The Shady Side Of Ronda Rousey

Much like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Lebron James, Ronda Rousey's image transcends her sport. Even if you've never seen Rousey fight, you probably know her name. Whether she's kicking butt in big budget movies, appearing on yet another late-night talk show, or selling Budweiser with Hollywood stars in commercials, Rousey is everywhere. She used to sit atop the UFC world with an undefeated record and international exposure, but Rousey was dismantled by kickboxer Holly Holm in November 2015, when the up-and-comer knocked out the champ with a brutal head kick for a second-round TKO. Fun fact: Rousey predicted a kick to the head would take her down on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon a month before the fight.

Her star shone a little less brightly after that loss, but in January 2018, the former women's bantamweight champion signed with juggernaut WWE and became a full-time wrestler. But the sports and media darling has caused some drama in her new gig, and she has a history of doing just that. Get in your defensive stance and let's spar with the shady side of Ronda Rousey.

She physically assaulted an ex-boyfriend

In her best-selling autobiography My Fight/Your Fight, Rousey recalled a violent altercation with an ex-boyfriend after she found out that he'd been taking nude photographs of her. According to excerpts published by Bloody Elbow, Rousey claims she "slapped him across the face so hard my hand hurt," but feared for her safety when he blocked the door and refused to let her leave. "He wouldn't move. I punched him in the face with a straight right, then a left hook. He staggered back and fell against the door," Rousey wrote. "...I slapped him with my right hand. He still wouldn't move. Then I grabbed him by the neck of his hoodie, kneed him in the face and tossed him aside on the kitchen floor." He allegedly followed to her the car and again, she claimed she was protecting herself when she "pulled him by the neck of the hoodie again, dragged him onto the sidewalk, and left him writhing there as I sped away."

Rousey's admission lead many to question if she was getting a pass on being a domestic abuser because she's a woman. Rousey told the Opie Radio podcast (via Bloody Elbow) that the fear of her leaked nudes is what inspired her to pose nude for ESPN's Body Issue. "'You know what? If there's naked pictures out there, I'm going to go take naked pictures myself and I'm going to put it out there on my terms," she said.

Her peers don't think she's paid her dues

Former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate won't be inviting Ronda Rousey to a girl's night out anytime soon. In addition to still being upset that Rousey called Tate's then-boyfriend, Bryan Caraway, "a douche," Tate also believes Rousey's rise to prominence was handed to her without putting in the work. "Every single woman that fights MMA has done just as much work as Ronda has, we just haven't gotten as much turnaround," Tate told FOX Sports in 2013. "Those women who came before her haven't been on magazine covers, they weren't plastered everywhere by the UFC. They didn't get the same reward back." Claiming she knows what it's "like to be fighting for breadcrumbs and not to be taken seriously," Tate said other female fighters "didn't get the same things Ronda has gotten."

Tate wasn't finished with her blistering critique of Rousey's success. "She runs her mouth," she said. "She's very loud, very boisterous, very opinionated. Love her or hate her, you take notice of her. I think that's the biggest thing. She's different than most of the girls who fight in MMA." Tate added that Rousey belongs in the WWE instead of the UFC. "Those are the fans that fell hook line and sinker and loved her. She was that controversial one, that s**t talker, she started drama."

Her husband was married when they starting dating

Ronda Rousey confirmed her relationship with fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne in October 2015 via a statement to ESPN. "I don't talk about my personal life much. That's why it's called 'personal life,'" she said. "It's true that Travis and I are in a relationship. I've really enjoyed the time we have spent together and getting to know one another. And that's all I'm going to say about it."

Rousey probably didn't want to say much more because Browne was still married to fitness model Jenna Renee Webb at the time. The couple wed in January 2015, but six months later (via TMZ), Webb accused Browne of domestic violence and "posted graphic and disturbing photos on her Instagram page showing brutal injuries." Browne vehemently denied the allegations, but the UFC suspended the heavyweight pending an investigation into the allegations.

According to ESPN, the UFC cleared and reinstated Browne on Aug. 29, 2015, after it "found inconclusive evidence to support claims of alleged domestic violence." Browne and Webb divorced in February 2016, and Rousey and Browne married in August 2017. Who says there's only drama inside the ring? 

Disrespecting Holly Holm came back to haunt her

Ronda Rousey was undefeated and the heavy favorite going into her 2015 fight with Holly Holm, and that obviously went to her head way before Holm's foot did. Despite being cordial with each other leading up to the fight, the ladies nearly came to blows during the UFC 193 weigh-ins, prompting UFC President Dana White to step in and break it up. Speaking to commentator Joe Rogan after the chaos, Rousey said (via FOX Sports), "She's the one that touched me and I told her that fake, sweet act — I can see right through it." Holm is a respected fighter, but not by Rousey's estimation. "You're not the first person that thought that you had the perfect plan to beat me," Rousey said. "It's not the first time that your camp thought they had the perfect plan to beat me..." 

