I would be lying if I said I liked MMA before I saw Ronda Rousey.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed tears when she got knocked out by Holly Holm.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t get my hopes way up the minute I saw her make her walkout at the Amanda Nunes fight.
Little known fact about me, I love watching UFC fights and I am a consensual violence enthusiast. I’ve been told that mixed martial arts does fit my persona but I really beg to differ! I have a great respect for the amount that the fighters train and push themselves leading up to the fight. MMA is also an insane mental game that requires intelligence and mental toughness, and it should never be discounted as a sport.
I find inspiration from watching many different male and female fighters, but I truly resonated with Ronda Rousey and all of the adversity she has overcome when I was pushing through extra resistance on the elliptical or going the extra mile on my runs.
Ronda Rousey is a huge inspiration to me, I read her book My Fight/ Your Fight that she wrote with her sister, who is a writer for ESPN. Her stories about her will to win in her Olympic Judo Career and the amount of adversity she overcame throughout her life of training were very inspiring. I also found her to be an incredible relatable female athlete.
Post-Holly Holm defeat Ronda talked about making sense of her life:
“all the best things come from all the worst things”
she demonstrated this same sense of optimism and tenacity in her book.
My heart was broken seeing someone so inspiring to me get knocked out the first time, and I waited patiently for Ronda’s comeback. My heart hurt again seeing Ronda defeated again, and showing no fight.
I’ve had sometime to go through the five stages of grief (seriously) and compose my thoughts. I too tried to find the purpose of my idol’s defeat.
1. Always listen to your mother
This is something that I already learned years ago. I am the type of person that rarely goes a day without calling their mom and consulting her for advice. Everyone has a unique relationship with their moms but when moms offer advice, they are always looking out for your best interest.
For those who don’t know Ronda’s mom Annmaria De Mars, she has an MBA and a Ph.D in educational psychology. She’s definitely not a dummy. Not to mention she was a world champion in the martial art of Judo. She was blunt and very public about her distaste for Ronda’s MMA coach, Edmond Tarverdyan.
Last February Annamaria said regarding Ronda’s coach,
“We haven’t talked about it too much, because I told her flat out that I think that guy she’s training with is an idiot and a fraud”
Ronda’s mom went on to say that Ronda got this far on her established talent, which looking back is not a controversial statement. Many agree now in hindsight that Edmond is a fraud, counting the fact that fighters that have moved to his gym develop losing records.
2. Don’t play the victim
When Ronda had the attitude of a winner, and was invested in going down as the greatest, nobody doubted her. Even powerful Joe Rogan proclaimed after she knocked out Bethe Correia:
“She is better than she ever was before, and she was already the best.”
It was surprising to see Ronda marketed as an underdog vs. Amanda Nunes. Being an underdog, or the victim is not what made Ronda a champ.
3. Evolve or die
Amanda Nunes said after that fight that Ronda’s coach told her that she could box, when clearly she showed no boxing improvement at all. Ronda has been under Edmond her whole career, but along with her mother, many agree that Edmond as a coach really never did much to improve her skills. In fact, it seems like Edmond
4. Face the tough questions
I hate to admit it but Ronda dodged all the tough questions from after the Holly Holm fight, before then she did every media outlet. Regarding Ronda’s blackout Miesha Tate said it best:
“It makes you wonder where her head is at”
Facing your toughest critics in life is necessary in order to prove them wrong. As much as we all love Ellen Degeneres, Ronda only making appearances there was a cop-out. Seeing fighters do the “pressers” pre and post fight is where there is so much emotion and drama, and Ronda skipping out on this shows that she was not emotionally ready to face those who doubted her.
5. Keep Your Ego in Check
This was something huge before the Holly Holm fight, I think that Ronda lost some fans when she went after Holly in the UFC 193. Having winner’s mentality is much different than having the mentality that you cannot lose. Ronda didn’t take Holly seriously as a competitor and she paid greatly for that.
6. Don’t criticize someone for trying
Fighters who have posted on social media making fun of Ronda, or even Amanda Nunes who has become less humble in her victory are not winning me over as a fan. I appreciate those who recognize what Ronda did for the sport and are looking toward a big future in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight division.
I still think it’s okay to idolize people sometimes, to find motivation from their feats and feel their pain in their defeats. Even though I feel sadness watching Ronda Rousey fall from greatness, I am thankful that I am now a fan of MMA. I am also thankful for all the times I didn’t feel like going to the gym but found a spurt of inspiration thinking about Ronda Rousey training to keep her belt.
Someone asked me the other day what I would ideally want next from Ronda Rousey. I really don’t know how to answer this question I would love to see Ronda prevail again like a true Rocky Balboa story, but realistically I think she mentally ready to move on. I know that what made Ronda Rousey a champion was herself alone, so I don’t ever see her training with a true MMA team in the future. The only thing I can hope for Ronda is that she finds happiness in her future outside of MMA. Although I can reflect on what led to Ronda’s downfall, I also think she would have never found greatness in the first place without her stubborn emotional attitude and ego.
Keep fighting the good fight,