Words

Ronda Rousey – My Fight/Your Fight

Fightland Blog

By Charlie Gilmour

Champions, it is said, are like roses; the more shit that gets heaped on top of them the stronger they grow. It’s certainly true of Ronda Rousey, the first and still undefeated female UFC champion. Only a fighter could have survived her life.

Born in an umbilical stranglehold, she came into the world “blue and listless”. On the scale used to rate babies’ health at birth, she scored zero. Oxygen deprivation ravaged parts of her brain responsible for speech; just learning to talk took years of gruelling war. Aged four her father, Ron Rousey, broke his back and later, when the pain became too great, he drove the family car to a quiet waterside spot and choked himself with the exhaust fumes. One eating disorder, a clutch of nervous breakdowns and several truly execrable boyfriends later, Ronda Rousey is, improbably, champion of the world.

“All the successes and greatest joys in my life are a result of the absolute worst things,” she says in My Fight/Your Fight (out 12th May, Regan Arts). “A loss leads to a victory. Being fired leads to a dream job. Death leads to a birth. I find comfort in believing that good things can grow out of tragedy.”

There’s been a lot of hype about My Fight/Your Fight, co-authored with Maria Burns Ortiz, a journalist who just so happens to be Ronda’s sister. Wal-Mart refused to display the book, deeming it ‘too violent’—a powerful endorsement, considering they happily stock rifles and shotguns—and soon after, predictably, pre-orders sent it to number one over at Barnes & Noble. “Success is the best revenge,” gloated Ronda. There is, perhaps, something to be said about the fact that a multi-national corporation considers books to be more dangerous than bullets—but not here.

It’s true that My Fight/Your Fight is a bloodthirsty work. But Ronda Rousey is a bloodthirsty woman. Just look at the facts: after eleven consecutive professional wins, most of which came within the first minute of the first round, she’s eaten her entire division alive. All she can do now is loosen that shiny belt a few notches and pick her teeth with the bones of the fallen.

My Fight/Your Fight is a Ronda-eyed tour of the body-strewn battlefield that has been her fighting career so far. And the view from inside her skull is as thrilling and disgusting as you might expect. Of her devastating signature armbar, when executed perfectly, she writes, “It’s like ripping the leg off a Thanksgiving turkey. You hear it pop-pop-pop, then squish.” Putting it to use in her first fight against (then) Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate: “I arched my back until I felt the squish, her ligaments snapping between my legs… I ripped off muscles from her bone and tendons.”

The psycho-dynamics that allow her to turn pain into victory are also interestingly explored. When one of her many terrible boyfriends—amongst whose number are included a mummy’s boy junkie who steals her car and a serious creep who spies on her with hidden cameras—messes with her head just before a big fight Ronda channels it all into the cage: “this chick’s getting fucking murdered.”  She ended up hitting Alexis Davis so hard with an over-hand right that she broke her own hand.

It wasn’t always thus. Disappointed, as only a half mad perfectionist could be, after having achieved a mere bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Ronda went off the rails. She ran away from home to work in a sleazy Malibu bar where she passed pills and cash for the local drug dealer. She smoked Camels and started her days with a disgusting sounding cocktail of her own creation called “Party Like a Barack Star” (see below), before moving onto marijuana and painkillers in the afternoon. It actually sounds like a pretty sweet deal: “I would gaze out at the ocean while rolling on Vicodin, drinking whiskey at noon, and watching dolphins in the waves.” But it wasn’t to last. She fixed up, got sharp, and took over.

It’s easy to forget that, when Ronda Rousey set out on her path to the top, with the exception of ring girls, there were no women in the UFC. In 2011, when Dana White was asked by TMZ when women were going to fight in his promotion, he responded definitively: “Never”. Ronda Rousey didn’t just climb to the top—she built the podium too. And her path to success was no victory parade; more a long, hard paddle up shit creek.

PARTY LIKE A BARACK STAR
2 shots espresso
1 shot (or 2) Stoli Vanilla
1 shot Kahlua
1⁄2 shot Baileys
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 shots ice cream milk (half-and-half and simple syrup can be used as a substitute)
Combine ingredients with ice. Shake. Blend. Enjoy. (Unlike I did, please enjoy responsibly.)

 

Check out these related stories:

Wal-Mart Banned Ronda Rousey's Book

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Talking about Ronda Rousey Fighting a Man

Jack Slack: Is Holly Holm the Woman to Beat Ronda Rousey?

 

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