UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts today, but she has been hearing more and more boos as the time goes on. Rather than dwell on the negative reception that she has been receiving from some fans, Rousey is embracing it and looking back at history to find some comfort.
Rousey recalled a conversation with her good friend and training partner Shayna Baszler, when the point was brought up that, “Heels become legends.”
“Ali was the heel, he got a lot of boos, and now he’s the greatest of all time,” Rousey said, via Bloody Elbow. “Tyson, people were calling him an ear-biting rapist, now everybody loves Tyson.”
You can also look back at the iconic image of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston, who he had just knocked out. While that was showing a lack of sportsmanship, people love the photo and it is often celebrated.
Because of that example, Rousey understands that her refusing to shake Miesha Tate’s hand after UFC 168 was not that big of a deal.
“If I knocked Miesha out and stood over her and I was like, “Yeah, that’s right you stupid f—— b—,’ you know what everyone would say to me? You know how much everyone would freak out and call me the worst person in the world? That is one of the most iconic images in all of sports, and it was an unsportsmanlike moment,” Rousey added.
So moving forward, we can expect Rousey to embrace the heel role even more as she continues her career and we shouldn’t expect any negative perception from the fans to bring Rousey down.
“I’m expecting a lot of boos for a while,” Rousey said. “Whatever, cheers don’t pay for my gas.”