
The UFC has done a great job selling its sport, though it caused quite a stir several weeks ago when it temporarily banned MMA reporter Ariel Helwani for beating the UFC to the punch – no pun intended – with its upcoming promotions.
Tiki and Tierney asked Cruz for his thoughts on the matter, but the 31-year-old wouldn’t bite.
“How much are you going to talk about the hand that feeds you in any other way except great?” he asked. “Period. You’re never going to get another answer than that out of me. They’re so wealthy, it doesn’t matter what they say. But I’m not.”
Cruz, who is 22-1 with seven KOs, was also asked if he thinks the UFC will be sold. He didn’t directly answer the question, but he did express confidence in UFC brass.
“I think that Dana White, Lorenzo Feritta and those guys are the smartest businessmen I’ve ever surrounded myself with,” he said. “If you think I’m lying, tell me somebody better. Donald Trump is the only guy better, probably.”
Speaking of politics, Cruz, who is Mexican, said he isn’t voting for Trump or Hillary Clinton – or anyone, for that matter.
“I don’t vote at all because I think that the system is just a mess,” Cruz said. “You can’t vote on anything if you’re looking at two people I don’t care about. I don’t like Hillary or Trump. So how the heck am I going to choose something that I have really no say in? Literally, it’s like which evil do I want more? I don’t want either. They’re both crap.”