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Ronda Rousey
November 10, 2012 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Ronda Rousey - the first American woman to medal in judo at the Summer Olympics - is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound female MMA fighter in the world. She has won all six of her professional fights - all but one of them in less than a minute - using a trademark armbar that is usually described as "devastating".

Rousey and her management are not confirming a report by TMZ.com that she has become the first female fighter signed to the UFC.
posted by Egg Shen (110 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Whoah. Shit got real on the opponent's arm at the end of the "devastating" link. My knees are all wobbly now.
posted by NoMich at 12:28 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Didn't know arms could bend like that.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:32 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the point is that they can't, really.
posted by kenko at 12:32 PM on November 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'd like to mention at this point that I am also not confirming a report by TMZ.com that I have signed to the UFC.
posted by kenko at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2012 [22 favorites]


dang!

that was great - thank you. adding these to my list of videos to send to people who tell me "women just aren't as physically capable as men". strength means nothing without leverage.
posted by jammy at 12:34 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That one did. I'm not quite willing to see if mine would though.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:34 PM on November 10, 2012


they can't, really

Being double-jointed, I can bend my forearm backwards past the line of my upper arm. But not that far. And my face isn't an anguished mask of torment when I do it.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:36 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The growth of MMA as a sport is impressive.

I was on an elevator at Mandalay Bay in Vegas last summer, when a mother and two daughters got on (maybe 9 and 11 yrs old). They looked like the all american family, but the mother looked upset - telling the girls that that kind of show was not appropriate for young girls, and that there grandfather should never have brought them.

The girls were trying to tell her how cool it was, and finally the mother said, "Boxing is just not appropriate for girls" - to which they both snapped back, "It is MMA, jeez"

They again tried to tell their mother how cool it was, and the younger girl mentioned how awesome it was when that one guy was spitting blood - and now the mother was upset, and she looked to me for support, saying "see what I have to deal with."

I think it is awesome too - and I think it is great that young girls have role models that show them to stand up for themselves and fight back. I replied that I was with the girls, and too which the girls replied, "see, even this guy knows how cool it is."
posted by Flood at 12:43 PM on November 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


Ronda Rousey is just an amazing fighter. 5 of her 6 wins were in the first 2 minutes of the first round. I so hope this is true, because I would rather watch her fight than some of the men in the UFC. Her attitude can be off-putting for some, but I find it refreshing to see a woman in combat sports who can speak her mind, and back up her words with results.

Can co-ed fights be far off? Ronda Rousey vs. Urijah Faber, anyone? I think she'd be favored.
posted by bashos_frog at 12:46 PM on November 10, 2012


As a person who finds efficient professional competence attractive, I will just be over here making flaily-hands and nursing a massive fancrush. Oh my gosh, the brisk badassery!
posted by nicebookrack at 12:48 PM on November 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Did we do the bread already, and I missed it?
posted by cromagnon at 12:49 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brace yourself for this armbar. (Happens at the 1 minute mark if you want to skip ahead.)
posted by phaedon at 12:57 PM on November 10, 2012


I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at my local MMA gym and have been a fan of the sport for years, so I've been following this story with interest. From the talk on MMA forums and blogs, this report is absolutely true. Other prominent female fighters are being signed.

Female MMA is a valid incarnation of the sport, and there is nothing (not even the lack of a penis) that would prevent a top female athlete from being a legitimate combatant. I'm a capable martial artist in my own right, but I have no doubt that Rousey would fuck me up. Culturally and historically, the martial arts has been the province of men, and the UFC is going to have to jump that hurdle to convert the doubters.

Chicks can fight, man.
posted by troll at 1:05 PM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can co-ed fights be far off? Ronda Rousey vs. Urijah Faber, anyone? I think she'd be favored.

This is really fun to think about but I doubt that the UFC will promote co-ed fights in the near future. It's too soon for the culture to accept it, and frankly, the level of top female fighters is not on par with top male fighters. The only way it would work TODAY is if a top female is paired against a journeyman male. For instance, Rousey vs Caraway.
posted by troll at 1:13 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I bought into the Gina Carano thing a few years back, but also wondered who would take her into deep water and figured once we met that person and maybe a few more like her, the UFC would decide it was time to add a few women's divisions. But the person who took her into deep water was Cyborg, and I had my doubts that Dana White would want to even try to market her just yet. Marloes Coenen seemed more likely, Miesha Tate a bit less, but Rousey seemed about perfect. Then they had her on the last season of The Ultimate Fighter and I figured the writing was on the wall, even if her interactions with the fighters were sort of awkward.
posted by mph at 1:20 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given that women are much more sensitive in their chests than men are, how is that handled? No punching boobs? Or do the female fighters just work that much harder to protect that area?
posted by fatbird at 1:24 PM on November 10, 2012


Huh? My boobs were always great shock absorbers when I played contact sports. They are much more resilient than, say, testicles.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:33 PM on November 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


Getting punched in the boob isn't fun, but it's not particularly devastating. I wouldn't worry about that - although grabbing and twisting might need to be off-limits.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:35 PM on November 10, 2012


Boobs are mostly an issue in sports that involve running (flap flap flap, up and down the field), but hey! Sports bras!
posted by ocherdraco at 1:36 PM on November 10, 2012


I thought the women wore some sort of breast protection? But yeah, breasts shots definitely hurt but are not devastating.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:39 PM on November 10, 2012


I think it is great that young girls have role models that show them to stand up for themselves and fight back.

