Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey rubbed a lot of people the wrong way this past week when she produced two of the more awkward interviews in a long time.
Rousey, who signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) earlier this year, was kind enough to give her time for multiple ESPN interviews to plug her upcoming debut next weekend at Wrestlemania 34 in New Orleans, but it didn’t really turn out the way “Rowdy” wanted it to. Not only did Rousey misunderstand a question about her potential return to mixed martial arts (MMA), but the combat star flat-out refused to acknowledge any of her crushing UFC defeats.
Needless to say, it wasn’t a good week of media for Rousey, who is usually good in these spots. Rousey’s camera time was so awkward that former UFC fighter and current MMA analyst Chael Sonnen took immediate notice. In classic Sonnen fashion, the outspoken “Bad Guy” held nothing back in discussing Rousey’s weird exchanges on ESPN.
“I found it a little bit annoying,” Sonnen said during a recent edition of his Beyond The Fight podcast. “The host is doing you a favor by having you on, considering you’re jumping around a fake ring in Roddy Piper’s clothes. This is a sports show, and you don’t do sports, so maybe give the guy a little bit of slack.
“It’s like ‘hey lady, you’re jumping around in a ring on pay-per-view in a few days. This is a sports show. We’ll extend this to you because you used to do a sport, so let’s help each other out here.’ Then she kinda threw it on his face.”
Maybe so, but Sonnen does have a point. Despite the mental adversity that Rousey has had to overcome from her consecutive knockout losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, that topic should not be off limits when doing a public promotion. People are interested to hear about Rousey’s rise from defeat and journalists are going to continue to ask those types of questions, whether she likes it or not.
“I will tell you, if I was the host, I would’ve kicked her ass right out of the set,” Sonnen said. “I’m inviting you on a sports show, on ESPN, a place you don’t belong as a pro-wrestler — but we all can scratch each other’s back.
“I’ve got to talk some real sports, because I just have to. I am a sports show, and I am in ESPN, okay? You’re not active, bringing up history is no fun, so I’ve got to think about the future. Fair question by me, but you’re going to try and belittle me for it?
“Let me show you how this goes. Because after I boot your ass and my ratings go up for doing it, tomorrow morning, they’re going to set the same camera back up and I’m still going to be on it, but you aren’t, Ronda. So now we’re going to find out, who got over on who.”
Sonnen’s opinions always swirl at about 100 mph but you can’t fault the former UFC fighter from taking such a strong stance here. As one of the best fight promoters in MMA history, Sonnen understands first hand how to handle the media and cash in on his opportunity to speak.
Rousey simply mismanaged her TV time and could end up regretting it. Because few sports reporters are going to want to talk to Rousey in the future if she’s going to snap at them for asking generic questions about her MMA career.
What say you, Maniacs? Is Sonnen being too hard on the former UFC champ?