We’re mere days away from the big return of Ronda Rousey, yet many of the questions we have regarding her state of mind and readiness to compete as just as cloudy as they were months ago before her fight at UFC 207 was even announced. That’s because Ronda made a near-media blackout one of the conditions to signing on the dotted line. It’s an unprecedented agreement the UFC has never made before, and just goes to show you how much negotiating power the massive star has.
Even Brock Lesnar had to show up for press conferences. But not Rousey. The only appearance she’ll make prior to her fight with current women’s bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes is at the weigh-ins the night before the match. Part of this seclusion is obviously to keep Rousey from stretching herself too thin while preparing for her big comeback match. But there’s another element, as well. UFC president Dana White revealed that Ronda didn’t take how the media and public ‘turned on her’ following her loss to Holly Holm last November.
You can hear it in one of her few recent interviews featured on the UFC’s Countdown show for Friday’s event.
“I hear so many of the worst things anyone could ever imagine to think to say to me, every single day,” Rousey said. “Thousands of times, all these people are constantly trying to reach me to tell me the same thing. People want to see people rise because they want to rise. But they like to see people fall because they want to feel like they’re human like they are. And that’s why we keep doing this cycle, bringing people up and letting them crash down, bringing people up and letting them crash down.”
So Rousey is done allowing the public into her life except on her own terms. But saying nothing says something as well, or rather it allows that same public to interpret the silence in any way they so desire. Many have decided it means she’s lost her nerve, that she can’t hack it in the harsh glare of the spotlight. Those aren’t the people Ronda is fighting for on Friday night.
“I’m coming back to win this title for the people that believed in me,” Rousey said. “Everything in my whole life that I’ve worked for, everything depends on it. Everything is at stake.”
And with so much hanging in the balance, is it any wonder she’d try to shut out all the distractions heading into UFC 207?