It's rare in sports, but every now and then sports fans get to encounter something completely unique: athletes with opinions they're happy to share, and possessing the type of wit you might not expect out of someone that spends most of their time in the gym.
Ronda Rousey is becoming a poster girl not just for women's MMA, but for an athlete ‘raw and uncensored'. She's defiantly not afraid to say what's on her mind, but unlike Chael Sonnen, we're not observing theatre. We're observing humanity: anger, humor, joy, grit, and Pokemon make up Rousey's stream of consciousness.
This past Sunday, Jeff Sherwood (along with Scott Holmes) had a chance to interview Rousey at the LA Fitness Expo. It was a candid interview even by Rousey's standards.
The interview started out innocuous enough until Sherwood asked her about her favorite 145 lb champion, Cristiane Santos (on whether or not Cyborg was good or bad for female MMA):
"She was a detriment to women's MMA. No little girl is going to watch cris cyborg fight and want to be like her one day. I don't think it's a good example. I think it was obvious all along that she was doping, and I think it sends a bad message to kids that you need to dope in order to be achampion. I think it's better with her gone."
While her logic might not be questionable, the "if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck" line of thinking was nonetheless validated in the wake of Cyborg's positive test. Incapable of ruffling the feathers of just the disgraced ex-champ, Rousey didn't stop there, taking a thinly veiled shot at Miesha Tate...
"There's a reason why the Olympics is every four years. It's because if they had it every year, they would go bankrupt. The Olympics is the epitome of sport and that's where it's all just about the sport. But with professional sports it's about entertainment. It's about making money. The core of everything is still about the sport, but that's not everything it's about. It's hilarious when these girls are ‘you talked yourself into a title shot!' What you're really saying in a mean way is that I'm smarter than all of you, and I actually have an understanding of how this works and used it to my advantage. "
...nor did Rousey avoid leaving the ring-card-girl-stone unturned...
"There's a reason why the ring girls aren't asked to star in movies, and it's because they're pretty but talentless."
For context, Rousey was responding to a question about Gina Carano, who Rousey has the utmost respect for, and who she attributes some of her success to. However, Ronda's most scathing attack was directed at the Olympics.
Everyone talks about how awesome the Olympics are, but you know what? After the Olympics they give you ten grand a handshake. And you know what, it costs way more than ten grand to get there. The Olympics didn't give a damn about me after I was done. And I gotta do what I gotta do to make a living. If I gotta pose for some magazines...I'm not gonna show my nipples or asshole or anything like that but if I gotta walk around at the beach in a bikini, why not let someone take a picture of me and put it in a magazine?
All these companies make millions and millions of dollars to put the Olympic rings as like a logo. I walked into 24 hour fitness the other day. They're a multi-million dollar sponsor of the Olympic games. And they have all these Olympic rings all over the place. They know I'm an Olympic medalist. They know I'm an Olympian. They will not let me in there without paying. I have to pay to go into 24 hour fitness. I have to buy every single Gatorade bottle. That money does not go to the athletes. That money goes into a lot of really corrupt national governing bodies that bounce that money around, they give it to all their friends, and almost none of that money makes it to the athletes. USA Judo is the most corrupt organizations ever, and they hated me because I was not afraid to say it, and they always gave me as little funding as possible.
At the 2007 worlds they sent more officials and more people from their organization, and then they made most of the athletes pay for themselves to go. They only sponsorerd three athletes to go, and they sent like eleven different people. And I remember at the Pan Am games, or Pan-Am champsionships in wherever we were at, a bunch of the athletes had to pay for themselves to go and then they flew some PR girl at the last minute. Thousands of dollars just to show up and hang around. And they're sending all their people first class, and they're spending all this, you look at their budget and they're spending thousands of dollars on entertainment for each other. All the people that work for this organization are sitting in these amazing hotels, and the athletes, I'm sitting in a hut. A chalet in the middle of Belgium.
All that money and none of it goes to the athletes, and the second that you're done fighting they just give you a kick in the ass out the door. There's nothing set in place to help the athletes after they're done. What are you doing while you're training your whole life? You're not getting as much education as you could. You're not getting as much work experience as you could. And so what happens after the Olympics Is that you have all these athletes that have no work experience, no education, and they have no health. And it's all bullshit.
And that's why I'm like screw everyone's idea of 'oh what sports are supposed to be like'. I did what sports were supposed to be like, and I was living in my car. So you know what, fine. I'm gonna talk a bunch of shit. I'm gonna pose in a couple of pictures. And I'm gonna break a couple of girl's arms, and I'm not gonna feel the least bit sorry about it because you know what? At least I can feed my dog.
It's an extensive interview, but I suggest you listen to the whole thing here. The interview begins at the one hour, and 55 minute mark. Sherwood would later describe Rousey's teary-eyed frustration during the rant.