Ronda Rousey’s Strikeforce debut was on Friday night, and it turned into a complete clusterfuck due to Ronda’s soft womanly concern and Steve Mazzagatti being a crappy ref. Less than a minute into the fight Ronda hit a flying armbar that had her opponent Sarah D’Alelio’s arm hyperextended pretty much instantly. She then losened her grip, told the ref Sarah had verbally tapped, and the Mazz stepped in and stopped the fight.
Simply put, it’s not the fighter’s job to be the ref. You keep working a submission until the ref steps in and separates you. If you wanna be nice, you can stop pulling a sub further towards carnage once your opponent taps, but letting up on a submission because your opponent made a sound is stupid and Ronda basically fucked up her debut by being too nice.
That being said, the ref isn’t supposed to take a fighter’s word that their opponent verbally tapped. Mazzagatti messed up just as bad in stopping that fight. I’d go so far as to say things probably should have been reset. It’s unfortunate that the rules don’t have any wiggle room to restart a fight that was clearly stopped improperly by a dumbass ref. ‘The ref is always right’ for some reason, even when they were clearly wrong.
Interestingly enough, Ronda has a bit of a history with armbarring the shit out of her opponents, which may be why she was so concerned about popping Sarah D’Alelio’s elbow backwards. Here’s an article from 2004 when Rousey was still competing in judo:
Rousey’s coach, Jimmy Pedro, the veteran, grizzled keeper of judo secrets and the father of former world judo champion Jimmy Pedro Jr., says of the criticism that his star pupil is a vicious, remorseless arm-breaker, “The girls who are getting hurt, it’s their own fault. If they don’t like it, tell them to take up pingpong.”
Rousey was upbraided by her mom and other advisers Friday at the U.S. Senior National Judo Championships in San Diego for taking pity on a competitor by letting her out of a submission armlock hold when the referee wrongly didn’t end the match.
“If the ref doesn’t stop it, you have to decide what you’re going to do,” Rousey’s mother says. “And I say crank the sucker and pop that baby.”
Listen to your mother, Ronda. This isn’t judo and MMA fighters know exactly what happen when they don’t tap to an armbar.