At this point you know who she is. At the very least you have heard her name. She’s the most famous female athlete of our time and for the last three years when it came to taking a risk on her; she has been a sure thing. Regardless if it was placing a bet or using her to gain marketing exposure she always came out on top and those that stood beside her built very strong brands on the back of her hard work and star power.
She’s been featured in multiple movies, made the rounds on the late night circuit and signed lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of Reebok, Carl’s Jr., Metro PCS and Monster Energy. She’s won multiple awards for her achievements and was named the ‘Best Female Athlete’ at the 2015 ESPY Awards.
Nothing could stop Ronda Rousey.
Until the 0:59 mark in the second round of her title defense at UFC 193 on November 14th, Rousey was invincible. Once an undefeated UFC champion and absolute sure thing, Rousey found her personal brand falling. A flurry of punches and a left kick severely rocked the security of the brand she tirelessly worked to build and placed question whether she was still marketable.
When I first saw news that Ronda Rousey was KO’d, shock went through me. As a (-2000) favorite I thought she would win and continue to build her star power and skyrocket her marketability. I’ll admit that I thought she would take a hit to her personal brand, but not to the extent that others believe. A few self-proclaimed ‘brand experts’ claim that many if not all of her sponsors would drop her as a result of her loss.
Whoa… let’s take a step back.
All the greats have fallen. They will continue to fall as history always repeats itself. But it’s their rise from the fall that supplants their greatness and makes consumers enamored with their personal brand. A fall from the top is not the end of the world; instead it’s a mere speedbump. We cannot forget that Rousey was a sure thing as a brand ambassador; however, with a loss in the rematch her appeal and sponsorship opportunities will dry up.
Consumers will never tire of a good come-back story. If Rousey can return to the octagon and be even more dominant than she was before her loss, the sponsors that stand by her will reap massive rewards and new deals will spring frequently. The only difference this time around is that there is actually risk involved. Because now, the only thing that is certain is that Rousey is no longer a lock.