The tears flowed Wednesday night as Ronda Rousey opened up about the two devastating losses that ended her UFC career.
“I did a whole lot of crying, isolating myself,” a teary-eyed Rousey told movie director Peter Berg at his boxing gym in LA on Wednesday during a public Q&A. Berg is directing Rousey in the upcoming Mark Wahlberg action movie “Mile 22.”
“[My husband Travis Browne] held me and let me cry, and it lasted two years. I couldn’t have done it alone,” Rousey said, according to The LA Times.
The picture Rousey painted Wednesday brought much-needed context to one of the most shocking falls in UFC history.
Rousey started her MMA career by winning 12 fights in a row. Often, the victories came in mere seconds, which created an almost mythical bubble around the UFC inaugural women’s bantamweight champion. It seemed as if she were unbeatable.
Then, in 2015, the bubble burst. Holly Holm stepped into the cage with Rousey and knocked her out with a legendary head kick. After the fight, Rousey dropped off the face of the earth. She stopped talking to the press and only gave updates to UFC president Dana White. Sometimes he’d relay what Rousey said to the public, at other times he’d stay silent.
The former champion took a lot of flak during this period because she demanded peace and quiet in defeat while she’d lapped up superstardom when she was winning. During her title reign, Rousey appeared in both “The Fast & the Furious” and “The Expendables” action-movie franchises. She also posed nearly nude in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
Then, after a 13-month wait, Rousey returned from her isolation to fight newly crowned bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. The fight was a disaster for Rousey. Looking like a deer caught in the headlights, she was knocked out in under a minute.
Rousey once again retreated into herself and into the waiting arms of Browne, now her husband.
“I couldn’t have done it alone,” Rousey said through tears Wednesday. “There’s a lot of things you have to remember. Every missed opportunity is a blessing in disguise. My nanny always said, ‘God always knows what he’s doing even if you don’t.’ I had to learn from experience and believe it’s still true. From the worst things, the best things have come as a result. Time is a great teacher. It’s that belief that time passes … even [bad] time, it passes. People need to learn not to be too rough on yourself, or get too down.”
Rousey also revealed why the losing affected her so much.
“One thing my mother never taught me was how to lose,” she told Berg, “She’d say, ‘I want you to never entertain it as a possibility. Let it suck. It deserves to suck.’ 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 that stuff.”
While Wednesday’s conversation was revealing, it wasn’t the first time Rousey had an emotional breakdown when speaking about her losses.
In 2016, a teary-eyed Rousey told Ellen DeGeneres that she was suicidal in the moments after her loss to Holm.
Now, however, Rousey never has to worry about losing again. That’s because she’s no longer fighting for real, she’s “fighting” in the WWE, where everything is scripted. Even the tears.
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