Why did former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey take her downfall so hard when she lost back-to-back bouts in the Octagon? Because her mom didn’t teach her how to lose.
Rousey credits her parents, and her mom in particular, with a lot of the wherewithal it took for her to forge a path to success. That doesn’t simply apply to her career in Judo, where Rousey followed in her mom’s footsteps, rising to the Olympic level to the tune of a Bronze Medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. It also applies to the trail she blazed, smashing the door wide open for women in the UFC.
Now, she’s taking her career in another direction, emerging at the top of the game in the world of professional wrestling. Rousey made her WWE debut as one of the key players in the sports entertainment promotion’s cornerstone event of the year, WrestleMania 34.
When Rousey rose to the top of the heap in the Octagon, she made a beeline for the precipice. Rousey was named the first female UFC champion when the promotion absorbed Strikeforce, and she then won six fights in a row, which made the fall from the peak all the more precarious.
Holly Holm knocked Rousey out in the UFC 193 main event in November of 2015 in Australia.
As Rousey said on Wednesday, she wasn’t prepared for that.
“One thing my mother never taught me was how to lose,” Rousey told director Peter Berg, who directed her in the coming film “Mile 22,” and presided over a question and answer session with her on Wednesday at CinemaCon.
“She’d say, ‘I want you to never entertain (losing) as a possibility. Let it suck. It deserves to suck.'”
Rousey followed the loss to Holm by getting knocked out even quicker by current UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes a year later. She made it through her back-to-back disappointments spending a lot of time crying in the arms of her husband, fellow UFC veteran Travis Browne.
“I always wanted to be so tough. I found a way to make crying tough. My mom didn’t teach me how to deal with (losing). (So) I did a whole lot of crying, isolating myself. (Travis) held me and let me cry, and it lasted two years. I couldn’t have done it alone.”
Having made it through the tough times has helped Rousey to find her current path with the WWE, but it wasn’t easy. She is one of the biggest stars the UFC has ever known, and when she found the spotlight difficult to manage in the midst of those two losses, the scrutiny only continued to get worse, so she shut most of it down.
While most people were inspired as she rose to the top of the UFC, as many now seem to revel in piling on to her fall from grace.
“We live in an age of trial by Twitter. What’s really gained by stating your opinion on anything? It whittles people down. It gets cut and pasted 10 times and it’s in headlines,” Rousey said when talking about her decision to spend less time speaking with the media.
“(Famous people) keep more and more of it to themselves. Why should I talk? I believe hearing me speak is a privilege and it’s a privilege that’s been abused, so why not revoke it from everyone? I don’t believe public criticism, beating you down, is the right thing to do.”