Ronda Jean Rousey is an American professional wrestler, actress, author, mixed martial artist and judoka.
Speaker: When I was a little kid, what I thought what I wanted to be, when I grew up, I didn’t really think of, oh, I want to be an accountant or I want to be a dentist.
I wanted something extra-ordinary, something that didn’t exist. I wanted to be a super-hero. There were really that many girls super-heroes. I really think, that girls need role models that are strong.
Other: I guess, [unintelligible 00:01:30] is closest, could come up with,to being a super-hero.
Other: Ronda is a pioneer to woman’s MMA. She’s got all the tools. She is incredibly talented, she medaled in the Olympics, she’s top, she’s mean, she’s nasty and she is beautiful.
She’s got one fight in the UFC, one fight and all these major movies are chasing her around now. And she has worked incredibly hard. I’d say, Ronda has worked harder than anybody I’ve ever met, to get to where she is today.
Other: Ronda’s favorite super hero, when she was kid, was Dragon Ball Z. She was crazy into that series. And she said, even when she was young, it was because, it wasn't like spider-man got bitten by a radioactive spider or Superman was born at a different planet, the Dragon Ball Z was the only one where they got that way through training and the more you train, the more of a superhero you got to be.
I think, it's fabulous that Ronda's heroes when she was young were people who are rescuing the city and training and fighting the bad guys and not Disney Princesses.
When she was born, we thought, she was dead. My husband burst into tears in the delivery room. She wasn't breathing, she was blue, so they brought her back and got her breathing.
And then, when she was two, two and a half, she still wasn't talking at all. They thought, it was due to hypoxia, which is just a fancy name for being deprived oxygen at birth.
Speaker: I didn't speak coherently, until I was six years old. And the only real way I was able to communicate was, my sister's translated my gibberish for me. I was frustrated when people wouldn't understand me and I was trying to get my point across, but I never thought that anything was wrong with me and my parents never allowed me to feel like, I was inferior to anybody else since.
Other: Since, Ronda couldn't express herself verbally, she did it physically. The physical things, the Athletics were the things that she could excel in.
And so, that's what she did every second that she could. She started swimming when she was six and she usually was in the top eight in North Dakota.
Speaker: My dad would pick me up pretty much when I was still sleeping, put me in the car, drive me there. Swimming was just our thing that we did together.
Other: I think, the time that they spent going back and forth the swimming and going at the swim meet, kind of strengthen the bond between them. When she was in swimming, he would yell so much, she could hear him underwater.
Speaker: I would swim and he would run around long the length of the pool just jumping up down screaming, taking pictures, everything, he was so stucked on it. He was the coolest dad ever.
Other: Rhonda's dad broke his back. It was just a freak accident, we were sledding. It was North Dakota, the hills are frozen solid as a rock and he ended up, instead of going down and up the next hill, somehow sliding across and going feet first into the opposite hill and broke his back.
And he had a disease, called Bernard Soulier syndrome. As a result, he really didn't heal and it got worse and worse and worse.
Speaker: Bernard Soulier syndrome is similar to hemophilia, you can't clot your blood. They told him that he pretty much only had two years left to live and first to become a paraplegic and then it become like a quadriplegic and then he would die.
Other: At the end, he could just barely walk a couple of steps and it was going to be to the point where it was just all downhill. He told me, he didn't want the kids last memories of him to be 20 tubes running in and out.
Speaker: He didn't want us to suffer with him, so he decided to take matters in his own hands and he went to this pawn we used to drive out to, used to skip rocks on it and stuff. And he put out a hosing the exhaust and lubed it back in turn the car on, he went to sleep and that was it.
The only time I saw my mom crying, she looked at me and she's like, your dad went to heaven. And I just remember, I couldn't feel my legs, like I couldn't walk. He told everybody and he told me, that I was meant to be something extraordinary, I was going to win the Olympics, I'd be President, I'd be anything.
And before I got old enough to think that I knew everything, he died. So, he kind of just left me with that and I believed him because when you're eight years old, your dad's right about everything.
