(Ronda Rousey after successfully defending her UFC bantamweight title against Liz Carmouche in February. | Photo via Getty)
By Elias Cepeda
There seems to be a lot of chatter about Ronda Rousey’s mental state lately. The UFC women’s bantamweight champion has always gotten attention for her intensity and arm-snapping viciousness, but ever since Rousey the TUF 18 Coach began appearing on television a few weeks ago, the notion that the undefeated fighter is mentally unstable has started to pick up steam.
There was Ronda becoming infuriated when Meisha Tate dared to celebrate her own fighter’s win over Team Rousey’s Shayna Baszler. There was Ronda getting in the face of and taunting Tate’s coach/manager/boyfriend Bryan Caraway. There was Ronda kicking open the UFC gym door and screaming Tate’s team out because they’d gone approximately 30 seconds over their scheduled time. In last week’s episode, Ronda launched some of her trademark hostility against UFC vet and Team Tate assistant coach Dennis Hallman.
And then, of course, there’s Ronda crying. A lot. Like, all the time.
Not your normal, boo-hoo type of crying, either. Hers is an angry, motivated and terrifying type of cry. Former Strikeforce champion and would-be Rousey rival Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino called Rousey “mentally sick” after watching her on The Ultimate Fighter. Recently, Hallman did an interview where he recounted a story of an incident he said happened on the TUF set where Rousey told a producer of the show to shut their mouth while she was speaking to her, and then said that he believed that Ronda had mental health issues.
I’ve already written in partial jest that Rousey’s mind is evidently a dark and scary place, but is the two-time Olympian “crazy?” The simple answer is, “no.”
If Ronda Rousey is crazy, it’s the type of crazy that has become familiar to us in great competitors. Rousey isn’t an out-of-control head case, she’s a competitor. She’s not crazy, she’s a champion. And like many champions before her, Ronda is a fiercer competitor than most professional athletes. Her hyper-competitiveness, her apparent need to establish dominance in almost every and any situation, and her ability to used even perceived slights as fuel are traits Rousey shares with the likes of Michael Jordan and Anderson Silva.