UFC president Dana White let it be known during the pre-fight press conference for UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche that he feels the decision to pair two female fighters against one another in the main event was a good idea. Ronda Rousey will defend her UFC bantamweight title against Liz Carmouche Saturday from Anaheim.
“Without a doubt, this is the most media attention we’ve ever had leading up to a fight,” White said. “We have big-time media covering it, the gate beat the last gate, which was a heavyweight championship match between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. There was a lot of smack talk when I announced this fight, but I said what would happen, and here we are.”
White confirmed that the UFC is 100-percent behind building a female division, and that the Honda Center is nearly sold out.
“We only have a few tickets left, and they are the cheap seats,” White said. “All this talk about pay-per-view buys…I talked to Lorenzo (Fertitta) and this fight is trending very well. All the naysayers, and I won’t be rude, but you know what I usually say about this…”
While Rousey wasn’t the first female fighter to compete inside the cage, she made the biggest impact outside of it. The former Strikeforce champion has appeared on countless magazine covers and in feature articles, along with doing appearances on ESPN’s host of programs. Carmouche also appeared on Larry King Live with White.
“No fighter, that has ever fought in the UFC, has had more attention than she has,” White said. “I didn’t think it would be a positive reaction when HBO and Time Magazine started covering her, I thought it would be a freak show, but nobody pulled the freak show card. Nobody smashed the main event.”