Other: A couple years later, we move to LA. That kind of compounded it because then, at least when we were in North Dakota, she had her little friends and her swim team and everybody and then we moved back here. She didn't have her dad, she didn't have any of that and it was really tough.
Other: Ronda got interested in judo about nine or 10 years old.
Other: Which I did not think was a good idea, that don't do that, that's what your mom did.
Other: Ann Maria De Mars was one of our finest judokas and she was our very first world champion. She'd be yelling and screaming and beating up some of the guys and workouts, she'd be taking arm bars.
Other: I'd go up to people in tournaments and go up behind them and just like kick them in the back, I’m like, bitch, I'm breaking [bleep] them today. I don't know, if they'll intimidate or not, but I arm bar a lot of people.
Speaker: I would consider my mom my first judo coach. When my mom was competing, she tore her knee out, when she was 17. And she was one of the first, Judo people who really focus winning entirely on the ground, because she couldn't stand anymore.
So, she was the arm bar lady. She was the arm bar person, before I was the arm bar person. My mom is just relentless about it all the time. She had made me practicing constantly, how to defending them constantly.
Other: When she'd like to be about 13 or 14, she really started to stand out. When she started saying, I want to win the Olympics, I want it, I want to make the US team, I want to be national champion, I said, ‘’well, I know how to do that.’’
I would say, if you want to compete with women in these countries, that are trained seven days a week, you need to train seven days a week. If you want to compete with the women in these other countries, who are doing two practices a day, you need to do two practices a day.
I knew about Hayastan Gokor Chivichyan and I had been at the same club, when we were young. I heard, he had a really good Club.
Speaker: I was really nervous, my first one in there because, I'm just like a little 12 13-year-old Elan chick walking roomful of a big tough looking guys, who’ll speak in Armenia anytime. I could’ve felt out of place.
Other: Ronda was very aggressive. I fought her a lot and every time I throw her in the floor or catch her on the ground, she always looks like start crying and start getting red in the face. If you continue grappling with her, she's like, she has a revenge on you, like she wants to really, really get you. She gets very angry like a evil.
Speaker: I cried every single practice from like 2002 to 2005 I think, 2006 and a half. I would cry and they would just keep beating me up and beating me up and I would keep going. I'll think of it more as like a face leak, I was just involuntary.
Other: I remember a tournament once. One of my old teammates saying, your daughter's crying, don't you think you should talk to her because she had lost a match. When she was 15 or something and she'd lost something, she would cry. I said, I'm not going to talk to her, every time I talk to her, she’d cry, that's all I would do every day.
Speaker: If my mom saw me goofing around, or having fun, whatever, she would grab me and she'd pull me and sit me in the corner, she’d be like, shut up and sit down and think about winning.
I never went to a single party in high school, I wasn't allowed to have any boyfriends, I wasn't allowed. It was just train and nothing. I thought my mom was the worst person in the world.
Other: What I wanted to instill in my daughter is, that the world is full of people who live lives that are less than they could be because they're afraid. And I'm not going to be one of these sucker parents who is paying for you to live in the basement tell me how you're going to win the Olympics someday, while you party and play Xbox.
Speaker: I went to High School across Boxmeer. I was really shy and withdrawn and I got teased a lot for being muscular. So, I always wear like baggy clothes and I would have kind of second-guess myself all the time. I was always really angry.
Other: I met Ronda at my very first Judo Club. She was listening to Rage Against the Machine something. I was like, how can I start a conversation. So, I tap around the shoulder, I'm like, ‘’oh, you're listening to rage? I love that band.’’
She goes, ‘’you made me take my headphones off to tell me, I'm listening to rage. Automatically I'm thinking, all right bitch, not going along this girl.’’
Speaker: You didn’t say, I love that band, no. She said, you’re listening to Rage Against the Machine? I was like, you made me stop listening to Rage against machine to tell me, I was listening to Rage Against the machine.
