(TUF has made the public hate Ronda Rousey. But she is who she is. / Photo via Getty)
By Brian J. D’Souza
Being a woman in combat sports presents unique challenges when it comes to audience perception. For Ronda Rousey, the fairy tale-esque origin story of her being an American Olympian with tragedy in her childhood catapulted her into the spotlight as a mainstream media darling. But as quickly as she was built up as the newest UFC star, her coaching position on The Ultimate Fighter has torn her down from the pedestal of adulation.
This all raises the question — who is the real Ronda Rousey? Is she a spoiled brat who overruns boundaries because she feels entitled to preferential treatment? Or was she manipulated into losing her cool on the Ultimate Fighter set, with the results being slickly edited to paint her in the worst light possible?
CagePotato’s Elias Cepeda attributed Ronda’s athletic success to her crazy attitude, writing “Ronda Rousey hasn’t met anyone meaner or madder and that’s a big reason why she’s the champ.” However, the truth can’t be so simple when nice guys like Lennox Lewis and Georges St-Pierre have utterly dominated their competition throughout their respective eras.
Doing media in the lead-up to her rematch with Miesha Tate at UFC 168, Rousey was in fine form recently, riffing lines to FightHubTV that could be penned by whoever writes Chael Sonnen’s politically incorrect jokes.
“How long ago was it that Kim Kardashian had dicks in her mouth and now she’s selling my little sister shoes?” she said at one point, trotting out some old material to the delight of the reporters in the room.
Talking to AnnMaria De Mars, Ronda’s mother, I thought I’d uncover some hidden clues to unlocking or understanding Ronda’s personality. The idiom of the apple not falling far from the tree has been used to compare the 1984 world judo champion to her daughter who placed second at the 2007 world championships and earned a bronze at the 2008 Olympic games.
“People are sometimes offended by Ronda because she does not fit how they think she should act,” wrote AnnMaria on her blog about Ronda’s stint on TUF. “At Ronda’s age, given the same degree of provocation, I would have punched out a few people, hit someone with a chair, told everyone to fuck off and walked out.”