Ronda Rousey: I Kept This A Secret My Entire Career! WWE Is A Mess!

Ronda Rousey: I Kept This A Secret My Entire Career! WWE Is A Mess!

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Ronda Rousey was voted the best female athlete of all time.
  • She had a tough childhood, her father committed suicide when she was eight and she was bullied in school.
  • She dropped out of school at 16 to train full-time in combat sports.
  • Many of her coaches were abusive, believing that abuse produced the best results.
  • She suffered from concussions throughout her career, making her more susceptible to future concussions.
  • After losing to Holly Holm, she took a break from combat sports.
  • She transitioned to WWE but was critical of the company's environment and leadership.

Being Born With A Rare Disease (00:02:10)

  • Ronda Rousey was born with the umbilical cord around her neck and had a low Apgar score, indicating poor health at birth.
  • She suffered neurological damage as a result, which manifested as a motor speech disorder called apraxia.
  • She underwent years of speech therapy to overcome the disorder, but still experiences occasional difficulties.
  • The pressure of performing in professional wrestling, where every word is scrutinized, exacerbates her speech difficulties.

Ronda's Struggles as a Child (00:03:46)

  • Ronda had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck at birth, resulting in health issues and delayed speech development.
  • She underwent tests for deafness and autism but received no clear diagnosis until later.
  • A fan suggested she might have a condition called apraxia, which fit her symptoms.
  • Ronda found solace in sports, particularly Judo, as a way to connect with others.

Her Father’s Death When She Was A Child (00:05:27)

  • Ronda's father passed away when she was eight years old.
  • He had a sledding accident and broke his back, leading to a rare blood disorder that prevented healing.
  • He kept his condition and chronic pain a secret from the family.
  • Ronda's father died by suicide to avoid being remembered as a bedridden patient.
  • Ronda and her family were unaware of his suffering until after his death.

Finding Out About Her Dad's Suicide (00:07:35)

  • Ronda Rousey's father died by suicide when she was 8 years old.
  • Her mother, a PhD in educational psychology, explained the situation to her in a straightforward manner.
  • Ronda felt a loss of security and a constant fear of things falling apart.
  • She was very close to her father and spent a lot of time with him during the week.
  • At 8 years old, she struggled to understand the concept of suicide and told herself that her father was away on business.
  • She later learned that her grandfather had also committed suicide.
  • Her siblings and mother did not want to talk about the loss openly.

Ronda's Mother (00:10:38)

  • Ronda's mother is a highly accomplished woman.
  • She got a perfect score on the SATs at 16, graduated college at 19, and won the World Championships in Judo while working as a single mother, engineer, and pursuing a PhD in educational psychology.
  • She taught Ronda her signature armbar move, which has become a family heirloom.

What's Been Ingrained in Her as a Kid (00:11:46)

  • Losing a parent before the age of 10 can lead to greater success later in life, according to Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink".
  • Ronda Rousey's upbringing, including the loss of her father, her involvement in sports, and being the youngest of her sisters, shaped her into a determined and competitive individual.
  • Her parents encouraged her to pursue her interests and instilled in her the belief that she could achieve anything she set her mind to.

Becoming a Prodigy of Judo (00:13:34)

  • At the age of 10, Ronda Rousey moved to Santa Monica and began training in Judo.
  • She found Judo to be mentally engaging and enjoyed the challenge of solving puzzles and having conversations with her opponents.
  • Winning her first Judo tournament gave her a feeling of addiction to winning, which motivated her to drop out of school at 16 to train full-time.
  • Her mother, a former Judo champion herself, took an outside role in her daughter's career, ensuring that she trained with the right people at the right time.
  • Ronda Rousey won her first tournament with instant wins, demonstrating her exceptional talent in Judo.

Her Competitive Nature for Fighting (00:15:59)

  • Ronda Rousey credits her Judo success to her determination to win and her ability to overcome challenges.
  • She developed a deep fascination for Judo and created her own fighting style and philosophy.
  • Rousey describes herself as having an obsessive focus and fixates on things for hours, which can be both beneficial and detrimental.
  • Her perfectionism is not about achieving external perfection but rather about mastering and understanding something completely.
  • Ronda Rousey hints at undisclosed information about her time in WWE and expresses frustration with its current state, describing it as chaotic.

Moving in With Her Coach At 16 (00:20:30)

  • Ronda Rousey moved in with her coach, Big Jim, at the age of 16 to train in Judo.
  • Big Jim was one of the best Judo coaches in the country and had trained his son, Little Jimmy, who won the 1999 World Championship in Judo.
  • Leaving home at 16 was tough for Ronda, she was homesick and isolated, but she was determined to succeed in Judo.