Other: It went the way that I said. [Laughter]
Speaker: Sophomore year, I started really taking judo seriously. And I wanted to leave school two weeks early to go to training camp and I asked my Spanish teacher, can I take my final early, so I can go into the training camp. And she was like, no duh! School doesn't revolve around your life, your life should revolve around school.
So, when I was 16, I stopped going to school to train full-time. I went from un ranked to number one in the country. And by that spring, I won the Pan-American championships and qualified the USA spot for the Olympics. And then by that June, I made the Olympic team. And by the August, I was in the Olympics.
Other: ‘’Here to watch Ronda Rousey, competing in the 63-kilogram weight plans.’’
Speaker: In the 2004 Olympics, I was 17, I was the youngest judo competitor that games.
Other: ‘’High school junior Ronda Rousey lost in the repechage rounds at her first Olympics.’’
Speaker: I ended up getting like 9, something like that. I beat the one girl who was a European champion. I mean, I was a really good performer, much better than anyone expected out of me, but I was just devastated. And I was so angry.
I just remember, I expected myself to win and I didn’t and I was crushed. When I lose, it feels like I'm dying. I can't even describe it to anybody.
I try to be perfect for too long and it made me go crazy. Like, I couldn't stand anymore, I was absolutely miserable. Judo is a sport that has weight divisions, so I had to be a certain weight and certain deadline. And I wasn't very well educated or informed on how to do it.
And when I was weighing 57 kilos, I started having trouble making weight and I didn't know the right way to do it. I would wake up in the morning and eat a stack of 10 fudge shop cookies, a glass of milk and then I would like hate myself. And the only way that I could live with myself the rest of the day, is if I went through it up.
I was sitting on the top level of the sauna smelling my hair burn, like I could smell my hair burning and I wasn't sweating, I couldn't sweat anymore.
Other: When she was in France, she missed weight at an international tournament. And then, she disappeared off the face of the earth for a week, who couldn't get hold for nobody, where she was.
Speaker: The week after I turned 18, I pieced out. I would got myself a plane ticket and disappeared in the middle of night. And I was just like, I'm not taking a penny from anyone ever again, I'm going to make this work on my own,
My mom and my coaches were trying so hard to do so much for me and make me- -I wanted to be the best and win, but it got to the point where it was so overbearing that I felt like, I had no control over my own life.
Other: I was just devastated. I mean, my kids have always come first, second and last in my life. And so, then to have somebody pretty much throw that in my face and take off across the country, was devastating a whole bunch of me.
Speaker: I tried to come home after like eight months and passing some of my family, but it went terribly. I moved to Chicago for a little while, my boyfriend and I had at the time and I was there for like six months, there's pretty much as long as I could save up money to dump him and move out.
I moved to Canada, this was all throughout 2006. And that's when like you know the whole like anger and spite really fueled me. I was like I everyone thinks I'm doing the wrong thing everybody wants me to fail, everyone wants me to come home with my tail tucked between my legs, I was going to show him. And without any coaching or anything, I had my best year ever.
Other: Any time there was drama going outside him to the world she would always fuel it into her judo world. She was very good at redirecting all that energy into her training.
Speaker: I won like the first World Cup that and like any American woman won in like nine years. And I got two goals in a bronze in Europe that year.
After I'd done so well competing on my own, I felt validated and I could go home and try to patch things up with my head held high. And I really repaired things a lot with my family. And my old coaches and in Boston asked me to come back and I stayed there and trained, until the Olympics.
Other: ‘’How many 16-year-old kids train three times a day? How many ever would drop out high school and take their classes online and pay the classes by correspondence, so they could work out with the best people in the world? Nobody, but you. People think you're playing to do it but you're not crazy, you're Ronda, you’re it, you’re the one. You got it baby.’’
Speaker: Went to the Olympics and I was doing well and I was at the quarterfinals and I was fighting ITA's Bosch and the match was coming in. And I took a risk, I went through like a haymaker throw and she counted it. And so, I would jog down to the loser bracket and I was just furious.
I went through the rest of the day, like a woman possessed and there was no way, I was leaving there empty-handed. So, I came back and I won a bronze medal.
