Poster child for Female Empowerment: Ronda Rousey
Imagine being a woman in a male-dominated industry, recently ranked #1 in Women’s MMA, and have a record of 12-1 . That my friends is Ronda Rousey. Also known as ‘Rowdy’ by her close family and friends. Plus, she’s only 29 years old! Makes you really question what you’re doing with your life. Not only does Rousey have an impeccable history in mixed martial arts, she’s currently ranked #2 behind Holly Holm, who dealt Ronda her only loss. Rousey has broken barriers in her fighting career for being the highest paid UFC fighter.
The Early Years of Rousey: Where it All Began
Rousey’s childhood was anything but easy breezy. She endured quite a bit dealing with her speech problems and her father’s suicide. At the time of her birth, Ronda was born with an umbilical cord wrapped around her neck leading to a lack of oxygen and slight brain damage. This eventually led to her difficult forming words and speaking until the age of 6. By the time Ronda turned 8, another tragedy stuck.
Ronda’s father committed suicide after learning he only had a few years left to live. As little Ronda grew up, she was homeschooled for most of her childhood. Ronda was not fond of school which led to great frustration. This frustration, her mother believed, could be well channeled into something good. Ronda then decided to learn judo. Since her mother was already a gold medal winning judoka in 1984, she began to show Ronda the ropes of judo, drilling her with knowledge and trivia. Her mother was really a tough cookie. Ronda’s mother worked hard to instill a level of toughness in her daughter.
Ronda frequently discusses how hard her mother pushed her into becoming who she is today by quoting, “I was 11 years old and I broke my big toe doing judo,” Rousey said, “To an 11-year-old this is a very big deal, so I stopped fighting and started to cry.
My mother then made me run laps around the mat for the rest for the night. I thought she was just being cruel at the time, but she told me, “Sometimes you have to fight when you’re injured. You need to know you’re capable of that.”
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The Journey Continues (Rousey Kicks Serious Ass)
Rousey was named to the United States Olympic team at age 15, and at 16 she became the youngest American to earn the national No. 1 ranking in the women’s half-middleweight division. Although she didn’t earn a medal at the 2004 Olympics, she claimed gold at that year’s World Junior and Pan American Judo Championships.
After defending her Pan American Judo Championship title in 2006, Rousey became the first American woman in 12 years to earn a World Championship medal by finishing second in the 2007 tournament. She then won gold at the 2007 Pan American Games, despite a torn knee meniscus. After earning the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, she retired from judo at age 21.
After retiring, Ronda was left confused as to what to do next. Ronda began working as a bartender and even lived in her car for some time. Can you imagine Ronda Rousey living in a car? Neither can we. In 2010, Rousey joined the Glendale Fighting Club, making her debut in martial arts. This is where it really began. By 2012, Rousey was named Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion beating her opponent in a mere 4 minutes and 27 seconds!
At this point in her career, Rousey began famously for her trash-talking of her opponents and her good looks. She started appearing in magazines, talk shows, and the works. By 2013, Rousey appeared in Maxim and announced her plans to take her career in a new direction: acting! Rousey then appeared in Furious 7, Entourage, and The Expendables 3.
Fighter, model, actress… Author?
Ronda later came out with an autobiography in 2015 titled, “My Fight/Your Fight.” She went into detail about how the fame wasn’t all it looks to be. It’s not at all glitz and glamor, saying she struggled with a pot and Vicodin addiction paired with heavy drinking. Ronda is the perfect example for rags to riches story with a twist in addiction. Ronda refuses to discuss her father in the book or in any interview saying she does not want to repeat it because she’ll get too detached from the event.
When Ronda first started fighting, she earned 400 dollars per fight. Now she earns up to 1 million dollars on a pay-per-view event! Ronda Rousey has shown all of us that if you work hard enough, anything is possible. Can she regain her #1 ranking? With Ronda’s work ethic and determination don’t bet against her.