BOSTON—UFC President Dana White tells Breitbart Sports that Ronda Rousey, who hits theaters this weekend in Furious 7, can do as many movies as she pleases from the UFC’s standpoint because fighting comes first for her.
The enthusiasm for a cage-fighting champion recast as a celluloid hero appears as an about-face for the promoter. Rampage Jackson infuriated White when he took time off to film The A-Team six years ago. Breitbart Sports queried the UFC’s cue-balled boss in Boston last week at an old vaudeville theater about whether seeing Rousey’s opportunities outside of the cage pay dividends for the promotion warmed him to fighters becoming actors.
“The difference between Ronda and Rampage was that Rampage had just come off The Ultimate Fighter,” White points out. “He was supposed to fight. He bailed to do the movie. Ronda Rousey plans movies around her fights.”
Rampage, making his return against Fabio Maldanado in the co-feature at UFC 186 later this month in Montreal, has acknowledged leaving the UFC hanging by bolting on a bout with Rashad Evans in his hometown in 2009. But he maintained in a 2013 interview, “The UFC didn’t see the big picture.”
“I hate it with a f—ing passion,” White told MMA Junkie in 2009 about fighters going Hollywood. “You’re a fighter. You’re not a movie star.”
Now White says Rousey “can do a hundred movies a year if she wants to because she does them the right way.” Her extracurricular activities, which included a surprise appearance at Wrestlemania alongside Furious 7 co-star The Rock and a prominent role in the upcoming Entourage movie, appears to have boosted interest in her pay-per views, which might help explain White’s change of heart.
”She gets it,” White told Breitbart Sports. “The movies are there because of the fighting. When you’re the world champion and you’re dominating, that’s what brings all the other extra things. She understands that. Fighting comes first.”