This week, Dana White spoke out on Ronda Rousey’s future. After previously saying that he thinks she will retire and “ride off into the sunset” after her second career loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 and talking to TMZ this week, he went further than that and added that he believes that his former Champion “doesn’t have it anymore.” White has also said that about several other UFC fighters when distancing himself from them, including Georges St. Pierre.
On the UFC Unfiltered podcast recently, he said he thinks she’s probably done. “In the conversation I had with her, if I had to say right here, right now – again I don’t like saying right here right now because it’s up to her – but I would’t say she fights again,” White said. “She’s going to ride off into the sunset and start living her life outside of fighting.”
He said the loss might have triggered her desire to do more with her life. “She’s so competitive that her career and record meant everything to her,” he said. “And then once she lost, she started to say to herself, ‘What the (expletive) am I doing? This is my whole life. This is it? I want to experience and start doing other things.’ And I think that’s what she started to do, and she’s got a lot of money. She’s never going to need money again.”
Elaborating further with TMZ this week, White said: “It’s no different than any other sport. When you’re a professional athlete and you’re performing at a certain level, the day comes when you don’t anymore. It happened to Ronda.”
He said he doesn’t think this is any different than other what happens to many other top fighters. “Who knows, why?,” he said. “This sport is very very tough. You have to stay at the top of your game. It’s a young man and young woman’s sport. Fighting, throughout the history of time, one day you show up and you don’t have it anymore. It always happens that way. You never know when it’s going to happen. It just creeps up on you. It’s a rough sport.”
White mentioned that the UFC will “always be her house,” and that he and Rousey will remain good friends no matter what happens or whether she returns to the sport again.
The retirement rumors have been rampant since Rousey’s second crushing defeat at UFC 207 to Amanda Nunes. Rousey has been silent since the loss. With White saying this now, these rumors have more evidence behind them now. For him to go on the record and say that makes it look a lot more likely that she is done with MMA.
Then to suggest that she doesn’t have it anymore is further driving the point home. If Rousey had hinted to White about maybe coming back, then why would White bury her in media? She has been one of his biggest stars and one of the UFC’s most protected – especially by him – so for him to now say that she doesn’t have it is a big change in stance.
It devalues her worth in the eyes of the media when her one-time biggest supporter and, more importantly, the man seen as her boss make such a statement.
It is reminiscent of his comments on GSP, as previously noted, whom White also said didn’t have it anymore and had lost the edge needed to be a champion. When it looks like someone isn’t returning to the UFC or has left the company for somewhere else, White has a history of downgrading them in the media, to varying degrees.
Looking at White’s comments that Rousey doesn’t have it anymore, he is likely right in this case.
Rousey showed up in good physical shape for her return fight with Amanda Nunes. However, her mental state after her first loss was called into question, especially after her behavior during the press week leading up to the fight and after crumbling in 48 seconds during the fight. One wouldn’t imagine that her mental state would have improved any further after that when it comes to fighting.
The mental aspect is just as important as physical aspect in MMA. After not being able to overcome her loss to Holly Holm, Rousey proved in the Amanda Nunes fight that she doesn’t have it anymore when it comes to the mental game. She seemed broken mentally and was easily dominated by Nunes. The mental aspect played a bit part in that.
She may have been dominant herself at one point, imposing her will physically on her opponents, but she also had a cloak of invincibility and a confidence – if not arrogance – that propelled her. It gave her a mental edge over everyone she faced. However, as I have mentioned before in previous Sunday Supplements, with this now gone, she is now vulnerable and I can’t see her being able to overcome this.
In addition, Rousey continues to work with Edmund Tarverdyan, meaning the holes in her game – striking, footwork, etc. – are not being closed up which will only lead the same result if she returns to fight again. People have her game figured out now and, if she doesn’t learn anything new or improve in anyway, then it’s pointless.
I agree with Dana White. Although Rousey is still a draw – proved by the numbers at UFC 207 – and may want to come back for the big money at some point, being a top fighter is part of her past. Her mental state is not where it needs to be and probably never will be again, and her training is not good enough for her to continue to hang with the top fighters in the Bantamweight Division.
Her time has now passed. Dana White knows it. And he has finally admitted it.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: THE SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT 1/29: An Experience with Conor McGregor – A recap of his PPV conversation, latest on Mayweather, WWE, UFC future
(D.R. Webster writes “The Sunday Supplement” for MMATorch each week and also authors the MMATorch Daily Trivia feature. He has written for Daily Record Sport, WrestleTalk TV, Sports Kings, and a variety of other combat sports sites and publications, including review shows and DVDs, news reporting, columns, and fantasy articles.)