Other: ‘’Today Ronda Rousey battled to become the first American woman ever to medal in the sport of Judo.’’
Other: Where she's fighting for the bronze, Ronda goes up in the air, her back is, I swear, this far from the mat, she's about to lose and she does a twist in the middle of this, so amazing.
It's how I was telling her about that, after she came off and we're talking about her, ‘’I thought for sure, that you were going to lose him and I couldn't not believe, you are an incredible athlete. Athleticism pulled that out.’’
She goes, ‘’huh, you like that matrix move, mom, because you made me practice that 50 times a night, since I was 12 years old.’’
Speaker: I felt unusually fulfilled with that bronze medal. I was satisfied with myself, regardless of how anyone else felt. And I note down and I kissed that mat goodbye and I knew, it'd never be there again.
Other: ‘’Today Ronda Rousey battle to become the first American woman ever to meddle in the sport of Judo. Here you see what's called a Yuko or a partial throw. It was worth 10 pounds--’’
Speaker: I was done with the Olympics, I came home and I spent years with those coaches, on and off, since I was 16 years old, but anyone didn’t even called to see, if I got off the plane alive. I never heard from them again.
So, I was like, you devoted your life for this? Awesome. I have a 10-grand, but we're going to tax you on that so like a violent metal paid for half of the, 05 Honda Accord LX with 40,000 miles on. An Olympic medal doesn't change your life. It changes your month and then, real life starts again.
I was working minimum-wage jobs. I was working graveyard shifts 24 Hour Fitness, I was working as a veterinary assistant. And I was teaching judo, but I didn't really know what else to do with myself and I just felt really lost. I wanted to find a way to keep competing, but in something that I actually enjoy and was able to support myself doing.
Other: At first, I thought, MMA was the stupidest idea I had ever heard. What I thought it was the stupidest idea because there was no professional path for women, women weren't making any money at it.
So it's sort of like, if I said, my dream is to go out and make it in professional competitive embroidery, there's no such thing. So, what a stupid waste of time.
Speaker: Landscaping MMA for women, when I started, was pretty much non-existent.
Others: ‘’When are we going to see women in UFC man?’’ Never.
Speaker: Something needed to change and I felt like, I could be that change. There are a lot of people that think that women didn't belong in MMA, they didn't belong in the gym. There are a lot of people that thought that, I would never be successful. And proving all those people wrong, is what really kept me going.
I just had so much energy. I didn't have a second to rest. Shadowbox in the shower, just like I'd felt like, I was trying to make as much progress as possible at every point. I was obsessed, I was dating this one guy at the time, we started going out while I was bartending and then we stopped going out while I was fighting.
Other: The first fight was just devastation. I think, it was like a 30-something second fight. The next one was the same thing and the next one was the same thing.
Speaker: That was just kind of like the beginning of the next part of the whole journey, where I just felt like, okay, got this.
Others: ‘’Sliding out of the red corner, weighing 146 pounds, she specializes in judo.’’ ‘’Ronda Rousy closes the distance on Julia Bud. Oh my goodness! This is unbelievable. It’s over. Ronda Rousey does that again.’’
Other: She doesn't give a damn. She busted a couple girls arms, ‘’let's move on, where are we eating tonight?’’
Other: It was hard to ignore Ronda Rousey. She made me start to think, alright, I'm interested in women's MMA.
Other: ‘’She is the arm bar queen, Rowdy Ronda Rousey, makes it four straight wins, to kick out from Mixed Martial Arts career.’’
Speaker: I was on some interview phone call, I remember, my phone had a call waiting on there. And they had some number from Vegas. I was about to say, who the [bleep] I know from Vegas, because usually it's how I answer unknown calls, but I didn't that time. And so, I picked it up, he's like, it's Dana White. I was like, oh.
Others: ‘’When are we going to see women in the UFC man?’’ Never.
