PORT ARTHUR — People from the birthplace and hometown of Babe Didrikson Zaharias can appreciate what transpired last weekend in the world of sports.
The UFC opened the door to women by holding its first women's MMA bout. This fight that headlined UFC 157 occurred on the same weekend Danica Patrick became the first woman to earn the pole position and lead a lap at the Daytona 500.
Playing Danica Patrick on the UFC side was Ronda Rousey who like Patrick seemed to get more media attention than all the other competitors combined. Rousey delivered even further, winning the UFC Women's bantamweight title in her bout against Liz Carmouche.
The bout was actually an emphatic statement that women belong and even add to the sport. Sure the pre-event PR focused on the attractiveness of Ronda Rousey, much like Danica Patrick, but like Patrick there was substance behind the looks.
Rousey and Carmouche put on a technical display of mixed martial arts for the ages during their matchup. All attention was on Rousey as she was the trumpeted former Strikeforce champion coming to the UFC, but Liz Carmouche came to fight as if to not become a side note in MMA history.
In the first round Carmouche brilliantly took Rousey's back and put her in some real danger. Carmouche secured and worked a neck crank as Rousey stood with her head and neck contorted. Rousey did not tapout and used her strength to shake off the the attack which brought the Anaheim crowd to a roar.
Rousey then secured side control on Carmouche and worked the ground and pound. Carmouche didn't relent and continued to work for submissions even attempting an skillful inverted triangle attempt. Rousey staved off the attacks and worked for her bread and butter armbar submission which she finally secured, forcing Carmouche to submit with only eleven seconds left in the first round.
This first victory in the UFC marks Rousey's seventh in mixed martial arts as a whole, with all being victories by first round armbar submission. She's not a one-trick pony; Rousey is actually a well-rounded fighter with roots in the discipline of Judo. She just sticks to the play that keeps working and that no one can stop.
This watershed bout in MMA's largest promotion will have long-term effects for the sport. In the past the only spotlight for women in combat sports was in boxing which stood in the shadows of men. Rousey and Carmouche showed women can own the spotlight and deliver a rousing performance in MMA.
Women of combat sports like Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, and even boxing are surely taking heed and now have a stage to strive for.
Doors have opened in golf, baseball, auto racing, and mixed martial arts, as society and sport continue to evolve.
David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at