The fight runs deep in the Rousey lineage. Not only was Ronda Rousey’s mom a seventh-degree black belt in judo, but Ronda’s great grandpa was one of the first black physicians in North America and a major pioneer in the Canadian civil rights movement.
The revelation came about by chance when a TMZ reporter asked Ronda’s mother what was the last movie she saw. Rousey’s mom, Dr. AnnMaria De Mars, was spending time in Los Angeles with her warrior woman daughter when she gave a surprising answer.
“Before His Time. It’s about my grandfather, Ronda’s great grandfather,” she chimed in when Ronda politely declined to answer. “They show it during Black History Month every year in Canada because he was one of the first black physicians in North America.”
A little scouting around revealed that Rousey’s great grandfather was the esteemed Dr. Alfred Waddell, a black latino physician originally from Trinidad who set out with his wife, Emilia, to New York to study medicine at Columbia University. No American practice would take the young black doctor though, so he headed to Nova Scotia, Canada, and once he was established, he sent for his wife.
It was hard work for a young black doctor and he had a tough time supporting his wife and four children, but that didn’t deter him from providing medicine to many isolated people in black communities far from town and speaking out against injustice when he saw it. He even opened his home to Cab Calloway when the local hotels turned him away because of his skin.
You can watch the documentary on Ronda Rousey’s great grandpa here.
Ronda first revealed her black heritage in 2012 in an interview with Sports Illustrated. She also made mention of her father’s strong stance on civil rights when recalling his courage.
“I get my courage from him,” she told the magazine, and then went on to tell the story of the time her father promoted a black man to a supervisory position. When employees complained and said “We’re not going to work for a black man,” Rousey’s father said simply “Then you will be fired by a black man.”
The former UFC champ was in Los Angeles spending time with her mother and sister. After Holly Holm’s shocking loss by rear naked choke to Miesha Tate (whom Rousey has twice submitted via armbar in two other title fights) on March 5, it is still up in the air as to whom Ronda will fight next. Dana White slated Ronda to rematch Miesha directly after her win over the reigning champ Holm, but Ronda’s schedule means that may not be until October or November this year.
Miesha came out yesterday indicating that a fight may come sooner, telling UFC Tonight that she’s ready for anybody.
“I think that what I’ve decided as the champ that I need to have the mentality that I can be ready to beat anybody in the world at any time,” says Tate. “I’m not trying to look past anyone because I feel like there’s so many top contenders out there right now. I could name obviously Ronda (Rousey), Holly (Holm), Cat Zingano, Amanda Nunes, even Julianna Pena — those are all really solid competition and I don’t want to think ‘well I’m set on just this one person.’ I’ve got a contract signed and it’s not really my job to pick who’s next.”
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]