Fighting back? Or just fighting?
posted by biffa at 1:44 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the Rocky series had been about women who box, I imagine there would have been a dramatic "WORK THE TIT!" moment in one of the movies
posted by clockzero at 1:46 PM on November 10, 2012


Fighting back? Or just fighting?

Does it matter? Women fighting is fighting back. Fighting back against the way we're socialized.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:48 PM on November 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


In case the Disney thing didn't inflame you sufficiently, Amanda Lucas is both the daughter of George Lucas and an MMA fighter.
posted by tommasz at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2012


Fighting back? Or just fighting?

I think the point is that, simply, it demolishes the notion that women are incapable of combat; and conversely, that women are at the mercy of the "capable" gender, men, for their safety or peril. The whys and wherefores of the moral application of force is dependent on a slew of contextuals, and shouldn't be conflated with the bare act itself.
posted by troll at 2:01 PM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


In most contact sports women wear breast protectors.

http://www.insidewomensboxing.com/2011/06/20/the-differences-between-mens-and-womens-boxing-rules/
posted by gomichild at 2:19 PM on November 10, 2012


Why is that arm bar considered unusual? Or is it? Is she just really good at getting in position for it?

It and the similar leg bar are great moves... Almost no way to escape once you're in position to deliver it. Their arm would have the stronger than your whole body. We were definitely taught this as part of the BJJ grappling branch of Jeet Kune Do.
posted by cmoj at 2:25 PM on November 10, 2012


What are they putting on their faces before the fight?
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:26 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The arm bar is unusual because she's not waiting for compliance, as near as I can tell. She's just... dislocating her opponent's arm.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:27 PM on November 10, 2012


She's just... dislocating her opponent's arm.

I wonder how reputation figures into the actual fight. If her opponents know that she's going to be absolutely brutal, that has to be psych them out somehow.
posted by griphus at 2:32 PM on November 10, 2012


My understanding about armbars is this: if your opponent is competent, you tap right the hell out and don't get your arm broken. From people I know who actually do that sort of fighting, this is a no-brainer.

No elbow, none, is strong enough to withstand a properly-engaged armbar. Legbars are a tiny bit different -- you don't mess around there either, but at least there is a theoretical path to escape. But an elbow can get dislocated in about 1 second. Check those videos.

(Also: ow.)
posted by andreaazure at 2:48 PM on November 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


What are they putting on their faces before the fight?

Vaseline. It is spread over the prominences of the face to reduce cuts. The leather slips on the skin instead of gripping and tearing.
posted by troll at 2:48 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


MMA Champ Ronda Rousey: I'd Beat The Crap Out of Kim Kardashian
posted by homunculus at 2:50 PM on November 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


My understanding about armbars is this: if your opponent is competent, you tap right the hell out and don't get your arm broken.

Sure, totally. But usually, if you're putting someone in an armbar, there's a point where you have the lock - they can't muscle out of it - but you haven't done any damage yet. Most of the armbars I've seen - and done, and had done on me - have been held there until the tap. There's no huge hurry. The bit of video I saw (and I won't go watch all of them, because they give me the wiggins) she just pushed straight through that point.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:55 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another great arm bar: Fedor Emelianenko vs Hong Man Choi (in the last ten seconds).
posted by homunculus at 2:57 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't watch those arm bar videos without feeling queasy. But I think it's awesome that we are going to be seeing women being that tough and brutal.

In most contact sports women wear breast protectors.

My memory is that there was a long and detailed article about women's boxing (maybe in the New Yorker?) where the boxers hated the imposition of breast protectors by male overseers of the sport.
posted by Forktine at 3:02 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The breast protectors I've seen are totally impractical for MMA. The one-piece ones are way too movement-restrictive, and the individual cup ones... I don't see how those would stay in place. I'd just strap down real good and take my chances. They really aren't as delicate as you might guess if you're comparing them to your genitalia.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:07 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


MMA Champ Ronda Rousey: I'd Beat The Crap Out of Kim Kardashian
posted by homunculus at 2:50 PM on November 10 [+] [!]


Everyone watch this.
posted by eugenen at 3:10 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Six women walk into an armbar...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:16 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here is a high-res picture of her applying the armbar.

ow... ow... ow...
posted by Egg Shen at 3:46 PM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


My memory is that there was a long and detailed article about women's boxing (maybe in the New Yorker?) where the boxers hated the imposition of breast protectors by male overseers of the sport.

Ok, I'm not going crazy. Here's the article, and the section I was thinking about:
Halbert, a big woman with short gray hair and a forceful, focussed demeanor, is now a coach at her own gym in Nashville, and in the past decade she has organized women’s tournaments around the country. She is also the chair of USA Boxing’s Women’s Task Force, and she said that unsubstantiated safety concerns have frequently been used to justify excluding women from boxing, and later for maintaining different requirements for their participation. Until 2008, USA Boxing mandated that female competitors wear an unwieldy breast protector, even though there was no evidence that it was necessary. “You don’t need to be protected there,” Halbert said. “It’s not a target area, and the way you’re holding your hands it would be odd to be hit directly in the breast. In my own experience as a professional boxer, I was just flopping around in this big plastic shield, and it made my chest a much larger target.” Halbert consulted with boxers and medical experts and lobbied USA Boxing to make its regulations comply with her findings: “I was hearing from boxers who were getting bruised by their breast protector, they were getting cut by them. The bottom line is they were unnecessary. Yet it took several years to convince the people who were voting that they ought to be optional.”
posted by Forktine at 3:56 PM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


So it's unusual in that she's going out of her way to destroy her opponents' joints?
posted by cmoj at 4:00 PM on November 10, 2012


What are they putting on their faces before the fight?

