Ronda Rousey has been kicking ass and scoring guest spots since rising to prominence in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) in 2012, but did her glut of Hollywood obligations contribute to Saturday’s shocking loss to Holly Holm?
Former UFC fighter and current ESPN analyst Chael Sonnen thinks that would be an easy excuse. “If we go that route, what we’re really doing is insulting the victor’s victory,” he told TheWrap.
Rather, Sonnen just doesn’t think Rousey is that great a fighter, and that new Bantamweight champ Holm is simply superior.
“Ronda was largely created by the media,” Sonnen added, saying sensationalist coverage made her out to be “this invincible and unique product.”
Fox Sports mixed martial arts analyst Kenny Florian was a little kinder to Rousey’s skill set — and open to the idea of overexposure or distraction.
“It’s possible,” he told TheWrap. “When you get to the highest level in any sport, I think everything makes a difference.”Why Ronda Rousey Couldn’t Live Up to Her Own Hollywood Hype
The Fs1 host quantified Rousey as 65 percent a great fighter and 35 percent a media sensation.
For her part, Rousey had claimed her focus was all-in on the fight.
“I’ve been doing three title fights back-to-back in the last nine months, and while I’m in camp I’m pretty much all cut off from the Hollywood world,” Rousey told KHON2 in a recent interview. “So after I’m done beating Holly I’ll have a chunk of time when I’ll be able to entertain that whole world and see what’s going on and spend a lot more time on that.”
Let’s look at Rousey’s 2015, which saw her take on three pro fights — one more than each of the past few years. She stayed just as busy outside the Octagon. This year, 28-year-old Rousey starred in “Furious 7” and played herself in “Entourage.” She was also cast as the lead in the “Roadhouse” remake and is set to star in “Mile 22,” which is currently in pre-production. Her major motion picture debut came last year in “The Expendables 3.”
Here’s a list of TV shows the former Bantamweight champ has appeared on this calendar year: “UFC Ultimate Insider” (multiple times), “Entertainment Tonight” (multiple times), “Live with Kelly and Michael,” ESPN’s “Mike & Mike,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (multiple times), “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Good Morning America” (multiple times), “Weekend Today,” “UFC Embedded: Vlog Series,” “CBS This Morning,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Made in Hollywood,” “Up Close with Carrie Keagan,” “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” “Drew Pearson Live,” “Encontro com Fátima Bernardes,” “The View,” and “Conan,” among a few docs and pay-per-views.
In 2014, the previously undefeated Rousey appeared on TV herself just four times — and one was a WWE pay-per-view at Wrestlemania. She did a few more small-screen appearances in each of the prior two years, but nowhere near 2015’s total. Rousey has taken on bigger roles in other entertainment mediums lately too. On Friday, EA Sports unveiled Rousey as the cover fighter for its upcoming UFC video game. She had appeared in
Perhaps the fighter is a bit beaten up by her own schedule, whether or not it led to her being beaten up this weekend.
One thing the two male former pro brawlers can agree on is that Rousey’s future as a bankable Hollywood star is up in the air at best. Ronda had previously told Florian’s Fox Sports that she planned to disappear into acting roles until UFC 200 — now Rousey may have to fight to keep any Hollywood steam she had built up.
“She got all of opportunities out of her having this aura of invincibility,” Florian told TheWrap. “Now that is kind of gone.”
The thing is, it kind of didn’t matter if Rousey was legitimately an all-time great fighter or not, Sonnen concured. What mattered is that Hollywood believed she was — possibly up until now.
“Bruce Lee was a wimp,” Sonnen said, drawing a parallel. “Chuck Norris couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag.
“It’s a domino effect … the Jimmy Kimmel’s of the world aren’t her friends,” he said, preparing Rousey for a future with fewer phone calls.
Fierce fighter or flash-in-the-pan, don’t count Rousey out just yet — either in MMA or acting. The fighter promised she’ll be back to her violent day job after a little time off.
“I just wanted to thank everyone for the love and support,” Rousey wrote on Instagram following the loss. “I appreciate the concerns about my health, but I’m fine. As I had mentioned before, I’m going to take a little bit of time, but I’ll be back.”
But even that return needs to be calculated now, according to the experts — both from a health standpoint and PR one.
“She needs to be very careful of when she comes back,” Florian warned. “A rematch against Holly Holm would be a big mistake.”
Sonnen also sees a possible return to greatness for Rousey, one that sends her both to the top of the UFC rankings and back towards Hollywood’s A-List.
“She could get it back,” he concluded. “There’s very few stories that are better than a comeback story.”