I became a father for the first time two months ago. My girlfriend Brandi and I were blessed with a 7-pound, blue eyed beauty of a daughter that we named Scout Anne Dyer.

Amid the haze of joy and self-introspection that most dads must go through furing the first few days of fatherhood, a strange but true thought entered my head.

The thought: It would be pretty neat if Scout grew up to be the next Ronda Rousey.

By now, most of the sporting world and almost anyone who owns a television knows who Rousey is. A former Olympic medalist in judo, Rousey has spent the past six years being a tour de force in mixed martial arts.

Her biggest accomplishment — and likely how she will be remembered in sports history — is how she paved the way for females to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the highest profile organization in the sport.

The current memory of her career, however, is not as favorable. After cruising to a 12-0 record with Mike Tyson-like dominance (she had a 6-0 UFC record at the time, spending 1,077 seconds in the octagon in total), Rousey has lost two fights within the past year. In November of 2015, Rousey lost the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship to Holly Holm via second round knockout. On Friday night, Rousey had her most embarrassing loss to date, as she suffered a total knockout defeat to Amanda Nunes in just 48 seconds.

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Rousey also did herself no favors by refusing to speak to the media before or after the fight. This is the same media that helped make Rousey the most recognized female athlete in the world, that she whole-heartedly embraced the previous four years via talk shows, documentaries, movies and even a pictorial in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The move gave off, at worst, the appearance of a sore loser and at best, a fighter lost in what the next move of her career will be.

Rousey — who will turn 30 on Feb. 1 — has made it known that her fighting career is near its end. It certainly won’t be the last we see of her. She has a career waiting for her in movies (she’s already appeared in “The Expendables 3” and “Furious 7″). She’s also a professional wrestling fan, and as a fellow fan I can assure you she would be welcomed with open arms to have a career with World Wrestling Entertainment, much like fellow fighter Brock Lesnar.

If Friday night was the end of Rousey’s fighting career, hopefully fans will remember her for what she gave to the sport — and for women in general — rather than the events of the past year. Before 2012, UFC president Dana White had no interest in women competing in his company. But as Rousey made a name for herself in the Strikeforce promotion — and as she became one of the most recognizable names in the sport — he had no choice but to offer her the opportunity to compete in the octagon. It was one of the smartest decisions he ever made, as only Conor McGregor is comparable in regards to bringing the company as much revenue (in regards to pay-per-view buys and media outreach) as Rousey does.

And in a world where a Kardashian is in every magazine and nearly every TV channel, Rousey presented a new type of hero. Though there have been examples of female athletes through the years that have shown girls that it’s OK to have a strong, athletic background, Rousey took it to the next level. She gave the example that you can have a strong, athletic background as a female and have a high level of success, not just in the octagon, but in multiple media outlets, as she is destined to do.

So while I won’t push my daughter into mixed martial arts (though she already has quite the grip for a two month old), I certainly won’t reprimand her if she wanted to. Especially if she aimed to have a career that’s comparable to Rousey’s.

Rousey has delivered a blueprint of what to do — and in Friday night’s case, what not to do — for an entire generation of young women. And dads like me are grateful.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer


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