Rousey: ‘It kind of bends and snaps and crunches’

Bryce Duffy

An interview with Ronda Rousey, UFC fighter, 27

What does it feel like to dislocate someone’s elbow?
Like tearing a turkey apart. Like, you take the arm off a turkey, it kind of bends and snaps and crunches, and you take it off.

That’s more vivid than I’d bargained for. Are you unemotional about it at this point?
I’m completely unemotional when I’m fighting, definitely. I don’t have time to have a big think about anything. But afterward, if I like the chick, I kind of feel bad for her. If I don’t, then whatever.

Being controversial and outspoken, is that all to help grow your sport?
I think it’s important to remember that we’re all entertainers. If you can create a storyline between fighters, you create an extra reason to care about the fight.

How much of that is really you and how much of it is the image you’re portraying?
Everything in public is just a very over-exaggerated version of myself. I don’t have this much energy all the time.

Well, your trash-talking is quite good.
My mom is a teacher in developmental psychology. My three sisters are all very, very educated. They’re the sharpest, wittiest people you’ve ever met. And I grew up in a gym with a bunch of guys who were constantly busting my balls to make themselves more comfortable having a girl in the gym. So I kind of have a mix between academia speech and simple speech, which has helped my repertoire of trash-talking. [Laughs]

Let’s hear it. Attack me with trash talk.
No, I don’t really feel like it, ’cause you don’t deserve it.

Thanks, that’s nice. Is there anything you like about Miesha Tate [Rousey’s rival in The Ultimate Fighter 18 and twice-defeated opponent]?
I like that she’s really tenacious when she fights. Even if she’s losing really badly, you can’t really pound her out; she’s always still trying. And she’s a cute-enough chick. She’s good-looking and marketable, which helps us all out.

Who do you hang out with away from fighting?
I have the same core group of people around me all the time. We pretty much live in a house together on the beach. A lot of them fight or are around the fight game, so they get what I’m going through. It’s hard to have a really meaningful civilian relationship for very long.

You’ve described yourself as abnormal. How come?
I had a very abnormal upbringing and I’m in a very unusual environment and I have an unusual family and I ended up an unusual person.

You’ve also said none of the girls have “the right” to beat you. What do you mean?
In judo, I fought a lot of girls from countries like Cuba and France and Japan and Brazil that had the best programs and great coaches—they had every reason to win. My mom would always turn to me and say, “Regardless of where these girls are from, regardless of what they’ve done before, nobody has the right to beat you.” And I’ve always carried that with me.

What’s the worst question you’ve ever been asked?
I was at a press conference and some guy asked me how many times do I like to get f—ed before I fight.

Wow. What did you say?
I said that if his mother was standing right behind him when he asked that question, do you think she would be ashamed of him? What would she think?

That’s a good answer. Do you prepare for situations like that?
I brace myself for a lot of hate. [Women’s] MMA was suffering when I came along. Everybody was scared to really accumulate any kind of criticism, and therefore everyone was really, really boring. So for the sake of entertainment, I welcome a lot of hate.

Do you enjoy it a little bit?
I don’t think anybody enjoys being hated.

Have you ever said anything you wished you could take back?
I’ve said things that have been recorded when I didn’t know I was being recorded.

Oh, that’s a dirty move.
Yeah, it is.

How would your friends describe you?
Complicated. [Laughs]

Because I’m complicated. The answer is complicated. [Laughs]

OK, I’ll leave it there. Don’t hurt me.

This story originally appeared in Sportsnet magazine. Subscribe here.

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