Ronda Rousey isn’t down with fellow combat sports superstar Manny Pacquiao when it comes to the prize fighter’s recent incendiary comments about gays and lesbians. Celebrity news and gossip outlet TMZ tracked down the renowned female athlete and asked her about Pacquiao’s controversial anti-gay rant, as well as other topics. Ronda expressed sentiments that were largely in-step with the backlash generated by the Filipino prize fighter’s incendiary remarks.
“I understand that a lot of people use religions as the reason to be against gay people but maybe there was no ‘Thou shall not be gay.’ God never said that.”
Although she has typically avoided extensive discussion of her own religious beliefs, Rousey also referenced her own spirituality in discussing the situation with TMZ. In particular, she expressed appreciation and admiration for Pope Francis regarding his recent overtures to gays and lesbians worldwide.
“I really think that our Pope right now is boss and he was saying something the other day that religion should be all-encompassing and should be about welcoming everyone unloving everyone in and not leaving people out. I think … people take the wrong message sometimes.”
As previously reported by CNN, international boxing star Manny Pacquiao made disparaging comments about homosexuals during an interview on Filipino television earlier this month. According to an article by the Guardian, Pacquiao is a former Roman Catholic who is now a born-again Christian.
“It’s common sense,” Pacquiao said. “Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female? The animals are better. They know how to distinguish male from female. If we approve [of] male on male, female on female, then man is worse than animals.”
The 37-year-old pugilist attempted to walk back his controversial remarks a short time later via posts on multiple social media platforms, but a tide of backlash followed nonetheless. Pacquiao quickly lost a big endorsement deal with Nike in the immediate wake of the flap.
Ronda Rousey is not the only popular combat sports figure to weigh in on the hullabaloo caused by Pacquiao. Dave Bautista, who performed in WWE under the ring name “Batista,” had harsh words for the boxer when he talked to a TMZ interviewer last week.
“My mom happens to be a lesbian so I don’t f**king take that s**t,” said Bautista. “I don’t think it’s funny… If anyone called my mother an animal I’d stick my foot in his a**.”
Ronda Rousey also recently acknowledged contemplating suicide immediately following her shocking loss to Holly Holm late last year. During an interview with Ellen DeGeneres last week, she said she momentarily commented killing herself while in the locker room after the fight. Following up with TMZ, Rousey said she wants to help others with similar ideation because she knows through her own situation as well as her family history of suicide that the struggle is genuine and far-reaching.
“I feel like there’s been an overly negative light on [discussing suicidal thoughts]. It’s something real people are going through, not something like a weakness that we should condemn,” Ronda said.
For what it’s worth, Miesha Tate, now the No. 1 contender to Holm’s title, sympathized with Ronda’s post-defeat difficulties but said she couldn’t entirely relate to the sentiments expressed by her fellow fighter. Not unlike Rousey’s public discourse with Manny Pacquiao, Tate used her own spirituality as a point of reference in the conversation. Her remarks were reported by Fox Sports.
“When [Rousey] says like, ‘Oh, I was, you know, considering suicide,’ I don’t necessarily think she meant like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go home and, you know, actually do it,’ but it just feels like you want to die,” Tate said. “I’ve never considered taking my own life. For me, especially religiously, it is just never an option for me.”
Miesha Tate will face Holly Holm for UFC’s bantamweight title in early March. The winner of that bout will likely square off against former champ Ronda Rousey later this year.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]