The devastating after effect of Ronda Rousey’s UFC 193 knockout loss is still being felt by her family, who were shocked to see how the MMA world reacted…
Before UFC 193, the women’s bantamweight champion of the time, the only one there’s ever been for that matter, Ronda Rousey was being promoted as the world’s most dominant athlete. Her string of one-sided sub-minute finishes made it hard to argue against that fact for many fans, but her number was up once she was booked in against Holly Holm. At the UFC Go Big presser, Rousey described herself as the greatest fighter of all time, perhaps an obvious precursor to a fall?
Although predominantly a Judo specialist, Rousey’s boxing was improving, and she scored swift knockout stoppages over Bethe Correia, Alexis Davis and Sara McMann during the later parts of her title reign. Against ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ though, it was a whole different ball game. In retrospect, it was a foolish idea to even start to trade strikes with Holm, but you know what they say about hindsight.
As if that horrific loss wasn’t hard enough to swallow, Rousey was blasted by countless memes mocking her at the lowest point in her fighting career. That said, the promotion itself and even Rousey’s own comments didn’t aid the situation, but it was highly unnecessary all the same. Rousey’s sister Maria Burns Ortiz penned a letter to Vice this week, and it reads as follows:
I hear things, third-party. I hear that people say insensitive, hateful, disgusting things about my sister—and my mother—and I don’t try to make sense of it, because you can’t. There’s something very strange, though, when the world seems to think they know someone—this idea that society suddenly owns a right to build someone up or tear them down because they are a public figure. To watch that happen to someone you love is enough to drive you insane—unless you tune it out, which I do.
Occasionally I wonder how people could say such awful things about someone they don’t even know, someone they’ve never met. I attribute it to the fact that their mothers probably didn’t love them enough, and then I briefly curse out the part of the Internet that allows people to hide behind anonymity as they let out the worst parts of themselves.
Sometimes, all you can do is think, “What the fuck is wrong with you people?”
Then I move on with my life, because you can only waste so much time on other people’s stupidity.
It’s true that the life of UFC fighters is lived very much in the spotlight, but surely that shouldn’t open the floodgates to the amount of hate she and many others receive.
Skip to page 2 for the emotional conclusion to the letter from Rousey’s sister…
Three fights on three continents in the span of nine months. A book tour. Hollywood meetings. Scripts to read. Photo shoots. The cover of Sports Illustrated, Self, Shape, and magazines I’ve never even heard of. Hosting on ESPN. A pair of ESPYs. Film premieres. UFC promotion. Training camps. Flights. Appearances on Ellen, Kelly and Michael, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! Her image plastered on TV screens everywhere. Interviews and interviews and interviews. Training camps. It’s a lot. It’s not an excuse. It’s just a fact.
Like every year, this was a collection of highs and lows, where you don’t so much remember the details of the events but instead remember the emotions those moments evoke.
We celebrated Ronda’s February win over Cat Zingano in UFC 184, singing “Happy Birthday!” at a restaurant in Hollywood as she devoured platefuls of chicken wings. We spent the week in Rio in a penthouse overlooking the beach, praying at the shrine inside Christ the Redeemer, and feeding monkeys after she knocked out Bethe Correia in August in UFC 190. Those are the parts I remember far more than the actual fights.
Then there was Australia, where we expected Ronda to win. Just like we always do. Just like we always will. But she didn’t. I haven’t rewatched it. I haven’t read about it. I won’t. I don’t see a point in reliving the moment when a part of my loved one died, when I saw someone I cared about have her soul crushed. I saw how horrible people can be to someone they don’t even know, which made me even more appreciative when I saw how wonderfully Ronda’s friends and family treated her. Those are the people that matter.
The world watched Ronda fall, but I have had the opportunity to watch her get back up. To be proud of her and happy for her when she wins, and to be proud of her and concerned for her when she loses. To tell her that I loved her just as much in the moments after the fight as I had in the moments before. To put my arm around her and try to protect her. To push aside the negativity. To help her get back up. Not just in the past few weeks but in the past 28 years.
When some people reflect on Ronda and 2015, they will see it defined by a single event. They see it as the end. And in some ways, they’re right—but that only means we’re at a new beginning.