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Ronda Rousey, Liz Carmouche have final words

Before historic UFC 157 card, MMA fighters have last words with media at pre-fight presser.

February 21, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • UFC's first-ever women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, left, strikes a pose next to contender Liz Carmouche during a pre-fight press conference at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
UFC's first-ever women's bantamweight champion… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

ANAHEIM — With the UFC 157: Rousey-Carmouche pre-fight press conference wrapping up and fighters posing for their customary face-to-face photos, Ronda Rousey turned to face the press and stand shoulder to shoulder with opponent Liz Carmouche when Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White handed Rousey the UFC women’s bantamweight championship.

Rousey wanted nothing to do with the title that had been bestowed upon her in December of last year.

PHOTOS: UFC 157 press conference with Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche

At the urging of White, she finally and begrudgingly relented, throwing it over her shoulder. As soon as the photos were snapped, the championship that Rousey and Carmouche will fight for Saturday night live on pay-per-view from the Honda Center in Anaheim was nowhere near Rousey once again.

“All the people that think that I don’t deserve this belt, that I didn’t earn it, I partially agree with them,” Rousey said just minutes earlier in Thursday’s pre-fight press conference. “I won’t consider myself a real UFC champion until I win the belt inside the octagon. That’s why you’re not gonna see me touching or carrying that belt until after I win this fight.”

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That fight will be the first in the history of the UFC between women, as the undefeated Rousey (6-0), a full-fledged superstar who trains at the Glendale Fighting Club, defends the title against Carmouche (8-2) in a bout that has gained media the likes of which the company has never seen before.

“This is without a doubt the most media attention we’ve ever had leading up to a fight, without a doubt,” White said. “When I talk about media attention, I’m talking about big, big-time media.”

On Thursday, with all the hard work in the rear view, Rousey and Carmouche were joined by co-main event light-heavyweights Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida, welterweights Josh Koscheck and Robbie Lawler and White for some last words before a night of fights littered with big names from the start and concluding with a bout of historic proportions featuring a combatant in Rousey that may very well be the biggest name in the industry — male or female.

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