Sports Round-up: UFC rivalries and NRL controversy

Everybody is waiting for the Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm rematch but could it be possible that, when it eventually does happen, Rousey will go into the octagon as champion? The fly in the ointment is Miesha Tate. As we know, Holm is set to fight Tate at UFC197 on March 6 and everybody expects a walkover. The supporting evidence cites Holm’s devastating win over Rousey and Tate’s two losses to Rousey. But Tate is a better stand-up fighter than Rousey and so less likely to be dominated on her feet, which was Rousey’s downfall, and which gives her a chance to match Holm before getting her on the ground. The biggest downside in a Tate win over Holm would undoubtedly lead to a third fight with Rousey, where Rousey would be an un-backable favourite to win again. And get the title back. And then let Holm challenge her again.

Speaking of rematches we don’t necessarily want to see, Manny Pacquiao announced overnight he will fight Tim Bradley for the third and last time in what will be his last fight in the sport. It’s worth asking why have the fight at all. It can’t be money, as Pacquiao has fought for the some of the biggest purses in the sport. And while honours are split one fight apiece, it can’t be to settle the score as every good judge agrees Pacqiuao won both fights but was the victim of horrible judging in the loss to Bradley.

Worrying revelations in the Sydney Morning Herald today, with news breaking that the NRL has invited two AFL club bosses Geelong boss Brian Cook and Richmond boss Brendon Gale to apply for the vacant NRL chief executive job. It has prompted some NRL heavyweights to ask, once again, why is the NRL inviting the fox into the henhouse?

The NRL can spin it any way they like, but Shane Richardson’s 12 months as the head of strategy was a failure. A wage of $600,000-plus to produce a blueprint for the game’s future, which has been accepted by the ARL Commission but was met with derision by many in clubland. It was hardly a slam dunk and Richardson’s exit from the NRL caught many inside the building by surprise.