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Rousey speaks volumes during, after title win

March 14, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

"Most of all to my Dad, wherever you are, I hope that you see this, we all miss you, we love you and this is for you, I hope you're proud of me."

Ronda Rousey after winning the Strikeforce title

Moments after the pinnacle achievement of her, albeit brief, but thus far spectacular mixed-martial-arts career, Ronda Rousey stood inside the Strikeforce cage seemingly composed, seemingly reserved and far from celebrating raucously like most would expect anybody would do after winning a world championship in just their fifth professional fight.

But there was Rousey, standing tall and stoic. And there was the former champion Miesha Tate, still on the ground, wearing an almost expressionless face when most grown men would have been reduced to tears after having their arm gruesomely twisted in the fashion that she endured before finally tapping out.

Having gained acclaim rapidly with her ferocious and fast finishes, her striking looks and her gift of gab, Rousey took 4 minutes and 27 seconds to defeat Tate in the same manner she'd laid her previous four opponents to waste, locking in a devastating armbar that was different only in this instance as it was a championship armbar.

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But with Rousey, despite an Olympic pedigree and a Strikeforce title that now hangs large around her slender waist, the show and the entertainment doesn't start or stop with the fight itself.

And in her postfight interview, without hesitation she told viewers that she didn't feel remorse about the damage she had done to her opponent. Indeed, it had become personal after all the smack talk, Twitter wars and weigh-in dust-ups. But, perhaps for others, and at least one writer, it was what she said before that which resonated most.

Just 8 years old when her father died, Rousey never forgot that her dad told her one day she would win gold, that she would be a champion. Despite her ballyhooed former days as a two-time United States Olympian in judo and the fact that she was the first American woman to ever medal in the sport in the Olympics — taking bronze in the 2008 Beijing games — she openly stated before the Strikeforce title bout that those aspirations were still unfulfilled.

But on this night in Columbus, Ohio, she took gold and she became the best in the world as the Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion.

As someone who lost their father less than two years ago, I can say without hesitation that her words struck a chord.

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