Other: I remember the video in which Dana White was recorded, saying that women's MMA was never going to happen in the UFC. And a few days after, I was talking to her and she's like, ‘’I know, he's going to love me, I’m going to convince him.’’
Speaker: I’m going to get you. [laugher]
I just feel like, if I wanted women’s MMA in the UFC, I wanted it badly enough, where I didn't trust anybody else to do it for me. So, I just made a personal goal and went for it.
While, everyone was playing Miss America and trying to be super like, politically correct all the time, I was like, you know what? I almost going to be a ballsy ass mouthed bitch.
‘’I don't have much respect for the inconsistency or attitude, it seems to kind of reflect that she has a little bit of a weak personality.’’
Other: She kind of has the Dana white attitude. She doesn't go [bleep], she just says, what she thinks. There's a real beauty in that. It's real pure.
Other: ‘’She's talked her way into a title fight in my opinion, she's not the number-one contender at 135.’’
Other: ‘’It's going down tomorrow night in the Meddle band, Miesha Tate defending to Strike force women's bantamweight title, against Rowdy Ronda Rousey.’’
Other: What definitely changed my mind about women's MMA, was Rhonda's fight with Miesha Tate. And I think, it changed a lot of people's mind.
Other: ‘’The Challenger Rowdy, Ronda Rousey!’’
Speaker: I’ve been on her head so much. She just went straight Bobby Boucher. It was like, [sound]. I just kind of took a second and I was like, ‘’okay, you're going down.’’
I got to a point, where she was trying just like backpack and hold on to my Judo gi. We sat down and I was like, I can pop out of this. And I was like, wait a minute, her heels right here, like, I thought, if I pulled out her foot the way, I wanted to point out, I would just flash the whole audience.
So, I was just thinking about, how am I going to get this happening without pulling my shorts off. So, I came up and I pulled her feet out in a way that even if I did pull it aside, no one would have saw my business, then got out.
Other: ‘’Rousey, [unintelligible 00:29:30] like a backpack there momentarily, trying to scramble, trying to reverse backdoors, escape-’’
Speaker: Then, finished up for whatever and there was a hamburger and that was it.
Other: ‘’Looking for the arm again, there she goes. Less than a minute remaining in the first round. Ronda Rousy extending the arm, Tate hanging on, just fully trying to survive. Oh, It’s over. Rousy has got it. Five professional fights, five first round arm bar’s submissions. Ronda Rousy is the new strike force women’s bantamweight champion.’’
Speaker: I finally won the title in MMA. I kind of felt a peace with myself that I didn't know, I was seeking so much. I wasn't so much aware of it, but I felt like my shoulders drop in a relaxation and I felt like, I kind of a connection with him in that moment. And I felt like, I had to say something, I just acknowledge him.
‘’My dad, wherever you are, hope that you see this. We all miss you, we love you and this is for you. I hope you're proud of me.’’ [Applause]
Other: ‘’Ronda Rousey, in less than one year, has gone through working three jobs, just to make ends meet,to become one of the hottest star in all of Mixed Martial Arts.’’
Speaker: Sarah Kaufman, people were saying but this is the first really good striker, Ronda’s just coming up against, since she's 15 and one. I was like, I'm just going to go straight into her face, right in the beginning.
Other: ‘’The former champion and challenger, Sarah Kaufman in the blue blouse and Rousey comes out swinging.Kaufman got to get her hips low. Nice swing.She headed it to one way and took it back to the other to [unintelligible 00:31:29] everybody. Rousey has [unintelligible 00:31:31] and already going through the arm.’’
Speaker: It was like, one of my most perfect fights and you could see in the picture, I be doing the arm bar. The one person sitting in front of it, that got like the first row seat to see the arm bar, I was like, this Dana's sitting right there.
So, it was almost like, I walked in there and through it and I did the arm bar and I was like, that's for you. Look at that, ignore that, can't ignore that, it's right in front of your face.
Other: ‘’Rowdy Ronda Rousey continues to amaze. Are you kidding me?’’
Other: The night she fuck off and down San Diego, the intensity, the way she fought, I mean, just everything that night, I definitely wanted to be in business with Ronda Rousey and women's MMA.