The blood of vanquished foes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:16 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


What are they putting on their faces before the fight?

The blood of vanquished foes.


They understand that the best in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their men.
posted by Forktine at 4:27 PM on November 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


For instance, Rousey vs Caraway.

The sad part about this is, if he was confining his smack-talking to directing it at a potential opponent, his most serious crime would be the ability to make even Tweets look asinine. But because he had to go the whole "woman needs to know her place" route, I am now really, really hoping these two do end up in the ring together. I think there would definitely be some place-putting-inning, and I don't think it would be Rousey who would end up there.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:32 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


she's going out of her way to destroy her opponents' joints?

In the video, Rousey immobilizes the opponent with her legs, fishes out the arm, then arches until the arm is slightly bent back. There is a short pause - during which the opponent could tap out. When she does not do so, Rousey... encourages her to reconsider. Soon she does.
posted by Egg Shen at 4:44 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ronda Rousey tells us in detail what it feels like to tear apart an arm. The whole interview is interesting, but the grisly details are around the 9 minute mark...it's pretty gross.
posted by smartypantz at 4:46 PM on November 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


She also explains why she doesn't hesitate too long, if you watch the whole interview. She has her reasons - the main one being past opponents who have denied tapping out when she doesn't follow through.
posted by smartypantz at 4:48 PM on November 10, 2012


Ronda Rousey tells us in detail what it feels like to tear apart an arm. The whole interview is interesting, but the grisly details are around the 9 minute mark.

Just in time for Thanksgiving!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:49 PM on November 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


andreaazure: "My understanding about armbars is this: if your opponent is competent, you tap right the hell out and don't get your arm broken."

So, uh - maybe I'm wrong (I hope so) but it sounds like you're saying that a "competent" opponent will break an arm if given the opportunity. Is that really the case? What kind of sport is this?

Or maybe you meant "incompetent," as in someone who doesn't know what they're doing is likely to break an arm, in which case this makes a lot more sense.
posted by koeselitz at 4:57 PM on November 10, 2012


Ronda goes so balls out on the armbar because her background is competitive judo, and as a submission specialist in that sport you have almost no time to work on the ground before the ref stands you up. Her mom, a champ herself, had the same style.

Can co-ed fights be far off? Ronda Rousey vs. Urijah Faber, anyone? I think she'd be favored.

Umm...no. I mean...just no.

In any case, the whole "first woman in the UFC" title is a bit weird, since there will need to be an actual pool of female competitors in the UFC for her to have any fights.
posted by Theodore Sign at 5:04 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is a rumor of the UFC signing women to have a women's bracket, not the UFC signing a woman to fight the men. To my limited understanding?
posted by Justinian at 5:16 PM on November 10, 2012


usually, if you're putting someone in an armbar, there's a point where you have the lock - they can't muscle out of it - but you haven't done any damage yet. Most of the armbars I've seen - and done, and had done on me - have been held there until the tap. There's no huge hurry. The bit of video I saw (and I won't go watch all of them, because they give me the wiggins) she just pushed straight through that point.

Why is this allowed?
posted by adamdschneider at 5:16 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you not entertained?
posted by Justinian at 5:23 PM on November 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


Armbar escapes are not impossible - it's just a matter of turning your thumb down towards the attacker's belly, thus internally rotating your shoulder, making it possible to bend your elbow into the pressure, and then bridge out (usually into the not-disadvantageous position of the opponent's guard).

That's all it takes: the turn of a hand, snuck in during a nanosecond-readjustment of the attacker's grip. And at the professional level, there really is no such thing as insufferable pain; there are several instances of fighters continuing the bout, and even winning, with broken bones. With so little between survival and defeat it's not at all surprising that professional fighters elect not to insta-tap the second a joint is stretched.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 5:30 PM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


andreaazure: "My understanding about armbars is this: if your opponent is competent, you tap right the hell out and don't get your arm broken."

koeselitz: maybe I'm wrong (I hope so) but it sounds like you're saying that a "competent" opponent will break an arm if given the opportunity.

I read andreaazure's comment with two different 'you' subjects, you and your opponent. 'You' are only referred to in reference to your opponent, who is the subject of the rest of the sentence. So I think she meant that when you are wrestling and you put your opponent in an arm bar, a competent opponent will recognize the arm bar and tap the hell right out. So yeah, you read that wrong I think.
posted by carsonb at 5:31 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is a rumor of the UFC signing women to have a women's bracket, not the UFC signing a woman to fight the men. To my limited understanding?


Strikeforce, the promotion she's coming out of (and a subsidiary of the same company that owns the UFC), ran a separate women's division. Since the UFC isn't even admitting to signing her, all we can do is guess, and I don't believe there's any way the UFC would start the process of adding women by throwing them in with the men right away.

Mixed martial arts hasn't even sewn up sanctioning in all 50 states (just 45 or 46 so far, with NY being the holdout that's bothering the UFC the most), and where it's facing resistance, it's usually on the grounds that it's too brutal. I can't imagine what kind of hay would be made of Ronda Rousey getting her forehead cut open then spending the next 10 minutes writing around in a pool of her own blood while a man straddled her and rained down elbows and fists. It's just not a picture any MMA promoter wants held up and waved around in a balky state legislature, and until sanctioning is locked up everywhere I don't think it's one the UFC will risk happening.
posted by mph at 5:34 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is this allowed?

