It’s been a tough period for Ronda Rousey following her devastating knockout loss to Holly Holm. The former UFC Women’s Bantam Weight Champion was initially scarce following the harsh defeat. In retrospect, it’s hardly surprising.
Almost within minutes of the loss, social media was flooded with a full range of mocking memes and cruel jokes at the expense of Rousey’s lowest personal and professional moment. In audio recordings of Ronda after the KO, you can hear her struggling to come to terms with what had just happened.
Perhaps people were so gleeful about seeing Ronda Rousey meet her match that they forgot to care what such a moment — and the public response to it — could do to a person’s psyche. It’s something many UFC fight fans weren’t truly aware of until after Rousey sat for an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
“Honestly, my thought in the medical room, I was sitting in the corner and was like, ‘What am I anymore if I’m not this?'” Rousey said. “Literally sitting there thinking about killing myself. In that exact second, I’m like, ‘I’m nothing. What do I do anymore? No one gives a s**t about me anymore without this.'”
Perhaps the biggest revelation aside from the suicidal thoughts, which Rousey thankfully talked herself away from, is how mentally married to the idea of her undefeated streak and overall hype Ronda Rousey actually was.
And that’s startling.
Most fighters — and most mature adults — anticipate the inevitability of disappointment and defeat. That’s just a part of life. That she had no one in her corner to prepare her for such a reality (and I include “hype master ” Dana White in this), is absolutely frustrating.
In life, it’s not about getting knocked down; it’s always about the ability to get back up again. She was not psychologically prepared for what amounts to reality before facing Holm. Hearing her words lately makes me wonder if that’s still the case.
Perhaps it would be inauthentic of Ronda Rousey to move forward with a new attitude. As I discussed in my Conor McGregor article, sometimes UFC fans are watching to see if the fearless and cocky attitudes displayed by undefeated champions is merely for show. In Ronda Rousey’s defense, her brash behavior seems legit.
That’s highly problematic given what her immediate behavior was before being rocked by Holly Holm.
I feel sorry for Ronda Rousey in that people were cruel to her. Hearing how badly the memes and the jokes affected her psyche makes me regret even writing about the memes that came with her loss.
However, I cannot retract my personal criticism of her treatment of challenger Holly Holm, someone who was so gracious to her in victory, it highlighted exactly how childish Ronda Rousey’s own behavior had been.
Holm is anything but a “do nothing b***ches,” a term that Ronda loves to toss around when criticizing other women. Holly did not deserve that disrespectful Instagram post or that refusal to touch gloves. Ronda may be true to herself, but “herself” is someone who lacks maturity and proper guidance. “Herself” is also someone who would be better off establishing a healthy identity for herself that is not limited to being an undefeated UFC women’s champion.
The more I think about it, the more hesitant I am to see Ronda Rousey step back into the Octagon against Holly Holm. We will see when Miesha Tate takes on Holly Holm whether or not her win was a fluke. I’m quite certain it’s not, but given the response to her, it’s hard not to believe there is a purposeful lack of promotion of Holm in the hopes that Rousey will be given the chance to take her so-called “rightful place” as champion.
Should Tate win, I expect this type of talk to explode into crazy hype on the part of the UFC. If the UFC does the same were Miesha to get her behind handed to her on a silver platter, I’ll call it outright irresponsible.
I do not think, given Ronda Rousey’s lack of mental and emotional maturity at this stage, that she could handle another terrible loss. I do feel that everyone rushing her back to the ring is doing it for profit and that no one is looking out for her.
That Rousey was allowed to enter the Octagon against Holly Holm with such unbelievably unrealistic expectations and lack of preparation is evidence of that.
I sincerely hope that there is a sports psychologist and mental health therapist available for Ronda Rousey at the time of her fight and afterward — especially should she lose again. More importantly, I hope that Ronda Rousey is encouraged to establish a realistic vision of herself as a fighter and form an identity that isn’t married to life as an undefeated woman’s champ.
Ronda Rousey is no longer an undefeated woman’s champion — and that’s okay. One doesn’t have to be physically undefeated to be an outstanding champion. What’s important is to have focus, gumption, and the right mentality.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]