‘’I'm going to make it official right now, the first-ever women's fight in the UFC, Ronda Rousey, she'll be fighting Liz Carmouche and she is the main event.’’
Speaker: I ended up fighting Liz Carmouche. She was the only one that early wanted to fight.
Other: I definitely think, the other woman is a visionary scare. I think, that's kind of been one of those things that has hindered people, is they step in there with fear.
Speaker: There wasn't a single day, I didn't turn on my Twitter and I didn't see Liz Carmouche being like, ‘’give me this fight, please I want this fight, please I want this fight, make this happen.’’
She's a legit fighter. If it wasn't for like one tiny little mistake, she would have been the Strike force champion.
Other: ‘’The Girl-Rilla, with the grounded [unintelligible 00:33:38] neutralizes the champion.’’
Speaker: Liz is a very unorthodox fighter, where she doesn't have that structured boxing style, that muay thai styles, she could just do something out of nowhere.
Other: Everybody ask, how do you not get arm barred, you just don't get arm barred.
Other: We've been preparing Liz for arm bars for months, arm bars grills, arm bars every day. We even have this little bet going on right now around the gym, that if you could arm bar Liz at a moment's notice, she'll buy you a hamburger. She hasn't had to buy one hamburger.
Speaker: I'm sure, it helps her a lot for to be constantly getting arm bar like that, but I know that the people arm baring her on daily basis aren't nearly as good as my mom. It's a piece of history, that's an honor to be a part of, regardless the fools hand gets raised, but I know I'm going to win.
Other: ‘’Ronda is in a very bad situation here. She’s getting her face strangled.’’
Speaker: I was willing to let my neck be broken.
Other: ‘’Ronda’s face is getting twisted. Carmouche trying to shock the World. Carmouche has got a good shot here. Rousey tries to shake the-‘’
Speaker: Once I got her off and she was on the ground, she never got up again.
Other: [unintelligible 00:38:44-00:38:46] ‘’Once again, first round arm bar champion, Ronda Rousey.’’
Speaker: It sounds really corny, so corny, but this is a dream come true. I'd been dreaming it for a long time and in that moment, it was true. And it's not the kind of fairytale that you see in Disney, but it was my fairy tale. My life is now just chaos.
Other: She's been doing a lot of interviews, magazines, she's represented by William Morris, so they had her meet with every major player in Hollywood.
Speaker: I mean, hanging out with celebrity idols of mine, that actually like, no way, running into Mike Tyson and have him call me champ. It's just like, does this happen to anyone, really?
Other: She is a superstar right now and not just in the sports, but in the mainstream.
Other: One of the major benefits of her being successful and one of the things I'm proudest of her about, is that she uses the celebrity to strengthen other causes, to help other people.
One day I said, who would you like to help? Now that you're doing well, who would you like to share your good fortune with? And she said, people with eating disorders. We raised over $6800 from this clinic for the Didi Hirsch mental health clinic.
Speaker: My mom, she has a lot of lines. One of them is, ‘’It's not your purpose in life to be happy, it's your purpose in life to leave the world better than how you found it.’’ I'm trying to do that.
Other: ‘’How long have you been training?’’
Speaker: I’m doing judo for 15 years and MMA for the two and a half years.
Speaker: I do think that girls need role models that are strong. That whole Disney princess era of look really pretty and get ready to be saved. It's just, I don't think it's very healthy or accurate. I don't think that women have to be like that. They could be the savior sometimes too, not just the savies.
The time I really feel like a superhero is that period of elation after I went and it's drug, it is, it’s my drug. Then, the next saga comes along and then there is a new bad guy and then, I have a new person to train and fight for, then I got to be that bad guy.
This belt is my baby and I'm going to protect it like that. There's no way, that I’ve gone through all this and done all the work, that I’ve had to do, just to let some other girl come along and take it away.
I'm going to retire undefeated. So, I'm my own superhero, prince charming and I got this [bleep] dandled.