Ronda Rousey rebounds from her first professional loss as a mixed-martial artist with a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live later this month.
Rousey performs alongside musical guest Selena Gomez on the January 23 show. The former UFC 135-pound women’s champion joins an elite club of athletes-turned-actors, albeit for only one 90-minute performance for most, to appear on the comedy show that includes Joe Montana, Derek Jeter, George Foreman, and LeBron James. Rousey’s appearances makes a first for a mixed-martial artist.
The public performance comes in the aftermath of Rousey avoiding the spotlight in the wake of her knockout from the left foot of Holly Holm in Australia in November. Rousey returned to the United States clutching a purple pillow in front of her face. She confessed to ESPN of shutting off her phone and staying in bed in reaction to the defeat. She explained, “I kind of just slept a lot and ate fast food.”
Holm’s destruction of Rousey increased calls for her to focus on mixed-martial arts to the exclusion of other activities. When Breitbart Sports asked Rousey a year ago whether she risked her standing in the sport by acting, appearing in adverts, and authoring an autobiography, she reacted with hostility: “The reason why you doubt the ability that it could ever be done is the reason why you will never do anything that great.”
Her appearance on SNL, along with a starring role in an upcoming Road House remake, suggests that she still believes she can fight and act and endorse and write and do much else without suffering repercussions in her primary profession. Her faith in multitasking likely faces another test: the UFC hopes to schedule a Holm-Rousey rematch at UFC 200 in Las Vegas.