When Holly Holm shocked the world three months ago by shattering the aura of invincibility surrounding Ronda Rousey, I subtly posed in a Spew the idea that Ronda might retire. When speaking with one of my boys on the phone around that time however, I was less subtle, pointing out the similarities between Rousey and Gina Carrano. See, once upon a time about seven or eight years ago there was another Ronda Rousey, who was less famous but even hotter, the undefeated Strikeforce Featherweight champion Gina Carrano. So why haven’t you heard of her? Because after suffering her first loss—a savage TKO to the fearsome Cyborg Santos—she basically said, “Fuck this,” packed up her gloves, and moved to Hollywood. I actually saw her in some X-Men movie or something the other day playing a villain and kicking ass. I bet it’s a lot easier now that her fights are scripted.
Like Carrano before her, Rousey has made enough money and has enough opportunities to never have to fight again for financial reasons. Still, I thought Ronda was different. Sure, she could pull a Carrano and walk away after her first ass-kicking to the loving arms of Hollywood, but Ronda is too much of a warrior for that. Maybe she won’t be able to take her title back, but I was positive she was going to make a comeback. All she really needs to do is disappear from her never-ending publicity tour, switch trainers and get a real camp, then train maniacally and put together an actual gameplan and she could do it. I knew she could do it.
And now I’m not so sure.
It seems to my observant eye that Rousey is doing the unthinkable and leaning away from a comeback to stay in the cushy world of celebrity that she’s built for herself. I’m shaking my head even as I write this, but all the signs are there. Just look at her activities since her destruction at the hands and feet of Holm: she hosted Saturday Night LIve, she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated which she said entailed a 48-hour shoot, she made an appearance at some awful award show to promote the SI cover, she’s in a Bud Light commercial, and the other day now I hear she was weeping on the goddamn Ellen show. That’s not exactly hitting the gym like you want your title back. Meanwhile, after defeating Ronda on a Saturday night, Holm was back in the gym Monday morning and is set to defend the belt already. Who seems like they want to be the champion more?
Truth be told, Ronda probably had this whole publicity tour lined up before the loss, but that’s part of the problem. Before the Holm fight, she insanely announced her premature plans to take time off and film a movie after the bout. She even had her goddamn movie agents out to Australia with her during fight week for fuck’s sake! If that doesn’t tell you she was looking past Holm, what does?
Sadly, it seemed success had clearly gone to Ronda’s head, but what she really should have been worried about going to her head was that high kick from Holly Holm. Now after such a stunning loss, I expected Ronda to pull the plug on the celebrity horseshit and get serious about fighting again. Unfortunately, things have gone in the opposite direction, and if this latest Ellen fiasco is any indication, have only continued to get worse.
Looking back on it, if Ronda had beaten Holm she probably would have retired. There wouldn’t be one girl left in the division she hadn’t already defeated in dominating fashion, and she was clearly becoming more and more enamored with the Hollywood lifestyle. Plus she’s 29 and rumored to be engaged to her boyfriend, UFC heavyweight contender Travis Browne. With no opponents left to beat, Hollywood calling, and a potential marriage and eventual motherhood in her future what would be left to prove? Unfortunately, that fairy tale ending to her career never happened, and has forced a reconsideration of her entire legacy.
The bottom line is this, Ronda’s one of my all-time favorite fighters, but if she goes out like a chump like this she will be remembered mainly as an insanely over-hyped fraud. I never thought that was remote a possibility until now, but that’s the only outcome if Ronda never fights—let alone wins—again.
That’s the difference between going down as the female G.O.A.T or the blonde Gina Carrano.