Rousey gives her take on UFC 229 brawl, Khabib-McGregor punishment


Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey is set to become one of the top stars in WWE. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP Images for WWE)

Ronda Rousey knows a thing or two about trash talk, bad blood and hyping up a fight.

The UFC Hall of Famer and former women’s bantamweight champion, however, has never been involved in anything quite like the buildup to UFC 229 nor its subsequent post-fight melee between Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov and their respective teams.

“I understand promoting fights and having to sell them. I really do. And I also understand that you gotta do what you gotta do to make sure you’re promoting something. Like, I get it, but I don’t think people have to get arrested in order to do that,” Rousey told TMZ Sports. “I think I’ve been able to prove that you can make a fight exciting and make people really want to see it without crossing any legal lines.”

Rousey said she didn’t watch the actual fight since she was on a plane coming home from Australia at the time, but followed both the buildup to the event and the fallout.

“I’m kind of sorry it’s been soured by the aftermath,” she said. “I feel like their performances aren’t going to get enough credit because of what happened and I just really hope it doesn’t become an ongoing trend. I want people to feel safe bringing their kids to fights and things like that.”

When asked if she thought Nurmagomedov should be punished for jumping out of the cage, she responded: “If you’re going to draw the line there, you should’ve drawn it before that. I think that Khabib jumping out of the Octagon was not as bad as throwing objects at a bus. My friend, Rose Namajunas, was on that bus. My friend Mike Chiesa missed his fight because he got cut.”

Both McGregor and Nurmagomedov have been temporarily suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their roles in the brawl that occurred at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The commission is set to meet Oct. 24 to further discuss the case and it’s unclear at this time what type of sanctions might be handed out to the fighters and their teams.

“I just feel like there has to be equal treatment all the way across the board,” Rousey said. “I don’t think that anyone should get special treatment because they’re a bigger draw. I think that’s the same when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, when it comes to felonies, when it comes to hit-and-runs, or anything like that.

“There’s too much preferential treatment given to the high-profile fighters and I think there needs to be equal discipline across the board no matter who you are because people are going to start thinking once they get to a certain level that the rules don’t apply to them.”

Rousey was also asked whether or not she thought McGregor could bounce back from the loss.

“He’s got a very durable ego so I think he’s going to be fine regardless,” she said. “Career-wise you never know. MMA’s a tough sport and you have a very short shelf life and you gotta make the best of it while you can.”

Rousey was never able to bounce back from her losses in MMA from a competitive standpoint, but she has since transitioned seamlessly to professional wrestling where she is currently a superstar with the WWE.

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