We knew that Ronda Rousey‘s defeat to Holly Holm was devastating to the formerly undefeated star, but when Ronda went on Ellen DeGeneres’ show to discuss it, she let us into just how low she got in the aftermath, admitting that she had suicidal thoughts. It was as vulnerable a moment as we’d ever seen from the fighter, so of course she received significant backlash from those who either delight in her misery or believe that fighters’ guards should always be up, even in interviews.
One in the latter camp is former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. Asked about Rousey’s comments on SportsCenter on Tuesday night, Lesnar was gently critical:
“One thing that I learned and she should have learned a long time ago was that you have to learn how to lose before you can actually win.
“You’ve got to be able to get back on the horse and this life is very precious and very short. One fight isn’t going to make or break her career. She’s just got to get back on the horse again and figure it out and she will.”
Some wise words from Lesnar, but Rousey is already back on the horse. It’s just strange and slightly pejorative to look at Rousey revealing her darkest moment after a fight in which she got the living daylights beaten out of her (and as NFL fans know, concussions have been linked with depression and suicidal thoughts before) and tell her she needs to do something different. Even if she was still having those thoughts, they’re not going to go away because some guy on a sports talk show tells her to suck it up and “learn how to lose.” That’s tough to do when you had never lost before.
Holm was also asked about Rousey’s comments, of course, and she was justifiably confused at what she was supposed to say in response.
“There’s a lot of things around that. When I heard that she said that, for me it’s one of those things it’s like, ‘How do I respond to that?’ ” Holm said. “I don’t want to say I’m sorry because I think on a competitive level for me, if somebody was to say they’re sorry after [beating me], it’s like, ‘No, I’m a competitor.’ I’m not a charity case.
“I feel like that’s something the best thing is for me not to say anything at all. I don’t want to say that I’m glad that she felt that way and I don’t want to say, ‘Oh I’m so sorry.’ It’s something I think that you have to dig through on your own. In the long run, she’ll be stronger mentally from it.”
Holm is completely correct — there’s not much she can or should say about Rousey sinking into depression immediately following her knockout. Holly’s not part of Rousey’s support circle, nor is she the type of heel who would use the revelation as trash-talk fodder, like Bethe Correia’s disgusting comments in the leadup to UFC 190. She responded appropriately: by politely backing away from the situation.