Tap or snap.
posted by troll at 5:39 PM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


You people are going to use "medal" as a verb now? Really?

If by "you people" you mean Byron and Thackeray, sure.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:39 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, uh - maybe I'm wrong (I hope so) but it sounds like you're saying that a 'competent' opponent will break an arm if given the opportunity. Is that really the case? What kind of sport is this?

A pretty harsh one. I've read that Frank Mir has claimed he was told he'd get his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu if he "brought back a limb" the night he fought Tim Sylvia:
On June 19, 2004, Mir faced Tim Sylvia for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 48: Payback. Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 50 seconds into the first round when Mir's armbar visibly broke Sylvia's right forearm. Mir trapped Sylvia's right arm in an armbar attempt. When Sylvia tried to pull out of the hold, Mir jerked back harder and Sylvia's radius bone snapped about 3 inches below his elbow. Sylvia repeatedly claimed his arm was not broken, even touching it and moving it around to show he was O.K. Sylvia was taken to the nearby hospital where an x-ray showed that his arm was in fact broken in four different places, two in both the radial and ulna bones in his right forearm. Sylvia underwent surgery later in the week.


With this technical submission win Mir became the new UFC Heavyweight Champion and later received his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black-belt from Ricardo Pires for his performance in the fight.
But it's also a consensual one. I'm pretty conflicted about it, but I watch.
posted by mph at 5:42 PM on November 10, 2012


But I think it's awesome that we are going to be seeing women being that tough and brutal.

Finally, feminism can rest; its aims have been achieved. (I have no problem with UFC, I'm just not going to celebrate it as some great victory for women that they too can break people's arms competitively.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 6:03 PM on November 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


usually, if you're putting someone in an armbar, there's a point where you have the lock - they can't muscle out of it - but you haven't done any damage yet. Most of the armbars I've seen - and done, and had done on me - have been held there until the tap. There's no huge hurry. The bit of video I saw (and I won't go watch all of them, because they give me the wiggins) she just pushed straight through that point.

Why is this allowed?


It's not. I disagree slightly with nomad's description of Ronda's armbars. When I compete, I put the armbar on hard, because if I do it lightly, they will think to themselves "this isn't so bad...I'll try to escape". A loose armbar also makes escape more likely. If we just wait there when a championship or a belt promotion is on the line, we'll never get the tap against some people. You must threaten to break it, and if they still refuse to submit, you must break it. Ronda broke those arms because her opponent decided of her free will and accord not to give up unless the arm broke.

Ronda and I and every other successful armlocker don't immediately slap on the armbar to the point of breaking our opponent's joint, but we put it, as soon as possible, into a position of pain. It must be on the brink of breaking. Our opponents will hopefully have a chance to give up before it breaks, but they must be made to understand that we can and will break it unless they give up. Otherwise, the technique would never work, because people would have no respect for it--they'd just keep squirming for the escape or the bell. The threat of the break must be present.

It is instructive to note that Rousey has been in this situation before, with a very different result. Against Sarah D'Alelio, Rousey got the armbar, and put it on tight. D'Alelio screamed in pain, but the arm was not yet broken. (As I said above--tight but not breaking, as soon as possible.) Rousey was giving her opponent a chance to give up, and upon hearing her cry out, Rousey let go. Seeing that the referee did not see the armbar, and that the match was therefore still going, Rousey put the armbar back on, told the ref what happened, and the match was called in Rousey's favor. See 2:30 to 3:00 in this YouTube clip. Rousey took a lot of heat for how she handled the situation, because it created ambiguity. Did D'Alelio give up, or was she the victim of an overprotective ref? Did Rousey fast-talk the ref?

Rousey's mother, Dr. AnnMaria de Mars (the first American judo world champion of any sex), had this to say about the situation:
I'm okay with roughness. When necessary, I'm okay with violence. I think you don't need unnecessary roughness and gratuitous violence.

Yes, I armbarred a lot of people when I was competing. There is even a picture of some major tournament where I am standing on the podium in first place and both the women on the second and third place steps have their arms in a sling.
Rousey's mother insinuates strongly that she believes that Rousey should have snapped the arm when D'Alelio screamed instead of tapped. D'Alelio had the chance to tap and didn't take it--that means all bets are off. (Also, technically, crying out in pain counts as giving up when you're caught in a submission.)

It also occurs that people escape the armbar when it is applied hard, but not quite hard enough. Competitors can and do escape fully-applied armbars sometimes. In such scenarios, the person being armbarred is taking a chance, risking a broken arm for possible victory. For instance, Jon Jones did recently get out of Vitor Belfort's armbar after it had reportedly already started to subluxate. Ronda's been on that side, too:
[Ronda] had dislocated her elbow in a match, won the match, fought a few more rounds in the tournament and then practiced at a training camp for several days.
The absolute division of the BJJ championships some years ago had an impressive example of this. Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza, ahead on points, ripped free of Roger Gracie's last-second armbar after Jacare's arm had been injured. Jacare was able to stall out the last few seconds of the match using one arm and take home gold with his other arm hanging limp. (He has since made a full recovery, including an MMA title.) It's not for everyone, but it's a damn impressive testament to human fighting spirit.