Her Struggles With Bulimia (00:21:55)

  • At the age of 16, Ronda Rousey began struggling with bulimia due to the pressure to maintain a certain weight for Judo competitions.
  • She would hoard food while cutting weight and then binge eat after weigh-ins.
  • Ronda felt guilty about eating too much and would make herself throw up to avoid gaining weight.
  • She struggled with bulimia for several years and it became a way for her to control her weight when she felt overwhelmed by the pressure to be a certain size.

Getting Bullied for Her Physique (00:24:33)

  • Ronda Rousey was bullied for being muscular in school.
  • She would wear a hoodie to cover up her arms.
  • Muscularity was not considered attractive for women at that time.

Ronda Competing in the Beijing Olympics (00:25:49)

  • Ronda Rousey left home at 18 to pursue judo.
  • She competed in the Beijing Olympics at 21 and won a bronze medal.
  • She received only $6,000 after taxes for winning the medal.

Lack of Pay (00:26:30)

  • Ronda Rousey felt a lack of validation and respect from others.
  • This drove her to succeed but eventually held her back.
  • She benefited from it but it was not sustainable for her happiness.

Our Dark Side Becomes The Driver Of Our Success (00:27:01)

  • Tim Grover, who trained athletes like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, believes that our dark side and light side are interconnected.
  • The difficult aspects of our personality, which we may try to hide, contribute to our greatness.
  • Ronda Rousey agrees with this idea and sees it reflected in her own journey.

Ronda's Journey to Understanding Her Dark Side (00:27:01)

  • Ronda Rousey has been trying to understand and control her dark side.
  • She realized that achieving success and collecting accomplishments did not lead to lasting happiness.
  • She had to learn that making herself happy in the present moment was more important than hoarding achievements.

How Her Concussions Affected Her Career (00:29:32)

  • Ronda Rousey concealed a concussion-based brain injury throughout her early MMA career, despite experiencing numerous concussions during her Judo career.
  • The accumulated injuries made her more susceptible to concussions in MMA, and the cumulative effect of sparring and headgear contributed to her symptoms.
  • A minor tap from Stephanie McMahon during a fight revealed the severity of her condition, prompting her to realize she could no longer sustain fighting.
  • Despite being more skilled than ever, she lacked the neurological capacity to compete due to her neurological issues.
  • Rousey chose not to disclose her condition due to the controversy surrounding CTE and concussions in pro wrestling, fearing it would jeopardize her career.

Defeating People in 60 Seconds (00:36:15)

  • Ronda Rousey developed a fighting style to finish opponents quickly to avoid taking damage and risking concussions.
  • She kept her concussion symptoms a secret from everyone, including her coaches and the UFC, to continue fighting.

Having Very Strict/Abusive Coaches (00:37:43)

  • Ronda Rousey describes the abusive coaching methods she experienced throughout her career.
  • Coaches would physically and emotionally abuse athletes, believing it was necessary for success.
  • Rousey tolerated the abuse as she felt she had more freedom to express herself compared to previous coaches.
  • She endured various forms of abuse, including being physically assaulted and verbally degraded.

How Did It Impact You? (00:39:56)

  • Ronda Rousey discusses the emotional impact of being an athlete and having to suppress emotions while developing.
  • She learned to diffuse tense situations with coaches to avoid making things worse.
  • The system reinforces power imbalances that are often taken advantage of, with coaches having free reign and athletes lacking options.
  • Coaching in general creates an unhealthy power imbalance.
  • Ronda Rousey reveals a secret she has kept her entire career.
  • She expresses her frustration with the current state of WWE, calling it a mess.

Coaches Crossing the Line… (00:42:53)

  • Ronda Rousey had a complicated relationship with her coaches, who often overstepped boundaries and demanded constant availability.
  • She sought validation from father figures, but none of her coaches lived up to her expectations.
  • Ronda's coaches employed a harsh coaching philosophy, similar to that of Russian figure skaters and gymnasts, which involved suppressing emotions and emulating stoic athletes like B. Coroli.
  • Despite her tough exterior, Ronda was actually very emotional as a fighter and would often cry during training and competitions due to frustration or setbacks.
  • Dana White, the president of the UFC, has said that he has never seen her cry.

What Dana White Said About Ronda (00:47:34)

  • Dana White initially said he wouldn't allow women in the UFC but changed his mind because of Ronda Rousey.
  • Ronda Rousey became the first female UFC champion and won 15 fights back-to-back, setting several records.
  • She was voted the best female athlete of all time in a 2015 ESPN fan poll and was called one of the defining athletes of the 21st century by Fox Sports.

