UFC boss Dana White has fronted the media ahead of UFC 193 in Melbourne. Sitting beside him was MMA superstar Ronda ‘Rowdy’ Rousey, challenger Holly Holm, Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzehczyk, and her challenger the ever hopeful Valerie Letourmeau.
The air was literally electric with anticipation.
It’s been a running joke that White was initially reluctant to have a women’s UFC division. But since changing his mind, Ronda Rousey has become the franchise’s greatest drawcard and asset.
White chuckles about being reminded of his opposition.
“She’s broken through – it’s amazing,” he said to new.com.au. “She’s the biggest star we’ve ever had.”
And White has had some stars. Chuck Liddell crossed over from Strikeforce, Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva were megastars. But no one – and White confirms this – no one has ever been as big as Rousey.
“Normally it’s a [email protected] nightmare to manage somebody like her. But the thing with Ronda Rousey is the more rich and famous she gets, the easier she is to deal with. It’s not supposed to be like that. It’s always the complete opposite. Any of these guys, if they get this much fame, this much money, they lose their mind. Ronda is the exact opposite.”
And it’s not just White who benefits.
Rousey was clearly jetlagged when approached by reporters. And while everyone would be wise to be cautious around the most dangerous female athlete on the planet they found her approachable and friendly.
After a recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show the popular talk show host felt she’d got the best from the UFC stable.
“She’s got unbelievable charisma,” White continued describing Rousey. “She’s intelligent. She’s literally the whole package.”
And Ellen DeGeneres agrees.
But Rousey adapts to her situation.
“She’ll fight anyone, anywhere, anytime,” said White about the fighter Rousey. “She’s mean. She’s nasty. She doesn’t just want to beat you, she wants to destroy you. She comes out of that tunnel with bad intentions.”
All of her previous opponents agree.