That being said, there are competitors in MMA who apply submissions too quickly, with no regard for their opponent's safety. The worst offender to my knowledge is Rousimar Palhares, a terrifying man who is well-known for ruining his opponents' knees. On one occasion, he was suspended for doing so:
Middleweight Rousimar Palhares, who defeated Tomasz Drwal via heel-hook, was suspended 90 days for failing to release the hold. The dangerous lock, which can quickly cause serious damage to the knee of a competitor, is often banned in lower-level competitions. Palhares latched on to Drwal and cranked hard even as the Polish slugger tapped repeatedly. Palhares had to be pried off of his foe by referee Kevin Mulhall before finally releasing the hold.
It's grisly, but he was punished.

People who compete in combat sports know they are fighting, and are generally able to give up before something gets broken. Of course, mistakes do happen when you play close to the edge. People get broken. But except for the real sociopaths like Palhares, we respect each other and it's okay. We know it's not knitting class. We know what's at risk.

Glad to see this on the Blue. Ronda is a great fighter, and a promising ambassador for women's MMA. Sorry for the ramble, folks.
posted by daveliepmann at 6:45 PM on November 10, 2012 [49 favorites]


What sort of sport allows people to break eachother's limbs? I'll go watch 18-year-old boys concuss themselves for scholarship money instead!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:42 PM on November 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's grisly, but he was punished.

Eesh, with a 90 day suspension? How is that any more than a wrist slap? Sounds like he should be banned from competition. I understand Rousey's position better now after your explanation, but this guy sounds over the line.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:48 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


adam, I agree, it's a wrist slap. His behavior at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (no-gi grappling competition) in 2011 was just as bad. I would be happy to see him get a lifetime ban from these organizations. I was very happy to see Alan Belcher shut down his leglock game and knock him unconscious.
posted by daveliepmann at 7:54 PM on November 10, 2012


me: “What kind of sport is this?”

mph: “A pretty harsh one... But it's also a consensual one. I'm pretty conflicted about it, but I watch.”

Well, between all the other doped-up hard-living kill-themselves-early sports this one is just another painful thing to watch. So I guess I am not going to try to stop anybody from doing this if it's what they choose to do. It sure as hell isn't for me, though. Ugh.
posted by koeselitz at 8:01 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The two-part documentary put together by Strikeforce before her last fight is excellent:

part 1

part 2
posted by cwhitfcd at 8:41 PM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a former bouncer - If you attempt to apply the arm-bar to an upright opponent, and he's still upright after you're sure you have it applied correctly, re-adjust your technique to accept the cab he's called to take you home.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:41 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Give me a fight where people break limbs over a fight where people pound brains any day of the week. It's more overtly gruesome, but the long term effects of brain injuries are surely far worse than the long term effects of joint dislocation. I'll take arthritis over dementia any day of the week.
posted by incessant at 8:51 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


The recent SI profile mentions that Rousey's mom, a judo champion, taught her the armbar.
posted by carmicha at 8:53 PM on November 10, 2012


If you're interested in statistics -- and maybe even if you're not -- Rousey's mom's blog is awesome.
posted by Slothrup at 9:08 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


re Palhares: he seems like such a nice guy outside the octagon. His behaviour inside it is a mystery to me, but I give him the benefit of the doubt and put it down to a mix of reckless aggression and perhaps stupidity - still undesirable traits in a fighter, but a damn sight better than malice. Not that that means much to his opponent's knees of course.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:19 PM on November 10, 2012


Interesting, this makes me think of the opponent in Million Dollar Baby. I always wondered what happened to her after the fight - punishment?.
posted by jacalata at 10:05 PM on November 10, 2012


Kandarp Von Bontee: I give him the benefit of the doubt and put it down to a mix of reckless aggression and perhaps stupidity - still undesirable traits in a fighter, but a damn sight better than malice.

His behaviour might not have anything to do with reckless aggression, stupidity or malice. Developing an intimidating reputation would be quite useful—the Ender Wiggin effect.
posted by quosimosaur at 11:02 PM on November 10, 2012


But because he had to go the whole "woman needs to know her place" route, I am now really, really hoping these two do end up in the ring together.


I wish she could arm-bar his mouth.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:54 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Middleweight Rousimar Palhares, who defeated Tomasz Drwal via heel-hook, was suspended 90 days for failing to release the hold.

Why was Drwal suspended? Was that just a weird way of saying he wouldn't fight until his injuries properly healed, or did he do something illegal as well during the fight?
posted by mannequito at 2:25 AM on November 11, 2012


So... what's the difference between this and good, old-fashioned dirty fighting?
posted by valkyryn at 4:02 AM on November 11, 2012


The only way it would work TODAY is if a top female is paired against a journeyman male. For instance, Rousey vs Caraway.

And why would a male sign up for this?

If you win, you beat up a girl*
If you loose you were beaten up by a girl.


*Yes, I know girl isn't correct...woman is. But that's what the press and taunting will say. Part of these sports is being manly - as evidenced by the whole 'in their place' comment.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:47 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of a particularly brutal memory of watching G.L.O.W - Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling as a horny 15 year old when Susie Spirit gets her arm broken, live, on camera. The incident was looped about a hundred times. One moment, flexing, pastel spandex-clad-buttocks, the next an arm bent in an impossible shape.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:46 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


And once you've completed the armbar, you can make lolipops.
posted by eurypteris at 6:12 AM on November 11, 2012


You people are going to use "medal" as a verb now? Really?

