Net Worth: $12 million
Ronda Jean Rousey is an American judoka, mixed martial artist, actress and model. She is considered one of the most dominant active athletes in the world and was the third most searched person on Google in 2015. She won a bronze medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal in Judo. Ronda has sealed her reputation as a professional athlete, being ranked the second female bantamweight fighter in the world by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as of March 2016. She has also starred in major roles in popular movies such as 'The Expendables 3' and 'Furious 7'.
Ronda was born to Ron Rousey and AnnMaria De Mars, a celebrated Judo athlete (the first U.S. citizen, in 1984 to win a World Judo Championship) on February 1, 1987, in Riverside California. She has Venezuela, Trinidad, Afro-Venezuelan, English and Polish ancestry. Her father committed suicide when she was just eight years old after learning that he would be paraplegic after breaking his back while sledding with his daughters. Ronda is the last of three daughters and her stepfather is an aerospace engineer.
Ronda’s family moved to Jamestown, North Dakota when she was three years old from Riverside California where she was born. This was a move aimed at helping her get intensive speech therapy to overcome apraxia, a neurological childhood speech disorder that Ronda struggled with. She earned her G.E.D later in life after having dropped out of high school.
Ronda trained with her mother from when she was 11-years old until she accidentally broke her mother’s wrist when she was thirteen. She kept training and made significant strides in 2004, winning a gold medal at the World Junior Judo Championships held in Budapest and qualifying for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Two years later, Ronda won the bronze medal in the Junior World Championships at 19 years of age; a few months after she had impressed the world with a 5-0 win in an A-Level Tournament.
Ronda moved to the middleweight division at 20 years, when she moved up to 70 kilograms. She won the silver and gold medals at the World Judo Championships and the Pan American Games in the same year. The following year she earned a bronze medal in Beijing, becoming the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal in Judo. After the Olympic Games in Beijing, at 21 years, Rousey expressed her desire to change from a conventional career in Judo and transitioned into mixed martial arts at the age of 22.
Ronda had earlier trained at the Hayastan MMA Academy ran by Gokor Chivichyan from 2002 but still stuck to judo. She joined Team Hayastan in 2008 after deciding to switch to Mixed Martial Arts and had her debut in August 2010 where she defeated Hayden Munyoz. She went on to make a professional debut in March of the following year, 2011, submitting Ediane Gomez in 25 seconds by armbar. Rousey is popular for winning by armbar submissions. Notably, she has won twelve consecutive Mixed Martial Arts fights, six in the UFC, nine of which were by armbar submission and eleven on which she won in the first round. Her winning streak was cut short by Holly Holm in her thirteenth MMA fight in 2015. She also trained in Jiu Jitsu for three years, starting in 2011, at Dynamix MMA. Rousey still trains at Hayastan and at Glendale Fighting Club (GFC) where she met Edmond Tarverdyan, her current coach.
Rousey has competed in many fights in different tournaments. She made her debut in Strikeforce in Las Vegas on August 2011 where she trumped D’Alelio through a technical submission. In November of the same year, she won against Julia Budd through an armbar submission which dislocated Julia’s elbow. After this, she desired to face Miesha Tate, who was the Stikeforce Women’s Bantamweight champion at the time. They had developed a heated and public rivalry. To face Miesha, Rousey had to move down to the 135 pound weight class. Rousey defeated Tate in the first round through armbar submission, dislocating her elbow as well, when she faced her in March of 2012.
In November 2012, Ronda became the first female fighter to sign with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). She sought permission from professional wrestler Roddy Piper to go by the nickname ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey which her friends gave her. At UFC 157 in February 2013 she defended her Bantamweight championship against Liz Carmouche through submission by armbar. Her jaw was dislocated in the fight as she had been caught in a standing neck crank attempt in the early minutes of the fight. Rousey faced off with Tate in a rematch later on in 2013 at UFC 168. The fight went three rounds, with Rousey submitting Tate through an armbar to retain her title. She attributed the length of the fight to her film commitment which had led to muscle loss. Rousey then faced off Sara McMann, a fellow Olympic medalist, in the main event at UFC 170. This fight marked her first win by a method other than armbar submission as she won through a Total Knock Out by a kick to Sara’s body.
She has won many awards, among them: the 2014 and 2015 Best Female Athlete ESPY Award, ESPN’s Female’s Submission of the year two years in a row (2011 & 2012) and the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Female Fighter of the Year, to mention but a few. Her career has been decorated by impressive wins and an affable attitude to match.
Ronda is one of the most famous female fighters and this has earned her a slot in the limelight. She is viewed as strong, relentless and invincible; as a woman who does not take shade from anyone. She has had her fair share of body shaming with people calling her fat, an issue she used to struggle with in her teenage years with Judo weight classes. This led to her being bulimic but she overcame this and has learned to embrace her body as it is. She also struggled with her arms as her peers used to call her ‘man-arms’ when she was growing up. Practicing Judo builds up the arms and so she used to wear zip up jackets to hide her arms. She has overcome this as well and has no issue appearing heavier to the public and has become the poster girl for heavier women being proud of their bodies.
