Ronda Rousey faces a six-month medical suspension after a pummeling at the hands, and feet, of Holly Holm. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion just couldn’t face the cameras when she returned to Los Angeles from Melbourne on Tuesday.
The ubiquitous mug on commercials, movies, and magazine covers took cover as the paparazzi hounded her at LAX. Rousey attempted to duck the press in a way that she has not ducked the opposition. With the aid of 6’7” boyfriend Travis Browne, and several security personnel, Rousey egressed without much success as numerous photographers and iPhone videographers clicked, flashed, and focused.
But Rousey hid behind a purple pillow. Decked out in matching black hoodies (mourning?) with brawler boyfriend Browne, Rowdy appeared gloomy. She looked down as she looked down. Like her click-and-listen-to-the-crickets treatment of the media on the UFC 193 conference call, Rousey gave the swarming journalists at LAX the silent treatment.
The Olympic bronze medalist lost her first professional fight, and her championship belt, on Sunday to Holly Holm, a heavy underdog derided for a “fake sweet act” by Rousey before their bout. The Preacher’s Daughter relied on length, movement, kicks, and jabs to keep the elite grappler at bay. Nearly a minute into the second round she landed her left foot on the right side of Rousey’s head. The champion came crashing to the ground in an altered mental state before eating several exclamation-point hammerfists.
Rousey fought honorably, and aggressively, which makes the shame in her game puzzling. As a famous boxing enthusiast who refused to tap out on a speech after taking a bullet to the chest once pointed out, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Alas, the same vanity that nudged Rousey to say that her meek opponent would be better off losing because she could never handle the press compelled her to shield her split lip and battered visage from the Fourth Estate. Rousey, an inferiority complex wrapped in a body designed to superior specs, dishes out humiliation after victories and feels it after defeats.
While Rousey mocked Bethe Correia after relieving her of consciousness at UFC 190 and refused to shake Miesha Tate’s hand after submitting her at UFC 168, Holm showed graciousness in victory and obvious concern for her opponent’s health. Holm praised Rousey for building women’s MMA—banished from the UFC before Rousey persuaded the promoters to feature it—and did not hesitate in saying her opponent “absolutely” deserves a rematch. “With a champion like Ronda, who has gone out of her way, above and beyond, to do great things,” Holm reflected, “absolutely she deserves a rematch.”
Even though Holm doesn’t dare pull an Apollo Creed and say, “Ain’t gonna be no rematch,” Rousey, like Rocky, looked like she “don’t want one” at LAX. Nevertheless, Rocky II did big business at the box office. So will the Holly-Ronda sequel.