Yeah, and I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those medaling kids...
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:33 AM on November 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


To this observer who has been a mixed-martial arts fan since the early 2000's the expansion of the UFC organization and the increase in the number of fights has led to a decrease in quality. And though, on the equality side, I don't see any reason for women not to be given the opportunity, I believe this is just a ploy to inject life into the "brand". Let's put fit women in a cage and watch the cat fight. My opinion is based on Dana White's previous disdain for this scenario. But Mr. White will do anything for a buck - kind of like Vince McMahon. And Increasingly UFC is becoming the WWE. Evidence - Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen, a ploy to get ratings up for the flagging Ultimate Fighter show and where Mr. Sonnen's acting ability, rather than his abilities as a light-heavyweight, are at the top of his resume.
posted by incandissonance at 7:37 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not. I disagree slightly with nomad's description of Ronda's armbars. When I compete, I put the armbar on hard, because if I do it lightly, they will think to themselves "this isn't so bad...I'll try to escape". A loose armbar also makes escape more likely. If we just wait there when a championship or a belt promotion is on the line, we'll never get the tap against some people. You must threaten to break it, and if they still refuse to submit, you must break it. Ronda broke those arms because her opponent decided of her free will and accord not to give up unless the arm broke.

Ronda's background is very specifically high level international competitive judo; she is an Olympic Judo medalist. In BJJ and local recreational Judo, the standard does seem to be that the armbar is held to the point of pain and the other person taps. However, you have to understand that as the level of competition increases, the people get really really nasty; you only get one or two chances at an Olympic medal and everybody there really really wants it.

My coaches tell me that at high level Judo competitions in the black belt division, the standard is that you tap (surrender) as soon as your opponent breaks your arm free, because the very next thing they are going to do is to try to explosively break it off and take it home with them. And it will be your fault for not tapping.
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:00 AM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just happened to be flipping channels and caught this match live, I stayed to watch the pretty girls but ended up with that image burned in my mind. I figured that was a career ending injury for Meisha Tate but it appears that a rematch is likely, I don't think I can stomach another armbar.
posted by fatbaq at 9:36 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is pretty basic judo...don't let them get an armbar, and if they do and there's no wiggle room, you tap out. Otherwise, that's what's next.
posted by limeonaire at 10:18 AM on November 11, 2012


So... what's the difference between this and good, old-fashioned dirty fighting?

Mouthguards, gloves, Vaseline on the face, a referee with the ability to stop the fight, rules disallowing many different types of strikes and holds, cornermen, a ringside doctor ...
posted by Bookhouse at 12:56 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I figured that was a career ending injury for Meisha Tate but it appears that a rematch is likely, I don't think I can stomach another armbar.

Tate is already back, and won her return fight against Julie Kedzie by armbar in the third round, after taking a beating from Kedzie. What a great way to make a comeback, right?

Some breaks are hard to come back from. Soft-tissue damage in knees and shoulders, for instance, often leave people forever diminished. But people with broken bones and separated elbows (Tate, Rousey, Jacare, Big Nog...) seem to heal up and make a comeback pretty quickly.
posted by daveliepmann at 1:58 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


So... what's the difference between this and good, old-fashioned dirty fighting?

The Unified Rules of MMA keeps things civilized.
posted by troll at 3:24 PM on November 11, 2012


Here's video of a friend of mine getting out of an armbar, after the arm was hyperextended, and going on to win the match. This is why sometimes people don't tap - they believe they can get out of it. And sometimes they're right.
(He took some damage to his elbow, but went on to compete at the Worlds shortly after this.)
posted by bashos_frog at 4:03 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, if I'm going to be purely reptilian about this, where this ends up is that every fight ends with broken arms. Since that's not a tolerable end state for a sport (even Football only causes damage later, when the cameras aren't on) at some point the rules will change to automate the tapping or ban the maneuver.

I know enough about martial arts to know how ridiculous this sounds, but from a simple business perspective it's inevitable.
posted by effugas at 4:22 PM on November 11, 2012


Some breaks are hard to come back from. Soft-tissue damage in knees and shoulders, for instance, often leave people forever diminished. But people with broken bones and separated elbows (Tate, Rousey, Jacare, Big Nog...) seem to heal up and make a comeback pretty quickly.

Interesting. Well, I guess that explains why it's allowed, although I do wonder if, as effugas says, this is going to prove to be a "super move" that eventually takes over the sport and gets banned. I know nothing about UFC, though, or even really MMA in general, although arms do seem like rather weak points.
posted by adamdschneider at 4:26 PM on November 11, 2012


I'm just a fan and not a student of MMA/BJJ, but arm bars don't seem to be that much of a "super move" -- if someone gets caught in an arm bar, there are usually several points before that where they've been out-grappled.

Heel hooks (see discussion of Palhares above) can be very damaging, but they seem to be hard to execute -- I'm not sure if it's because fighters defend them well, because the average competitor acts professionally and makes sure to secure the hold before cranking for damage, or if people will let them go if they're not locked in 100% to avoid being left in a vulnerable position if the opponent escapes.

The rules already disallow certain types of strikes and submissions (described as "soft-tissue attacks and small-joint manipulation"), but the current "dirty move" people are arguing about, which seems to be legal in certain jurisdictions and not others, is a stomp-type kick to the opponent's knee while standing. IIRC, California has outlawed it, but there was some controversy when someone partially landed it recently.
posted by Several Unnamed Sources at 5:04 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


effugas: The notion that armbars might one day be banned from MMA or other combat sports that allow submission grappling is a laughable notion. It is not a deadly or unfair maneuver of any sort, nor one that causes particularly inordinate amounts of damage relative to how often it is successfully applied (unlike heel hooks and spinal locks, which are indeed often considered too dangerous to allow).

