Ronda Rousey: I’d be booed if I went back to a UFC event

Ronda Rousey was, at times, a polarizing figure in the MMA world.

And though she’s been gone from the sport for longer than she was in it, she remains a significant personality in the space – and remains polarizing.

With the release of her second book, “Our Fight,” in February, Rousey has been back in the spotlight more than she’s been at any time since she left the WWE. One of the big takeaways from the new book, aside from her admission that a history of concussions helped make up her mind to leave MMA, is that Rousey thinks she was treated poorly by members of the media after her back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, which were her final two MMA fights.

“MMA media” is a fairly all-inclusive term that many people equate not just with members of legacy and traditional media outlets – i.e. the Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY/MMA Junkie, ESPN – but also with broadcast analysts, former fighters who have preview shows on YouTube, or even a random blogger whose podcast gets 40 streams a week. It wasn’t clear if Rousey was talking about specific segments of the MMA media space.

Rousey told Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes of the High Performance podcast that what she wrote in her book about people hating her when she left MMA was “pretty accurate in my mind.”

“Ask the MMA media (why what I gave wasn’t enough) – they’re the ones saying it … that I was a fraud and I was hype and I was exposed and I was never anything and just lucky and all of these things, that I was ungracious or I was a loser, or every other thing that I just assume at this point because I don’t take the time to read it,” Rousey said.

“Everything that could be said that was negative was said, and I feel really vilified by MMA media at this point and not really welcome back, which is why I haven’t gone to a UFC fight since (I left). I’m pretty sure if I walked into the arena, I’d be booed. That’s how it feels.”

After her concussion revelation, Rousey has been supported by some high-profile figures in the MMA world – like Daniel Cormier. But she’s also been roundly criticized by others, like Jimmy Smith.

When it was suggested by the hosts that she perhaps was being hard on herself, Rousey reaffirmed she was talking about “what it’s like to have everyone hate you.”

“I live it,” Rousey said. “I guess I wish it didn’t (bother me). I gave them everything I had, and it wasn’t enough. But that’s why a lot of people don’t give everything that they have, because they don’t want to face it if it wasn’t enough. I realize it was enough for me, but not enough for people on the outside. But it really wasn’t for them.”

After she won bronze in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Rousey moved to MMA. She finished her first three amateur opponents in less than a minute, all by armbar. After she turned pro in 2011, the armbar barrage continued. She won the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title against Miesha Tate and set off arguably the biggest rivalry in women’s MMA history.

She was the reason Dana White relented and ushered the women’s era into the UFC in 2013. But after a 12-0 start with 11 first-round finishes and six UFC title defenses, she was upset by Holly Holm in 2015. Thirteen months later, when she tried to recapture the belt against Amanda Nunes, she was stopped in just 48 seconds.

The loss to Nunes remains her final MMA fight in December 2016. In 2017, Rousey signed with the WWE and started actively performing for the company in 2018. She left the WWE this past fall and announced her pro wrestling retirement, though she’s made one-off appearances for other wrestling organizations.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie