Ronda Rousey Cites Concussions in MMA Retirement, Slams “Slimeball” Vince McMahon

WWE Ronda Rousey Asuka Royal Rumble
Credit: WWE

Former UFC and WWE champion Ronda Rousey, who also won a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics, has opened up about her decision to walk away from both companies.

Following her Olympic run, Rousey transitioned to MMA, earning gold in Strikeforce and later the UFC, forcing Dana White to go back on his infamous “never” response when asked when women would fight in his promotion.

Rousey reigned as women’s bantamweight champ in the UFC from 2013 to 2015, defending her title six times after her Strikeforce belt was promoted to the UFC edition of the title. Wins over Meisha Tate, Cat Zingano, and Sarah McMahon had her at the top of the world until a Holly Holm head kick had it all come crashing down at UFC 193 in 2015. The following year, Rousey returned to face Amanda Nunes, only to be battered and bloodied by “The Lioness.” Rousey’s time in pro fighting ended that night, but rarely has she opened up about her decision to walk away and later pursue a career in pro wrestling’s WWE.

In conjunction with the release of her new autobiography, however, Rousey has been speaking quite a bit of late. On a recent Instagram Live session, she revealed how concussion concerns led to her retirement from MMA.

“I’d like people to understand my reasons and motivations behind things,” Rousey stated in the session. “I was forced to leave fighting when I was faster, stronger, more skilled and had a better understanding of the art than ever before. It was a really hard decision to understand, one that my body made for me.”

“I think there was just so much to [the loss] that I couldn’t talk about it in the form of an interview or article or anything like that, or there would be several filters between my words and people reading it,” Rousey added. “So much had to do with having so many concussions when I was in judo before I even got into MMA. I couldn’t talk about it at all when I was doing MMA because it would literally put a target on my head and I might not have been allowed to compete any farther.”

Rousey’s transition to the WWE began with a much-hyped appearance at WrestleMania 31, where she appeared alongside The Rock in a segment with Tripe H and Stephanie McMahon. By 2017, she had signed on with the company full time, and went on to become a women’s champion.

It appears, however, that Rousey does not hold embattled former WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in high regard. In her new autobiography “Our Fight,” Rousey refers to McMahon as Emperor Palpatine, while having much more praise for Triple H (real name Paul Levesque).

Later, she rips McMahon’s track record on women, which saw him forced from the company he ran for decades.

“It’s hard sometimes to know where the evil, unethical, slimeball character of Vince McMahon played out for the cameras ends and the actual questionably ethical, many times sued, and multiple times accused of sexual misconduct Vince McMahon begins. That blurred line between character and reality is a recurring theme within the WWE Universe.”

Rousey went on to criticize McMahon and the WWE for holding Pay-Per-View events in Saudi Arabia, “a nation that restricts the rights of women in a way that I’m certain Vince McMahon wishes he could.”

At the time of his resignation, forced following lurid accusations of sexual abuse, Vince McMahon was Executive Chairman of TKO Group Holdings, which houses both the WWE and UFC.