It's interesting to note that while the vast majority of submission wins in MMA are accomplished via armbar, keylock, triangle choke, or rear naked choke, all these moves are the most basic weapons of the grappler, learned within the first few lessons. Disallowing any of them would be as major a detraction from the sport as disallowing strikers the use of their right hand.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 5:41 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, if I'm going to be purely reptilian about this, where this ends up is that every fight ends with broken arms. Since that's not a tolerable end state for a sport (even Football only causes damage later, when the cameras aren't on) at some point the rules will change to automate the tapping or ban the maneuver.

I know enough about martial arts to know how ridiculous this sounds, but from a simple business perspective it's inevitable.


Not really. SUS and Kandarp have some excellent points about why this is not going to happen that I'd like to add to.

First, armbars will never be a supermove. Nothing will ever be a supermove. There are fundamental attacks--the basic boxing punches, a few kicks, a choke or three, a handful of arm and leg locks, maybe a dozen throws and takedowns--that will always be high-percentage, but nothing can be a supermove. It's just not how fighting works outside of kung fu movies.

Armbars in particular will never be a supermove. Ronda is wildly successful with them, but that's partially because she's an Olympian with a World Champion armbarer mother, and she's in the women's division. She makes them look easy. The men's division has a much higher incidence of genetic freaks, BJJ black belts, and champion wrestlers. If the women's division had that kind of depth of talent, there might be a woman who could stop Rousey's armbar. Or maybe not. The fact is, we're not seeing an epidemic of armbars, because it takes years of training to get as natural at them as Ronda is.

Take the analogous situation in the men's middleweight division: Anderson Silva is clearly unstoppable against anyone close to his size. For the most part, his wins are from fundamental kickboxing (e.g. his head movement, knees, and counterpunching) and jiu-jitsu (e.g. his rear naked choke or triangle choke). But it would be silly to say that his knees (which have caused serious and lasting damage to several opponents) could ever be a "supermove" and have to be banned. Anderson Silva is great at knees; that doesn't mean fighting is going to turn into a knee-fest or knees will become unstoppable. People's noses get broken. People's elbows get broken. That's fighting, but it doesn't happen every time.

Plus, if you're even a tiny percent less good at armbars (and grappling) than Ronda Rousey is, you'll find they're hard to get into position for, expose you to damage when you try them, and are hard to finish. Why? Notice that generally the person doing the armbar is on the bottom, or at least not on top. Being on top means you can drop big punches ("bombs" in fight parlance) and otherwise do significant damage with gravity on your side. Being on bottom means getting smashed. People are savvy to armbars, and (except for the outlier of Ronda Rousey) can often "stuff" (prevent) them early on. They're also one of the easier submissions to escape from, as evidenced by the examples posted in this thread by myself and others, and by the spate of armbar escapes that we are seeing this year in top-level no-gi grappling tournaments. It speaks to Ronda's overall fighting prowess that she overcomes these drawbacks of the armbar and makes it work so consistently.

Further, many fighters in most fights, even at the elite level, will choose to give up rather than force their opponent to break the arm. Often the stakes aren't high enough, and the potential benefit too small. If it's not a title fight, or if they were losing the fight anyway, maybe it isn't worth it to force yourself into six months of pain while you can't get paid for another fight. Notice that sometimes the fighter escapes the armbar with little enough damage to continue to fight (e.g. Jones/Belfort)...but sometimes your arm is just broken and you've gained nothing (Rousey/Tate).

It's just not a problem we're having.
posted by daveliepmann at 6:06 PM on November 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


This thread is pretty fascinating.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:35 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


bashos_frog: Her attitude can be off-putting for some,
Yeah, she's a bit shrill. Bitchy, even. Almost hystrionic. I don't know how she expects to find a husband with an attitude like that.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:22 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar: The only way it would work TODAY is if a top female is paired against a journeyman male. For instance, Rousey vs Caraway.

And why would a male sign up for this?

If you win, you beat up a girl*
If you loose you were beaten up by a girl.


*Yes, I know girl isn't correct...woman is. But that's what the press and taunting will say. Part of these sports is being manly - as evidenced by the whole 'in their place' comment.
Ask Bobby Riggs.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:24 PM on November 11, 2012


I think it's awesome that we are going to be seeing women being that tough and brutal.

Brutal? Brutal is what you want to watch for entertainment? People's arms being broken for entertainment?

This thread is horrifying me.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:21 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. We aren't watching to see people's arms broken. We're watching to see consummate athletes risking everything in a competition.

2. You're fixating on the gruesome, because the conversation is fixating on the gruesome, because - blood! We're basically all 10yo's reading comics, in this thread. The reality, however, is: two fighters enter the ring; one wins; both walk out. Almost always.

Bonus: unlike boxing, neither walks out with permanent brain injuries from each match.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:27 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am not sure there has ever been a culture of human beings at any point in history that did not develop a one-on-one combat sport. There has never been a time people haven't been watching -- and, more importantly, participating in -- this for entertainment. The important part is there are rules and people abide by these rules. Look at her disengage in 0:33. This is not some sort of nadir of human civilization. It's a tightly regulated sport, not a bar brawl or a gladiatorial arena.
posted by griphus at 9:47 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


We aren't watching to see people's arms broken. We're watching to see consummate athletes risking everything in a competition.