SPOILER: Holm won. After the fight (via MMA Mania), the UFC's Rashad Evans called Rousey's behavior "disgusting" and suggested it serve as a lesson in humility. "And now I think she's to the point where she's like, 'You know what, I'm not going to say anything, I'm not going to give you a sound bite to hang me with afterward if I don't win this fight,” he said.

Her former manager calls her a 'monster'

If you thought there was bad blood between Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm, it's nothing compared to what's going on with Rousey and her former manager, Darvin Harvey. He took to Instagram following Rousey's first professional defeat to make his feelings on her loss crystal clear: "KARMA. No need for revenge. Just sit back & wait. Those who hurt you will eventually screw up themselves & if you're lucky, GOD will let you watch." Ouch! 

Speaking to USA Today, Harvey acknowledged his complicity in building her Hollywood persona, saying, "I created a monster. She believed she was as special as the press made her out to be. They give me absolutely no credit for the success of her career. She's not a good person. You don't forget where you came from." Double ouch!

Their relationship reportedly crumbled before Rousey became famous, but their ongoing feud has lasted years. In 2015 (via Bloody Elbow), Harvey threatened a defamation lawsuit against his former client for failing "to acknowledge the important role" he played in her career in her autobiography, My Fight/Your Fight. That issue was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. "Without violating any agreements, I can say that the changes Mr. Harvey refers to are extremely minor and would not in any way alter the theme or flow of Ms. Rousey's memoir," her attorney said (via Yahoo! Sports).

Double standard or diva behavior?

Despite the many questions the media had for Ronda Rousey ahead of her UFC 207 comeback bout against Amanda Nunes in 2016, reporters weren't given the chance to ask a single one. The reason: Rousey asked to skip her media obligations and was the beneficiary of a complete "media blackout." As UFC President Dana White explained (via ABC News), "Ronda has given more than anybody. If you look at the amount of press that's been done by any fighter in the UFC in UFC history, Ronda smokes everybody by a long shot. And this is the way she wanted it. The only thing she cares about right now is focusing on winning."

White's statement may sound authentically sympathetic, but the UFC boss took the exact opposite stance with star Conor McGregor just months prior. McGregor was pulled from the landmark UFC 200 card because he refused to stop training so that he could fly to Las Vegas to promote his rematch against Nate Diaz (via MMA Fighting). Said White, "I respect Conor as a fighter and I like him as a person. But you can't decide not to show up to these things. You have to do it." 

Not a good look, folks.

Was it all a quick cash grab?

Despite Amanda Nunes making quick work of Ronda Rousey (The whole thing was over in just 48 seconds), Rousey's paycheck dwarfed her opponents by an absurd amount. According to MMAJunkie, Nunes made $200,000 for retaining her women's bantamweight title, while Ronda Rousey earned a whopping $3 million. We did the math for you: Rousey made approximately $62,500 per second for losing. 

Rousey making millions to lose a fast fight left some wondering if her so-called comeback was just a cash grab. After all, UFC fighters are arguably considered an underpaid group of athletes. Although Rousey's star power meant she wouldn't struggle in this regard, it's also possible that she wasn't willing to risk a pay dip if her best fighting days were behind her. Some believe Rousey had her eye on a Hollywood career and other cash endorsements and never took the match-up with Nunes seriously. 

Her former coach has a horrible reputation

While many have hailed Ronda Rousey as one of the greatest female MMA fighters of all time, there are some serious questions about her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. Criticism toward Tarverdyan increased in the lead up to Rousey's fight against Holly Holm, with Rousey's own mother, Dr. AnnMaria DeMars, leading the charge. "I think Edmund is a terrible coach, and I will say it publicly," DeMars quipped (via ESPN). "I think he hit the lottery when Ronda walked in there." In an interview with LatiNation (per FOX Sports), De Mars also didn't hold back: "I hate him. I would run over him with my car if there wasn't a law against it."

According to Bloody Elbow, even Rousey's opponent, Amanda Nunes, partially blames Tarverdyan for the outcome of their fight. Rousey "thinks she is a boxer. He like put this thing in her head, and make the girl believe in that," Nunes said during a press conference. "I don't know why he did that. She had great judo. She could've gone more forward in this division, but he put that crazy thing about boxing (in her head), and her career started going down."