Ronda Rousey had just beaten Miesha Tate by an armbar submission in UFC 168 when she made the move that could define the rest of her UFC career.
Though the two have been locked in a bitter rivalry that has included trading barbs in the press, the defeated Tate still reached out to Tate to offer a handshake. Ronda Rousey had other thoughts, refusing Tate’s good will offer and bringing down a rain of boos from the crowd.
Rousey seems to be embracing her new role as villain, and said she doesn’t care much what fans think of her.
“The cheers were never anything that I developed an appendage to,” said Rousey. “I never expected them to be permanent. People are fickle, they sway back and forth.”
Ronda said she actually got used to playing the bad guy during her judo career.
“When I was in judo, it was the same thing. I’d travel all over the world — 30 different countries — I’ve never been cheered for in my life,” Rousey said in a telephone interview with The Times. “I was always the villain, the bad guy. Everyone wanted the American to get her [rear] kicked.”
Rousey says her ill will goes back to filming of the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter earlier this year.
“I feel like the day that she formally apologizes to my coach Edmond (Tarverdyan) and Chris Beal and they accept that apology, then I will consider shaking your hand again,” Rousey said after UFC 168. “I said up there boos are not (more) important to me than my family. If I feel like you’ve done wrong against my family, you need to make that right before I can shake your hand. It means something to me, it’s not something I just throw out there.”
Ronda Rousey now has a difficult follow-up match in Sara McMann, who is 7-0 and a 2004 Olympic wrestling silver medalist. The two will face off in UFC 170 in February.