Why Were You Fighting So Frequently? (00:48:55)

  • Ronda Rousey fought frequently because Dana White called her often, and she promised to be available whenever needed.
  • She filled in for injured or unavailable fighters and fought during unpopular times of the year to help the company.
  • Ronda didn't prioritize fighting on the most popular cards but did what was best for the company.

Being The First Woman to Appear on the UFC (00:50:15)

  • Ronda Rousey felt validated and excited to be the first woman to fight in the UFC.
  • She felt like she was in on a secret that the world was just starting to discover.

The New Jackie Chang (00:50:33)

  • Ronda Rousey's acting career arose as an opportunity, and she saw it as a chance to combine her performance and physical abilities.
  • She pursued acting with the same confidence she had in her fighting career.

UFC 193 Ronda Vs Holly Holm (00:51:14)

  • Ronda Rousey's fight against Holly Holm at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia, marked a significant turning point in her career.
  • Rousey was widely regarded as indestructible by the UFC community and fans.
  • During the fight, Rousey suffered an initial contact, possibly from Holm's elbow, which affected her depth perception.
  • The fight ended with a head kick from Holm, leading to a change in Rousey's life and perception of everything.
  • After the defeat, Rousey experienced extreme depression as her identity was tied to being a champion.
  • She felt crushed and upset by the public's reaction, perceiving it as unjust since she had given her all.
  • Many people she considered friends turned on her, which was an eye-opening experience for Rousey.
  • The defeat helped her realize that outward validation was not true happiness and may have saved her from endlessly chasing approval.
  • In the long run, the loss proved liberating for Rousey.

How Did You Feel After Losing? (00:54:40)

  • Ronda Rousey was upset after losing because people judged her decisions while she was in a state of shock.
  • She felt she couldn't speak up or trust anyone to communicate her perspective.
  • She believes she created the most efficient fighting style ever and wanted to be recognized as the greatest.
  • Ronda Rousey realized that retiring undefeated and taking her equity with her would not have been the best for women's MMA.
  • She believes that taking her equity away would tarnish her legacy and prevent women after her from being taken seriously.
  • Despite knowing she is better than all the other female fighters, it still stings a little that she is not recognized as the greatest ever.
  • Ronda's mother didn't care if everyone knew she was the best, she only cared if she knew.
  • Ronda realized that she started to care more about what other people thought than what she thought.
  • Being forced back to that realization was the best thing that could have happened to her.

Suicidal Thoughts (00:58:14)

  • Ronda Rousey reveals that she had suicidal thoughts after her loss to Holly Holm.
  • Suicide is more prevalent in her family, and she didn't want to pass on her pain to others.
  • She decided to live for her family and prevent them from experiencing her pain.

Ronda's Last Fight in the UFC (01:00:15)

  • Ronda Rousey considers her loss to Amanda Nunes as the hardest moment in her professional career.
  • After the fight, she decided to leave the UFC and join the WWE.
  • During the one-year gap between her last UFC fight and the WWE announcement, she experienced sadness, played video games, and ate crepes.
  • She was exhausted from years of intense training and constant media attention.
  • She needed a mental and physical rest and felt she had nothing left in her.
  • Her condition could be described as depression, but she didn't receive a diagnosis.
  • Her husband, Travis Browne, was with her during this period.

Her Husband Support During Tough Times (01:03:13)

  • Ronda Rousey's husband, Travis Browne, was very supportive during her difficult times.
  • He helped her get out of her social isolation and encouraged her to interact with others.
  • Despite not fully understanding her psychological struggles, Travis remained patient and supportive.
  • He was always there for her, providing emotional support and comfort.
  • Ronda expresses her love and appreciation for Travis, acknowledging that he might not have fully understood her struggles but was still there for her.
  • She realized the value of certain people in her life during her hardest times, especially her partner.
  • Going through tough times together brought Ronda and Travis closer and made them appreciate each other more.

When Did WWE Come In? (01:06:57)

  • Ronda Rousey was initially hesitant about being in front of large crowds and public speaking.
  • She found joy in pro wrestling because it reminded her of filming action movies and doing fight choreography.
  • Pro wrestling allowed her to tell stories through combat, which fascinated her.
  • Ronda trained for fun and eventually caught the attention of WWE.
  • She initially planned to have a baby and do pro wrestling for a few months before starting a family, but it turned into a full-time commitment.

