Ronda Rousey never cared for journalists. Now they don’t much care for her.
The surly superstar got shredded into yesterday’s news in 48 seconds by Amanda Nunes—the way Rousey used to tear through opponents—this weekend at UFC 207. Rousey has lost two fights in a row. More significantly, she lost her mystique. Once gone, that never returns.
Two years ago, I dared ask Rousey some questions on a conference call. She characteristically interpreted them as attacks.
I wondered whether the promotion did women’s mixed-martial arts a favor or set it up for failure by stacking the top of the UFC 184 card with female bouts and asked about whether her commercials, movies, and autobiography threatened to distract her from MMA.
“You even asking the question,” she responded to the first query, “it really proves that the inequality still exists.” She added, “You are what we need to change about this culture.” To the second question, she angrily answered: “The reason why you doubt the ability that it could ever be done is the reason why you will never do anything that great.”
Rousey proceeded to submit Cat Zingano in 14 seconds at UFC 184 and sell about 600,000 pay-per views in the process. These facts seemingly answered my questions more effectively than Rousey’s bitter verbal responses. And perhaps the fact that she responded at all—later that year she hung up on a conference call—deserves appreciation. Ronda knows clicks.
And while the buy rates of subsequent female-headlined pay-per views indicate that women’s MMA does not need dudes in the cage to draw the eyes of dudes on their couches, Rousey’s devastating defeats to Holly Holm in 2015 and Nunes on Friday show that the former champ indeed lacked focus. Saturday Night Live hosting gigs, Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions, movie cameos, Wrestlemanias, Metro PCS ads, and so much more that put dollars in her pocket ultimately took dollars out of her pocket.
Her marketability stemmed from her indestructibility. Now that that’s gone, so is Ronda Rousey as a ubiquitous media presence.
Her 15 minutes ended after just 48 seconds on Friday night.