Ronda Rousey broke down in tears Wednesday night as she spoke out for the first time about the painful aftermath of the two stunning defeats that prompted the end of her Ultimate Fighting Championship career.
Rousey has remained silent on the shocking upset to Holly Holm in 2015 that broke her unbeaten record in mixed martial arts, and the crushing beatdown she suffered against Amanda Nunes a year later.
However, during a public question and answer session hosted by Hollywood director Peter Berg at the Wild Card West boxing gym, Rousey revealed just how deeply the loss of her reputation as the biggest star in the UFC had hurt.
“I did a whole lot of crying, isolating myself, (husband Travis Browne) held me and let me cry and it lasted two years,” Rousey said. “I couldn’t have done it alone. There’s a lot of things you have to remember. Every missed opportunity is a blessing in disguise.
“I had to learn from experience. From the worst things, the best things have come as a result. Time is a great teacher. It’s that belief that time passes, even bad times.”
If not for those two losses, Rousey may not have signed her current deal with World Wrestling Entertainment. She recently made a star turn at Wrestlemania and has no plans to return to the octagon. With 999 days having passed since she last won a fight that wasn’t scripted, there is no guarantee she would be competitive even if she did.
There was widespread criticism of Rousey who, after seeking global media attention on her rise to prominence, shut herself away as soon as she was no longer bantamweight champion, prompting accusations of being a sore loser.
On Wednesday, she accepted that was indeed the case.
“My parents expected me to be special, so I expected to be special,” Rousey said. “I was just trying to create the job I wanted, and I wouldn’t have the audacity to do that if my mom didn’t tell me I could.
“But one thing my mother never taught me was how to lose. She never wanted me to entertain it as a possibility. She’d say: ‘Let it suck. It deserves to suck.’”
The tears flowed as Rousey spoke, with Berg - who directed her in the upcoming action movie Mile 22 - asking the questions in front of an audience of a couple of hundred fight fans. It is clear that the pain of surrendering her crown as the queen of mixed martial arts still affects her deeply and in that sense, her new arena of the WWE, with its pre-planned fights and story lines, is a perfect fit.
Even now, she is fiercely protected by a media manager, who rails at journalists who ask anything but the very tamest of questions.
"We live in an age of trial by Twitter," Rousey added. "What is really gained by stating opinion on anything? It whittles people down. It gets cut and pasted 10 times and it’s in (a) headline.
"(Famous people) keep more and more of it to themselves. Why should I talk? I believe hearing me speak is a privilege and it’s a privilege that’s been abused, so why not revoke it from everyone? I don’t believe public criticism beating you down is the right thing to do."