Social Media Pressure (01:10:44)

  • Ronda used to check her comments and tag photos every morning, which was unhealthy.
  • After her first loss, she quit cold turkey to avoid the need for external validation from the internet and social media.
  • In pro wrestling, the crowd is like the embodiment of a comment section, which is why she enjoyed being a heel.
  • She was happiest when she wasn't trying to please the crowd and instead tried to piss them off and get a rise out of them.
  • She was surprised to learn that WWE rewrites the script last minute and that it's not as organized as she thought.
  • This lack of organization makes it needlessly dangerous, as performers often don't have time to rehearse and injuries occur.

Did She Feel Expendable to the WWE? (01:13:09)

  • Ronda felt expendable to both the UFC and the WWE.
  • The companies made sure to make the performers feel this way to prevent them from getting above their station or questioning authority.

Ronda Suffering Two Miscarriages? (01:16:05)

  • Ronda Rousey suffered two miscarriages during her career.
  • The first miscarriage occurred after she filmed a TV show with 911 where she had a fight scene and various stunts.
  • She felt it was her fault for continuing to do dangerous stunts while pregnant.
  • The second miscarriage happened shortly after the first one, and she didn't see a heartbeat.
  • Ronda went through four cycles of IVF to have eight embryos, and the first one worked, resulting in the birth of her daughter.
  • She is currently undergoing another cycle of IVF, but the first cycle didn't work.
  • Ronda emphasizes the importance of talking about miscarriages as many women go through it alone.
  • She chose to focus on her career during her peak athletic years and is grateful for the embryos she was able to get when she was young.
  • Ronda considers herself fortunate to have three kids, including two stepchildren from Travis's previous relationship.

Where Does Her Happiness Come From? (01:20:03)

  • Ronda Rousey, a retired professional wrestler, discusses her struggles with IVF and fertility treatments.
  • She emphasizes the emotional and physical challenges of the process, including hormonal imbalances and restrictions on physical activity.
  • Rousey highlights the societal pressure on women to choose between career and family and the difficulties of balancing both.
  • IVF clinics have become increasingly popular due to factors such as extended careers and declining sperm counts, with a 50% chance of the cause being attributed to either partner.
  • Despite advancements in science, IVF remains a challenging process, and failed attempts can be emotionally devastating.
  • Rousey finds happiness in her family and is grateful for the opportunity to be a mother.
  • She has retired from professional wrestling and now focuses on her family, writing, and regenerative agriculture practices on her ranch in Oregon.
  • Rousey finds fulfillment in these activities without the pressure of financial gain or public validation.

Did Her Traumas Make Her Who She Is Today? (01:27:32)

  • Ronda Rousey discusses her transition from large arenas with cheering crowds to a farm in Oregon, expressing her preference for small, non-televised crowds.
  • She emphasizes that winning the fight itself is what brings her joy, rather than the external validation or fame.
  • Rousey explains that her motivation in sports like Judo and fighting was not driven by a desire for fame or recognition, but by the intrinsic satisfaction of mastering a skill.
  • She describes her self-destructive thoughts as a means to enter a "flow state" of complete focus and immersion in the task at hand.
  • Rousey acknowledges that she still experiences self-destructive thoughts and ruminates on past mistakes.
  • Ronda Rousey reveals that she has tried therapy but found it ineffective due to her mother being a psychologist and her high standards for therapists.
  • She expresses skepticism about the benefits of therapy and suggests that it may not be suitable for everyone.

What She Learned From Her Dad? (01:31:11)

  • Ronda Rousey's father taught her how to be a man and a great husband.
  • Her parents were deeply in love with each other.
  • Her father always believed in her potential and instilled the belief that she was exceptional.
  • Ronda Rousey was named after her father, Ronald John Rousey Jr.

Last Guest Question (01:33:04)

  • Ronda Rousey's memoir, 'Our Fight', is available for purchase.
  • Ronda's successful UFC career entertained fans, but it came at a great personal cost.
  • She was obsessed with winning and being the best, which led to profound struggles from a young age.
  • Despite the challenges, Ronda brought joy to fans with her unique fighting style.
  • The interviewer expresses gratitude to Ronda on behalf of fans who understand the sacrifices she made.
  • Ronda's accomplishments, such as defining the women's division in the UFC, are acknowledged.
  • Her honest and well-written book is praised for its perfect timing and insightful perspective.
  • When asked about the most fun moment of her life, Ronda hesitates and mentions intimate moments with her husband.
  • She recommends her book, "Ronda Rousey AR Fight Out," which is available everywhere.

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