Friday, January 17, 2014

Submission Fighter of the Year: Ronda Rousey

My submission fighter of the year is a vale tudo/mixed martial arts based award. The criteria is simple: which mixed martial artist has proven to be the most consistent and legitimate submission threat to his or her opponent?

The answer, for 2013,  is Ronda Rousey.

Ronda's winning her spot as the submission fighter of the year for 2013 is not just to recognize her pair of submission victories in the UFC that year (a title defense against Liz Carmouche in February and a rematch against Meisha Tate in December). It also celebrates the fact that she has a trait that, while reviled by most MMA purists, nevertheless reflects one of the most essential and fascinating aspects of all sports - and combat sports more than others. I'll leave it to Billy Jack, the character immortalized by the late Tom McLaughlin, to explain:

Those who fault Ronda Rousey for having a predictable game miss the point entirely. There's no reward for being able to predict the future. The reward comes from being able to do something about it. And as of December 2013, Ronda Rousey's opponents have failed to claim that prize. That is what helps make Ronda Rousey my submission fighter of the year for 2013.