In the weeks and months leading up to UFC 193, Ronda Rousey’s life was full of media obligations, behind-the-scenes drama, and training to defeat former multiple-time World Boxing Champion Holly Holm. Rousey was riding high after her devastating first-round knockout of rival Bethe Correira at UFC 190 and as Biggie Smalls once said “the more money we come across, the more problems we see.” In the past few months, Rousey has become the biggest draw in the UFC and a crossover star while being named to Fortune’s list of highest paid female athletes, signing movie deals, and becoming a media darling. The fame and media attention likely hid some cracks in the armor that may have contributed to her poor performance against Holly Holm. Here are 5 red flags that were raised during her preparation for UFC 193.
Lots of Media Obligations: Remember in the beginning of Rocky 3, there was a montage of Rocky steamrolling through opponents and living the good life? The only voice of reason during this period was his trainer Micky who Rocky brushed off. By the time Rocky faced Clubber Lang, he had become soft and was ill-prepared for the onslaught Lang brought to the ring during their first fight. In the past few months, Ronda has become a media darling, promoting her book, making the TV interview rounds, and appearing on numerous magazine covers while Holly Holm quietly trained in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the likes of Jon Jones and other judo specialists she brought in to help her prepare for UFC 193. Media obligations are a major distraction since they take up huge chunks of time and can cause anybody to lose both focus and perspective as reporters and media personalities pour mountains of praise upon you while production assistants are there to serve any of your wants and needs.
Mom’s rant: Ronda’s mom, Dr. AnnMaria De Mars, is a former Judo World Champion, professor, and successful entrepreneur. She is also not shy about voicing her opinions about who is around her daughter. In the interview below which took place during Ronda’s training camp for Holm, her mother put Ronda’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyn on blast by saying he was a “terrible coach” and saying “I would caution anybody from going there.” Dr. De Mars also made a blog post in late August where she implied Ronda was surrounded by “bad influences” and “yes men.” A training camp requires a lot of focus and trust between a fighter and coach and this interview likely did create a major distraction during the camp.
Coach’s Bankruptcy and Potential IRS Issues: How can a coach of one of the highest paid fighters in the UFC declare zero income in his tax returns and bankruptcy files? Bloodyelbow.com reported Edmond Tarverdyn filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 29th while declaring over $700,000 in debt and listing he was unemployed and had zero income. It is hard to believe that Edmond isn’t getting a cut of Ronda’s pursues and bonuses and the media reporting of his bankruptcy filings will likely lead to investigations from the IRS. This is another major distraction during the training camp for UFC 193 especially if Ronda was training in a gym that has a strong possibility of going out of business.
Bad Publicity About Her Romantic Life: Ronda’s personal life has always been a curiosity. In recent months, her relationship with teammate Travis Browne, who was accused of assaulting his wife, has come to light. Also, a story about Ronda hitting an ex-boyfriend who secretly took photos of her gained media attention as well. Maintaining privacy while living a public life isn’t easy and for someone who is still relatively new to the constant media attention, it is both a distraction and an additional stress to carry each day.
Ego: When you are a World Champion who is 12-0 with 11 finishes in the first round, you are going to get a bit cocky. In recent months, Ronda has continued with making bold claims about being able to defeating boxing great Floyd Mayweather. Also, in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Ronda downplayed Holly Holm’s ability to outbox her, despite Holm’s resume which includes multiple World Championships in boxing.