The toughness that Ronda Rousey has been known for throughout her combat sport career can be attributed to an early lesson from her mother, according to the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion herself.
As a result of an injury during a competition to her big toe at the ripe age of 11, Rousey’s mother made her run laps around the mat.
Rousey’s mother, AnnMaria De Mars, was the first American to take home gold at the World Judo Championships in 1984 so there was definitely a method to the madness.
“What she wanted me to learn was that even if something hurt I could still make it work,” an appreciative Rousey told Yahoo Sports. “If I was injured that doesn’t mean it was over, and I could still force my body to do whatever it needed to do.”
The 30-year-old admitted that the tough love helped her fight through pain and win her semifinal match in the 2007 Judo World Championships.
After defending champion Edith Bosch used an illegal maneuver to dislocate her elbow, Rousey was able to overcome the discomfort by popping her own elbow back in place.
“Because she made me run around that mat,” Rousey added, “and because I knew that even if something hurt I could make my body perform anyway is something [that] was more important than stopping something from hurting; the last few seconds I ran out and I threw that girl with one hand with the arm that I’d just popped back in over my head.”
It was in that exact instance that Rousey learned the value of her mother’s lesson.
“That was the moment where I was so thankful that my mom made me run circles around the mat with a broken toe,” Rousey noted.
Retired Super Bowl champion DeMarcus Ware, who will be coaching competing teams of celebrities alongside Rousey in the reboot of “Battle of the Network Stars,” asked the question on everyone’s mind: “Does that sound normal?!?!”
No, DeMarcus, it doesn’t sound normal at all.