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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dan Henderson’s coach upset Ronda Rousey is headlining UFC 157

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Ronda Rousey will be making her UFC debut at UFC 157 in February, and some people are not too thrilled about all the promotion she’s receiving. In fact, one of Dan Henderson’s coaches is upset with the situation.

Hendo, who was Strikeforce’s light heavyweight champion and a two-time champion in Pride, will be fighting Lyoto Machida at the Anaheim event. Their fight is being billed as the co-main event behind Rousey’s fight with Liz Carmouche. That’s not sitting well with Henderson’s striking coach Gus Pugliese.

“Ronda is headlining UFC 157. Here is why I have a problem with that,” Pugliese wrote on his Facebook page Monday. “Ronda is the champion of Strikeforce with 6 wins in less than 2 years of a mma professional career. That’s impressive regardless of who she has fought. However, she is not the UFC champion yet. She still has to win this fight to get that belt. On the other hand , we have Hendo, who has also been the Strikeforce champion (never lost the belt),Pride champion in 2 different weight classes; he has been ranked #1 contender for the UFC 205lbs, and #6 by many pound for pound best fighter. His resume is second to none, moreover, he is fighting a former champion, Lyoto Machida. Now why aren’t they main event? Is Ronda a better market value? I don’t know, but her fight could be quick as usual and we could be missing another historic 5 rds fight between 2 legends and possible hall of famers. I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve to headline an UFC event, but certainly not this one.”

At least Pugliese isn’t saying Rousey doesn’t deserve to headline an event, he just doesn’t think it should be ahead of Hendo. He further explained his view to Gracie Mag.

“Where I come from, there’s a pecking order for anything in life,” he said. “I believe in paying dues. In this particular case, ‘Hendo’ and Machida paid their dues a long time ago. For someone new to come in and have a free ride just seems unfair to them and the whole sport they helped build.”

Funny, the whole “pecking order” argument is exactly what Miesha Tate was complaining about when Rousey jumped Sarah Kaufman to get a shot at the Strikeforce title. And then what happened? Rousey beat Tate by first-round armbar, just like she has done in all of her pro fights.

Pugliese is clearly biased here and I understand his point. Forget the paying dues argument which I think is stupid if you have a great product to offer that deserves promotion. Hendo-Machida is worthy of headlining a card. But the reality is that Rousey is just a better sell.

Rousey is pretty, popular, controversial, and she is an amazing fighter. She might be the most dominant female athlete on the planet relative to sport. She’s the sole reason the UFC admitted female fighters, and she’s probably the biggest fighter in the company not named Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, or Jon Jones. The UFC would be foolish not to use Rousey to headline an event. Pugliese just needs to accept that, and he should be more focused on making sure his fighter is prepared for Machida.

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