Rousey has come out strongly in the recent past against women pretending to be perfect. She is an advocate of authenticity and confidence in your own skin. Aligning with this agenda, Rousey appeared on the cover of Australia’s Men’s Fitness magazine in 2015 as a way of changing the societal standards that women are held to.
This talented professional Judo and MMA fighter has Buffalo David Bitton, MetroPCS, Reebok and Monster Energy endorsements. These endorsements bank on her public image as a professional and decorated athlete.
In addition to these endorsements, Ronda has played different roles in famous movies. These include: Honoo-no Taiiku-kai in 2011, the Expendables 3 (where she played the role of Luna) in 2014, Furious 7 in 2015 (where she played Kara), Entourage in 2015 (where she played herself) and Fighter in the Sky in 2016 (where she played the role of Jess). For these different roles she has had to lose and gain weight as well as muscle in order to fit the part. She has continued to establish herself as an actress and is expected to feature in more films in the future.
Ronda Rousey faced defeat in UFC 193 in 2015, leaving her feeling lost. She completely disappeared from the limelight for a while, but reappeared later in talk shows. She admitted to having suicidal thoughts as she doubted her prowess after this defeat that followed an unbeaten streak. This is one of the many stories that most would not know about concerning her personal life, if not for the fact that she had to explain her abrupt absence from the fighting scene during the period after the loss.
Despite being one of the most popular female athletes in the world, she is not a fan of life under the public eye. She has expressed her desire to keep her personal life out of the public eye for years. Some of the widely known areas of her life include her dating life. She dated former UFC Heavyweight champion, Brendan Schaub in 2014 and broke up later on in the same year. Brendan went on to trash Rousey, categorically stating that he was too much of a man for her and what she needed was someone to blindly agree and follow on what she wanted. Her current boyfriend, Travis Browne knocked out Brendan in a match two years ago. The 33-year old is officially divorced from his ex-wife, fitness model Jenna Renee Webb. The divorce was finalized in February although Travis and Rousey officially announced their relationship in October 2015; months after Jenna had accused Travis of domestic violence. Their relationship has had its fair share of controversy, but this has not stopped Rousey from pursuing it. As of January 2016, Travis, a fellow UFC fighter, was at 17-3-1 in his career.
Beyond her dating life, Ronda has other interests, both widely and scarcely known. She loves to play video games and is one of the biggest Pokémon fans. Her favorite Pokémon is Mew. She also loves World of Warcraft. Besides playing video games, she acts as a storyline consultant in the creation of various video games in addition to playing a key role in naming the games as well. Additionally, she is an avid professional wrestling fan and is part of the self acclaimed, Four Horsewomen. She appeared in WrestleMania 31 in March 2015 when she and the Rock forced Triple H and Stephanie McMahon out of the ring. She got called into the ring by the Rock to slap Stephanie on his behalf. The rock had a brawl with Triple H, causing him to stagger towards Rousey who then responded by hip tossing Triple H out of the ring. She was later interviewed about whether she would be joining professional wrestling like Brock Lesnar, to which she replied, “You never know.”
Rousey loves art and is often sketching or doodling. Her favorite area is sea life and is known to draw dolphins. She once painted a complete sea-life mural in her room when she was younger. She wanted to be a marine biologist at one point in her life, but was afraid of being eaten by sharks and the likes. She opted instead to pursue professional Judo and Mixed Martial Arts.
Rousey’s elder sister who is a biographer admits that people avoid her two weeks leading up to her fights. She admits that they can barely make eye contact as Ronda can be very scary. She attributes this to the fact that Ronda is trying to lose weight in that period, which means that she is hungry and irritable as she is also training hard round the clock. For her fights, Ronda gets to visit different towns and one of the activities whenever she visits these towns for fights is to look for joints with the best Buffalo wings. She does not consider herself a foodie, but confesses her love for good Buffalo wings.
Although she is not actively involved in politics, Rousey’s personal political inclinations have been publicly expressed. In November of 2015 she endorsed Bernie Sander’s as her preferred candidate over Donald Trump. She told Maxim magazine of her decision to vote for Sanders, saying that Sanders does not take corporate money, which came as a huge blow to Trump, who had expressly stated that he thought Rousey had ‘liked’ him.
Ronda also engages in charity work. She has raised funds for different foundations over the years. In 2015 she auctioned signed t-shirts to raise money for the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation that provides big cats with a good lifestyle by saving them from circus and zoo lives. She also visited Armenia in 2015 for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
- My Fight, Your Fight by Ronda Rousey and Maria Burns Ortiz