In advance of the UFC’s first women’s title fight on February 23rd, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche are getting the Primetime treatment, with a three-episode mini-series introducing viewers to the fighters’ personalities and personal histories. As we learn, Rousey and Carmouche both found themselves directionless after formative experiences — the Olympics for Rousey, the Marines for Carmouche — until MMA opened new chapters in their lives. The similarities end there, pretty much. Rousey is currently living the upwardly-mobile life of a UFC champion, while Carmouche is still broke as hell, working full days at the San Diego Combat Academy just to make ends meet.
A win for Carmouche would be life-changing, and she revels in the opportunity. “I absolutely think I’m going to spoil the UFC’s plans,” she says with a smile. (Hey, whatever happened to looking out for the company?)
Even if Liz is set up as the scrappy underdog who has fought tooth and nail to get where she is, the episode makes sure to push the adversity in Rousey’s life even harder. For better or worse, the Primetime series reaches an all-time high of emotional intensity in the final segment of this episode, as Rousey describes the heart-wrenching story of her father’s suicide, then breaks down in a moment of self-loathing for telling it. “I feel like I’m prostituting his memory for my own career gain, and it makes me feel like a fucking asshole,” she says through tears. Powerful stuff. Give it a look, and you’ll see a side of “Rowdy Ronda” that you might not have known about.