Consequence-free, arena-side consumption of risks like, say, limbs getting snapped in half.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:19 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's just not a problem we're having.

Yet. We live in a weird world where slippery slopes are both logical fallacies and empirical inevitabilities. Look specifically at this comment from daveliepmann:
It's not. I disagree slightly with nomad's description of Ronda's armbars. When I compete, I put the armbar on hard, because if I do it lightly, they will think to themselves "this isn't so bad...I'll try to escape". A loose armbar also makes escape more likely. If we just wait there when a championship or a belt promotion is on the line, we'll never get the tap against some people. You must threaten to break it, and if they still refuse to submit, you must break it. Ronda broke those arms because her opponent decided of her free will and accord not to give up unless the arm broke.
You have to view systems in terms of how they'll evolve. What we see here is that a) People will refuse to submit and b) People will thus decide to break the arm. As skills rise -- which they do in every competitive sport, though it takes time for them to do so -- both a and b will hit their natural peak. There will be a number of arm breaks, causing a) A lack of fighters able to compete and b) Political pressure.

Self-regulation is obviously not going to work. So either the match will get called by the ref -- tricky! -- or the move will be banned -- even trickier. There's no other option, you just can't run a business around this sort of short term on camera damage. (I suppose shutting down MMA is the third option -- note that other fighting events, even boxing, just don't have this inevitable failure mode.)

Again, I know how ridiculous this sounds, but this is what happens in sporting systems. If you aren't breaking arms, the other guy is.
posted by effugas at 11:38 PM on November 11, 2012


Again, I know how ridiculous this sounds, but this is what happens in sporting systems. If you aren't breaking arms, the other guy is.

So here's the thing -- armbars have been legal in Judo competition for like a hundred and forty years. Despite this, armbars are still legal, nobody is seriously considering banning it, and most matches are not ended with broken arms. Techniques have been banned from competitive Judo for injury potential (leglocks, kani basami). Arm bars are still in and nobody is talking about reomving them.

There are a few things:

* It's actually really difficult to armlock somebody of comparable skill. Ronda Rousey is an Olympic medalist, which means she is among the very best in the world. She has been training since she was a little kid.

* Most people really really don't like having their arms broken. Usually when people decide it's worth it, there is something really really important on the line, and it's unusual enough that people remember it: Witness Helio's match with Kimura, for instance. Pretty much EVERYBODY surrenders before it gets to the point that the arm is straight.

* In this very specific instance, Miesha Tate clearly has an unusual amount of flexibility, and is accustomed to relying on that flexibility to escape arm-locks.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:31 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Comrade Robot has the correct.
posted by daveliepmann at 7:28 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Consequence-free, arena-side consumption of risks like, say, limbs getting snapped in half.

Name me a field or combat sport that doesn't involve broken limbs.

If you want to discuss the relative frequency of those events, we can do so. Under the harsh light of numbers, I suspect soccer and football will come out looking like horrific bloodsports, and judo and MMA will appear tame. If we include concussions and other injuries, boxing will be on the "dangerous" list and football will look even worse.

Contact sports involve risking your body in pursuit of victory. Period.
posted by daveliepmann at 7:33 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


IAmBroom, I'm kind of surprised that you choose to read sexism into a comment that could just as easily be said about a man (Chael Sonnen, I'm looking at you). It's not about trying to be genteel, it's about showing respect for your opponents. Ronda is very upfront about who she respects and who she doesn't (and why). While I kind of like her honesty and see it as refreshing, others see an arrogant fighter looking to get taken down a notch.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:45 AM on November 12, 2012


My apologies if you didn't mean it in a sexist manner, but I find it likely that sexism still plays a bit of a role in those complainants you mentioned.

Men are subject to such complaints, too; Muhammed Ali, for instance. But once again, he was getting "uppity". It's very hard to separate the complaint
"X is arrogant and deserves to be knocked down a peg or two!"

from
"X is out of line. X needs to learn their place."

posted by IAmBroom at 7:50 PM on November 12, 2012


I just realized the Ronda Rousey from this thread is the woman on the cover of the ESPN body issue that got linked a while back. Huh.
posted by Justinian at 10:31 PM on November 12, 2012


Again, I know how ridiculous this sounds, but this is what happens in sporting systems. If you aren't breaking arms, the other guy is.

Just to join the chorus: You are wrong about this. Rousey is an exceptional player in a weak field. The most serious injuries in MMA currently happen in practice, not the fights themselves. There is more talk of changing the training regimen of fighters than there is talk of banning armbars.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:19 PM on November 14, 2012


Despite this, armbars are still legal, nobody is seriously considering banning it, and most matches are not ended with broken arms.
So I was hanging out with an MMA fighter, quite a good one actually. He said he had to quit, because he couldn't handle looking at people as something to disassemble.

I entirely concur, if MMA follows the path of Judo, armbars won't be banned. Is MMA like Judo? You know, it might be. I can't deny the possibility of self-regulation through training, or through better ways to escape the threat, eliminating the problem. And that's mostly what I'm hearing -- that this problem will resolve itself through something other than regulation.

Perhaps. But people should concede -- n broken bones ending matches = no more armbars, for some quantity n.
posted by effugas at 9:54 PM on November 15, 2012


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