Kenny Rice – “SILENT, FOCUSED CHAMPION HOLLY HOLM REFRESHING SIGHT IN THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE OF CHATTER”

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Chatter, obscenity, innuendo, more chatter, expletive deleted and yet still the chatter and clamor and hyperbole.

But enough about the GOP debates.

Then there was the Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz press conference. Sailors blushed at language saltier than all the popcorn that will be served at the MGM Grand Garden Arena this Saturday night at UFC 196 in Las Vegas.

Into the valley of voluminous verbiage they’ve all gone, with a sensory overload that numbs the process, makes us immune to another word. They don’t like each other, they’re going to beat each other, they’re all the best so there. It does make for ratings though we like a good fight even if it’s only before they actually fight. More and more this is expected, accepted, and even demanded by the public.

Donald Trump is delivering the type of bombastic campaign beyond the likes of any conventional wisdom and McGregor combines wit and a foulness in such a clever way the likes of which even the MMA world is still mesmerized. Can’t wait for their fight. Oh, scratch that. See it gets confusing all this talk and talk and talk.

But wait, listen. Hear it? Listen closer. Barely audible is Holly Holm, the only one defending a title this week. The one who has every right to be boisterous and braggadocios after beating the perceived invisible Ronda Rousey in one of the most stunning upsets in recent combative sports history. Yet barely a peep out of her since. No magazine cover shoots, no hosting of an iconic comedy show, no commercials on a large scale. Those are still the territory of her beaten opponent. Holly won, okay but sell it now, say it loud and be proud. That hasn’t happened and likely won’t be something we see or hear.

Holm is the daughter of a Church of Christ preacher, her set of values mirrors that of someone who grew up believing the meek will inherit the earth, who doesn’t seek adulation from others and isn’t all about herself. She knows winning in the octagon is what matters, maybe talking from the Good Book that words will never matter more than deeds.

She comes out of the cerebral Jackson-Wink gym. Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn have created a winning environment based more on doing than saying, thinking as much as striking. A perfect place for Holm to have grown and continue to hone her skills.

She too understands the toughest fight is usually that first championship defense. No one has more at stake at this moment. A loss and she was a one hit wonder and even more there won’t be the huge pay day of the anticipated rematch with Rousey, one none other than UFC boss Dana White has predicted to be the “biggest fight ever in UFC history.” Conversely a victory over the only other woman to at least provide a challenge to Rousey, Miesha Tate, would strongly resonate Holm is worthy of being at the top and worthy of all respect.

For her part Tate too is playing it smart with her level of respect for the champ, a few mentions of strategy mostly of how hard this fight will be for both. No predictions, no guarantees other than being well prepared for the battle. Tate also understands what’s on the line. She didn’t get her third try at Rousey after going 0-2 but at least being the only one to take her into the third round. Holm got the title shot instead and Tate could only watch. There might not be another chance anytime soon. This is the moment and rather than talk incessantly about it, she is getting ready.

The ladies are not the center of attention, the PPV ads treat them as the “also on the card”. They won’t have to be separated at the weigh-in or suddenly burst into a rant about the other. They are just going to fight. There will be either a reigning champ or a new one. Simple as that.

The relatively silent, focused champion Holm is a refreshing sight to view and sometimes hear in the current cultural landscape of posing and chatter.

– Kenny

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