MMA star Ronda Rousey becomes an admirable female force as she takes a stand on body image and the legal state of MMA whilst continuing to dominate all worthy opponents inside the cage. How much do we love thee? Let me count the ways.
The UFC’s first female champion, and current bantamweight belt holder, ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey faced an undeniably dangerous appointment in February this year at UFC 184 in the form of Cat Zingo. One of the most anticipated female fights since the division began, Zingo was viewed as Ronda’s first proper challenge and just as we all started to believe this piece of advertising gold, Ronda stopped a charging Zingo within the first 14 seconds of the fight in spectacular fashion with an unusually positioned arm bar. She also somehow managed to beat her previous finish time of 16 seconds. And yet she still she continues to impress, but not just with her fighting.
Ronda has created an empire since becoming the first female UFC champion and she’s perhaps the most marketable fighter from the entire UFC roster. She’s starred in huge action movies including The Expendables 3 and the newest installment of the Fast and Furious series and she’s become the cover girl of many, many magazines, including Sports Illustrated and Maxim. And whilst she’s a fantastic specimen of the female form, for Sports Illustrated she wanted to look like herself, not the excessively ripped and slightly de-hydrated version we see during weigh-inns and fights. While the difference is subtle, its refreshing to see a woman not succumbing to the pressures of the media.
In a recent interview with espnW she declared “how I look on the scale is not how I always look […] I’m 135 pounds for a few hours a year […] I don’t want to tell a lie. It would be unhealthy for me to look like that every day.” And when asked by interviewee Allison Glock if people are ‘allowing’ her to come to shoots as she is and at the weight she wants she answers simply; “how could they stop me?”.
Needless to say, when I read that line I fell a little more in love.
Her admirable actions continue in her newest fight with a very different kind of opponent, the New York state Assembly. Currently, MMA is illegal in New York, a sad state of affairs when you think of the talent the sport shows, the usually forward thinking image New York promotes and the epic events that could be held in New York. And Ronda agrees; “its pretty much ridiculous that MMA is not regulated here” she proclaims. But as she journeys to New York to fight this law, she’s optimistic and in a phone interview with Daily News Sunday she declares “I’d be surprised if the bill doesn’t pass this year, I have a huge sense of optimism for this year.” And so she should. With a star of her stature in support, the opposition are unlikely to get the nod. It’ll be yet another win on her record.
Ronda has a huge year ahead of her. Whilst in the midst of a promotional tour for her upcoming fight against Bethe Corriea, on August 1st in Rio de Janeiro, she also has two upcoming movies, a new book and many, many TV appearances including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. But over the next coming months you might see the ‘rowdy’ Ronda raise her ugly head as the fight with Correia has transformed into a personal vendetta.
After defeating three of Ronda’s training partners and bragging about it, Bethe has been gunning for Ronda since her UFC debut in 2013 and has shown little respect for the champion. So Ronda has hit back in the nastiest of fashions; in the promotional video for the fight she hisses “I don’t just want to defeat her, I want her to leave the arena embarrassed.” Not the best display of athletic diplomacy and while I dislike this kind of hostility between two fighters, I understand it can’t always be easy being friendly with the person you initially want to beat the crap out of, especially if they have insulted your friends or family. So I’ll let this one slide and jump aboard Ronda’s anti-Bethe campaign.
Ronda has done so much that women, and men, can be proud of. Not only has she broken world records during her Judo and MMA career, she’s taken a stand on body image and refused to be anyone but herself for the media. She has one of the most admirable work ethics ever witnessed in an athlete and she continues to improve her technique each time she fights; the 16 second and 14 second finishes should prove that alone. Added bonus; she Judo flipped a male TV host after he declared she couldn’t beat a man. Take a look at that here.
So what’s next, dear Ronda? President? I would not be surprised.
Visit http://www.ufc.tv to watch Ronda in action. You should get through her entire catalogue of fights within about 20-25 minutes.