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Three and a half weeks have gone by since the once seemingly indestructible Ronda Rousey was defeated by Holly Holm in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. Since then we’ve heard barely a peep out of the outspoken former champ… until now, with a new in-depth ESPN interview from Ramona Shelburne.
The interest in Rousey’s state has been such that ESPN didn’t stop at publishing the interview online and in its magazine, as the network also had Shelburne on SportsCenter to talk about it. Yes, they interviewed the interviewer! And she had some pretty eye opening things to say about where Ronda Rousey is, mentally.
“When I spoke to her it was about a two-hour interview and she was heartbroken. I can’t even really believe that she did this interview because she wasn’t ready to talk. She hadn’t processed this, she can’t even turn her phone on let alone have any idea how this is playing out around the world.”
“I asked her point black ‘Do you think you know what’s being said about you?’ and she said ‘Yeah. That I’m a failure and I deserve everything I got.’ And she just knew it. She felt it. Because when you go out there and say the things that she says and you put it out there, you know that when you lose you’re going to get your comeuppance. She knows it! If anything, she’s harder on herself than anyone else could be on her.”
“And honestly when I look back on this interview, I can’t believe she was that brave to let anyone see her that way. In my darkest day, I don’t let the world in. I don’t let anyone see me. I curl up in a ball. And this woman opened the door and did an interview, and that’s really what struck me about her doing this interview was what’s braver than that? Letting someone see you as a mess. Falling apart.”
Those are strong words from Shelburne, but her article backs them up, describing Rousey as living under a dark shadow since returning from Australia. She’s only opened her door for family, and even then they initially had to camp out on the front porch and force her to.
Rousey said, “You have to be willing to get your heart broken, that’s just what f*cking happens when you try.” And that sounds like a pretty healthy way of looking at it. If she didn’t care so much about being the absolute best in the world, she would never have made it as far as she has.
So it makes sense for her to feel miserable right now. I’m sure many sports greats feel the same way after blowing a crucial play and letting a Super Bowl or NBA Championship slip through their fingers. The difference is most of them don’t open themselves up for an in-depth feature the week afterwards. You can read Ramona Shelburne’s ESPN article here.