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05th Jul 2017

Lack of fight question in rare Ronda Rousey media appearance is not exactly surprising

As expected

Darragh Murphy

Ronda Rousey is probably the only fighter in UFC history who insists upon not being asked about fighting.

More often than not, fighters are most comfortable talking about competition and object to prying questions about their personal lives.

Not Ronda Rousey.

The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion of the world does not take kindly to defeat and when she comes unstuck in the Octagon, she simply doesn’t want to talk about it.

Rousey has only lived through two losses in her professional MMA career and both have been absolutely devastating.

The first came in November, 2015 when her head was damn near kicked off her shoulders by Holly Holm, an intelligent striker who made the Judo practitioner look like a rank amateur on the feet before finally putting Rousey out of her misery and consciousness via a shin to the neck in the second round.

The second arrived last December, 13 months after being knocked out in front of over 50,000 people in Melbourne, Australia.

On Rousey’s return, she was steamrolled by a rabid Amanda Nunes in even shorter time and question marks hung heavy over whether Rousey’s fighting days were done.

We still don’t know what the future holds for the 30-year-old but she remains highly ranked, in spite of her breakneck fall from grace.

Part of why we’re so unsure of Rousey’s next step is because it would seem like she refuses to discuss it, or anything on the subject of fighting for that matter.

The former 135lbs queen broke her media silence this week to appear on Live with Kelly and Ryan and was more than happy to smile and joke about her engagement to UFC heavyweight Travis Browne, discuss a recent home invasion and open up on her role in a reboot of ABC’s Battle of the Network Stars. 

But questions about fighting were few and far between. And trust me, that’s no coincidence.

In March of last year, I was asked to travel to Vancouver to interview Rousey in a promotional event for EA Sports UFC 2 and couldn’t have been more excited about the opportunity.

Having spoken with EA Sports’ public relations team beforehand, I was asked to keep the interview lighthearted and, luckily, my editor had also told me to just have a bit of fun with her.

When I arrived at EA Sports HQ, I gladly told the PR team that I just intended to run through some jokey games with her so that her personality could shine through and they loved that idea but just politely asked me not to go into detail about her knockout defeat to Holm four months previously, a request I had no problem with.

I was not asked to avoid any questions about fighting.

I met Ronda and she couldn’t have been nicer, to begin with.

Working for both and, I went through some dumb games such as “Can you pronounce these Irish names?” and “Are these British place names real or fake?”

The videos below show that she was in great form and happy to indulge me with said dumb games.

But as the PR team, off camera, let me know that time with Ronda was running out, I decided to just ask some general questions for a written piece.

One of those questions was the following…

“What are your plans for the remainder of 2016?”

The mood quickly turned and she answered with a succinct: “The obvious!”

Then I asked: “Is the obvious a rematch with Holly Holm or the completion of a trilogy with Miesha Tate?”

With that, she let out a sigh of exasperation, tapped me on the leg and stormed off camera.

The cameraman, a Canadian who we hired for the day, stopped shooting but an off-screen conversation with Rousey let me know in no uncertain terms that she had requested for no fight questions to be asked.

The rudeness levels shot through the roof and off she went to her next interview, with her friends and the EA Sports PR team in tow.

I returned home a day or two later and it was then that I learned that I wasn’t the only one to experience that in Vancouver.

Australia’s 7 News Perth were also there to talk to Rousey but they were forewarned that she would walk out of any interviews in which fighting was brought up.

It’s funny that Rousey had no issue discussing her in-Octagon demolition jobs when she was winning but, ever since she tasted the bitter flavour of defeat, she’s gone all quiet.

Memorably, Rousey promptly left the stage after a staredown with Nunes ahead of UFC 207, while ‘The Lioness’ hung around to talk about the fight with commentator Joe Rogan.

It speaks to champions’ mentalities when they are willing to open up about what went wrong in fights because it is only then that they can improve as athletes and martial artists.

And it is also a testament to fighters’ professionalism that most are willing and able to fulfil their media obligations.

But for a fighter to outright refuse to talk about their profession… Well that’s just a bit weird.


Ronda Rousey,UFC