Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and current WWE superstar Ronda Rousey was not a fan of Conor McGregor’s actions to promote his fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, as suggested by her comments in a recent interview with TMZ Sports.
Earlier in the week, TMZ Sports caught up with Rousey and her husband, UFC heavyweight fighter Travis Browne, and asked the reigning Monday Night Raw Women’s Champion if she thinks McGregor and Nurmagomedov should have a rematch after their UFC 229 bout ended in controversy. Rousey admitted that she didn’t watch the actual fight but was aware of the aftermath, and unimpressed by the incident in April where McGregor and several other fighters were shown on video attacking a bus at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and injuring a number of UFC competitors.
“I understand promoting fights and having to sell them. I really do. But, I don’t think people have to get arrested in order to do that,” said Rousey.
“I think I’ve been able to prove that you can make a fight exciting and make people really wanna see it without crossing any legal lines.”
Ronda Rousey also compared last week’s post-match brawl at UFC 229 to the bus attack from earlier this year and told TMZ Sports‘ reporter that the former incident didn’t carry the same gravity as the latter. She justified this by mentioning that the bus attack affected some of her friends, including welterweight fighter Michael Chiesa, who was hit by shards of glass from a broken window during the incident and consequently had to miss his fight against Anthony Pettis at UFC 223.
Ronda Rousey has LEGIT concerns about the direction the UFC's heading in. https://t.co/KR1Tm7QtkK— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) October 13, 2018
Commenting on whether she feels the UFC should punish Khabib Nurmagomedov for his role in the UFC 229 brawl, Rousey said that the company should have “drawn [the line] before that,” and that fighters should be treated equally regardless of their drawing power.
“I just feel like there has to be equal treatment all the way across the board. I don’t think that anyone should get special treatment because they’re a bigger draw.”
While the Nevada Athletic Commission took action against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor and suspended them for the melee that took place after their UFC 229 fight, the UFC has received a lot of criticism for its perceived preferential treatment toward McGregor, as noted by TMZ Sports. According to Bleacher Report, UFC President Dana White initially referred to April’s bus attack as the “most disgusting thing” in the promotion’s history, but ultimately refused to give comment on whether he actually approved the company’s use of footage from the incident in the pre-fight video packages released ahead of UFC 229.
“It’s part of the storyline,” White told reporters at the UFC 229 pre-fight press conference in September.
“There have been other situations where things have happened leading up to a fight. You play the story the way the story played out.”
Despite how she shared a similar point of view with other fight pundits who believe McGregor should have received sanctions for the bus attack, Ronda Rousey ended her interview with TMZ Sports by admitting that she still sees the Irish fighter as a friend whom she’d “lobby for” if he ever decided to join her in the WWE.