Should you ever be fortunate enough to become rich and famous in America, and should that happen when the country is in the middle of one of its occasional presidential-election freakouts, know that your political affiliations, no matter how unrelated to your success, will suddenly become a source of enormous fascination to the public. No one gets to be agnostic during primary season, not even mixed martial artists.
Today, in an exclusive interview with noted political science journal Maxim, UFC bantamweight women’s champion and undisputed face of MMA Ronda Rousey threw her support behind fiery Democratic presidential candidate and noted Larry David impersonator Bernie Sanders, citing the Vermont senator’s refusal to take corporate campaign money.
"I don’t think politicians should be allowed to take money for their campaigns from outside interests,” Rousey said.
Democratic Party loyalists and Hillary Clinton fans shouldn’t get too excited about this news, however. Rousey’s support isn’t partisan; it only extends as far as Sanders. Any Democrats beyond that are on their own, including Clinton. Apparently Rousey’s disdain for corporate campaign money and machine politics is more powerful than any potential “female pioneer” status she might share with Mrs. Clinton should the former secretary of state beat Sanders and become the first woman to win a major American party’s presidential nomination.
"If [Sanders] doesn’t win against Hillary then I’ll probably vote for a third party again,” Rousey said. “To be honest, in 2012 I was against both candidates and so I just picked any third party because I thought if more people voted for third parties then they’d have to take third parties seriously."
The third-party candidate she voted for was comedian and fellow-glass-ceiling-smasher Roseanne Barr, who came in fifth place that year, with 48,797 votes, far behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein and just ahead of Justice Party candidate and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.
But don’t worry, fans of MMA and establishment presidential candidates: Rousey’s love of long-shot politicians doesn’t extend too far. She might support Bernie Sanders and she may have voted for Roseanne Barr for president of the United States of America, but last summer she refused the overtures of Republican candidate and TV’s Loudest Builder of Big Buildings Donald Trump, who suggested on CNN that the champion was a supporter of his, based on exactly nothing the bantamweight champion had said. Rousey, in fact, had told CNN she wouldn’t want a “reality TV star running my country.”
But don’t despair, Mr. Trump! Like I said, this is an election year, and no one gets to be apolitical in an election year. If what you want is an endorsement from an MMA champion, and the MMA champion you had your heart set on has already promised her heart to a raging socialist who doesn’t even have the common sense to get his own TV show, there’s always UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who loves you despite, even because of, your proposal to deport 11 million unlicensed Latin American immigrants now living in the country. Weidman doesn’t take your threats of mass deportation personally, Donald, because you speak the truth. Because you keep things real.
"I like Donald Trump, I listened to his speech. I think we need him in the country, I'm not gonna lie,” Weidman told fans during an online Q&A in October. “He's a little over the top, but a lot of the stuff he says is on the money, I think, on what this country needs. And hey, my wife is Puerto Rican, my kids are Latino and I don't take it personal on what he said about people coming over the border. … I think Trump is the greatest heel ever. It's because he's speaking the truth. He's speaking the truth.”
For those keeping track at home, it’s now Chris Weidman for Trump, Ronda Rousey for Sanders, and Vitor Belfort for Ben Carson. Which fighter will endorse next?
Election Day is exactly one year away.
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