In physics, a singularity occurs when a function takes on an infinite value. In the UFC, Ronda Rousey is that function: There is no way of measuring her value. On the heels of a 34 second knockout dusting of the previously undefeated Bethe Correia at UFC 190, Rousey has made clear that she is more than just the undisputed UFC’s women’s bantamweight champion, more than just the first female combat sports superstar, and much more than just the sum of our collective expectations — Rousey’s future lies somewhere in the strange space between reality and infinity.
Most everyone knew something strange was going on when the presumably pro-Correia Brazilian crowd did something no one can seem to recall happening, ever. During the Friday weigh-in for the fight, the crowd began chanting “Uh, vai morrer,” a favorite intimidation tactic of the Brazilian MMA fan that translates to the delightful sentiment “You’re gonna die!” It’s a familiar serenade to most any foreign fighter who has stepped foot in Brazil, but it wasn’t directed at Rousey — Correia was the one the crowd had decided wasn’t long for this mortal coil. Again, this is not something that happens, ever.
However, something resembling reality had seemingly taken hold again when the fight started the next night, Rousey was showered with boos by the overwhelmingly Brazilian crowd. Her response was to snap a right cross to Correia’s temple followed by a left hook to her jaw that sent the would-be home crowd hero face-first to the canvas — the same woman who promised time and time again that she’d be the one to knock out the best female fighter alive, instead ended up in a janky downward facing dog pose. The post-fight shank twist came when Rousey shouted “Don’t cry” at a still only semi-conscious Correia. No one was surprised, this is what Rousey does.
The surprise came when the Brazilian crowd started cheering for Rousey like one of their own. Apparently, all it takes for Rousey to win over a hostile crowd is the opportunity to show said crowd exactly what she’s capable of when locked inside an eight-sided cage. There is no point in prevarication here: the key to Rousey’s allure is that she’s unbeatable.
Consider: Rousey’s last three fights have lasted a total of 64 seconds, her next bout is expected to be against Miesha Tate — a fine fighter who Rousey has already submitted twice over — and each of the top five ranked fighters in the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division have all lost to the very mean lady who wears the gold.
The only fight that holds any appeal in terms of potential competitiveness is one with Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, who is the reigning featherweight (145 lb.) champion in Invicta FC, a company that promotes only women’s MMA. However, no one is sure if Justino can safely make the 135 lb. weight limit of the bantamweight division and, either way, this is Ronda Rousey we’re talking about. Until someone figures out how to give her a halfway decent fight, there isn’t much point in pretending that she’s due a cosmic reckoning at the hands of some opponent she’s probably already mangled before.
Still, Rousey’s hard-earned aura of invincibility is still hardly proof of her status as a combat sports singularity—after all, success in this area of the sports world is measured in both wins and dollars. Following her win over Correia, it seems no one in all of MMA can measure up to Rousey in either regard.
UFC President Dana White maintains UFC 190 is trending to eclipse the 1 million pay-per-view buys threshold, an unthinkable number for most any combat sport athlete to hit and one that, up until this moment, would have been laughable to expect of any female fighter. White also believes a Rousey-Justino pay-per-view fight would eclipse 2.5 million buys. Now, this is the same Dana White with a long and illustrious history of talking out of his ass, but two things appear obvious: Rousey is perhaps the UFC’s biggest box office draw and her drawing power is growing at an exponential rate regardless of who gets sacrificed to her in the cage. Remember, a singularity is unaffected by anything outside itself.
And so that’s where we stand with Rousey, playing the role of slack-jawed gawker feebly grasping for explanation and certainty in the face of that which we cannot fully comprehend. You’d be better off diving head-first into a black hole and hoping you come out the other side with a better understanding of gravitational physics — also, don’t do that. Rousey will fight again soon enough and the cable packages inside a spacetime bleed are presumably trash.
For now, the best thing to do is simply embrace the discomfort of the unprecedented. It’s not like there’s a choice to be made anyway. Ronda Rousey sure as shit isn’t going anywhere.
Tomás Ríos is an editor and writer. He will never stop going in.