Mayo Twitter rejects the best because Nunes’ not wrapped with a blonde ribbon in a white box.
Translation: Greatest Woman Of All Time in the sport of mixed martial arts. The moment that affirmed her future Hall of Fame career occurred this weekend during the UFC 239 blockbuster card that saw Nunes take out former women’s bantamweight champ Holly Holm (12-4) in the first round.
Both Holm and Nunes (17-4) share a giant killer victory over Ronda Rousey, with Holm’s UFC 193 win in 2015 by a vicious second round head kick, knocking Rousey right out of the number one spot in women’s MMA.
Nunes repeated the act, KOing “The Preacher’s Daughter” in the first round at the T-Mobile Arena via a head kick that floored Holm at the 4:10 mark.
After her last loss to Cat Zingano at UFC 178 back in 2014, Amanda Nunes has done nothing but solidify herself as the best comeback kid champion in women’s MMA history.
Defeating Valentina Shevchenko (twice), submitting former champ Miesha Tate in the first round, and knocking out Ronda Rousey, Raquel Pennington and now Holm.
She also knocked out the most feared woman in MMA history, Cris Cyborg, in 51 seconds of the first round to win the UFC featherweight title and become a double champ.
So why, immediately after her historic win this weekend, are critics pointing out her perceived lack of marketability?
The Rovell Shovel
Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell gets paid to have a controversial opinion blanketed in the common sensical. After Nunes’ win he took to Twitter to espouse his opinion on why although Nunes is great, she might also be the giant killer for women’s MMA.
Never said Amanda Nunes wasn’t a star for the sport. She is. She just isn’t marketable and like Ronda, to some extent Holly and even Paige Van Zant, she isn’t relevant outside the Octagon. There’s no evidence proving otherwise pic.twitter.com/GFvXdNaizN
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 7, 2019
According to Rovell, because Nunes isn’t as “marketable” as Ronda Rousey, Paige Van Zant or Holly Holm, she has killed “the most valuable women in the sport. Brutally damaging to the the UFC.”
"Brutally damaging to UFC" pic.twitter.com/qBFb3QilCC
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) July 7, 2019
A quick perusal of the aforementioned marketable athletes and you will find two things in common: white and blonde. Rovell comes from the classic All-American school of sports marketing- if it ain’t white, it ain’t right.
Amanda Nunes is brown, Brazilian and bad, and that’s not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning DAMN good.
It harkens back to women’s MMA’s first “bombshell beauty” Gina Carano. The former Elite XC and Strikeforce fighter was ushered onto the world stage as the deadly dark haired, white beauty of the sport. Then Cris Cyborg ruined her well hyped Strikeforce debut in 2009, viciously knocking her out in the first round to become the Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion.
If Carano was marketed like Sugar Ray Leonard, Cyborg was definitely marketed as Mike Tyson.
The majority white executive base of mixed martial arts, and its fanbase, have created and maintained a narrative to support its own false belief of what a women’s MMA champion looks like, and it’s a stale perception in today’s diverse world.
I know your brain operates “differently”, and so I won’t jump on you for the lack of creativity or foresight.
You’re a numbers guy, a data guy.
You don’t know marketability or the building of a brand. You merely analyze data.@Amanda_Leoa could & should be huge.
— Josh Cohen- ESPN WP ⭕️ (@JoshCohenRadio) July 7, 2019
Nunes is openly gay and engaged to fellow UFC fighter, Nina Ansaroff, during a time when pride for the LBGTQ community has reached a fever pitch internationally. The proud champion is also part of ESPN’s September 2019 “The Body” issue, an honor only shared with her former MMA foe, Ronda Rousey.
— ESPN (@espn) July 7, 2019
Storytelling is a matter of perspective and if you don’t understand the cultural storyline, you can’t be expected to understand the marketing behind the athlete. MMA was always been considered a side show sport until its relatively recent pop cultural acceptance. Now on ESPN, and featuring athletes like Conor McGregor, who regularly make the Forbes list, MMA is no longer a niche, bar room brawl sport.
Amanda Nunes rounds out the narrative, not
If people like Daren Rovell can’t understand that, it’s because they have never taken the time to understand those who haven’t conformed to their cultural standards. Diversity in the voices that tell the story and shape the sport, from the cage and MMA’s executive branch to the journalism core, is how you guarantee marketability.
Those who choose not to subscribe to that movement will be knocked out of the growing MMA storylines as fast as Nunes is knocking out her opponents.