Opinion: Ronda Rousey Attacks Kim Kardashian – Who’s The Bad Role Model?
By Joshua Molina
Ronda Rousey has a good thing going. The Olympic Judo bronze medalist has essentially become the new face of women’s MMA.
She’s undefeated and has submitted all five of her opponents by wicked armbar in the first round.
And she graces the cover of the ESPN’s annual “The Body Issue,” which spotlights athletes in naked, but tasteful poses, in effort to showcase the best bodies in sports.
So her recent public outburst berating Kim Kardashian, of all people, is quite the disappointment – and an unnecessary distraction leading up to her big fight on Aug. 18 against Sarah Kaufman.
It’s also a black eye for MMA, which, despite its financial success, is still scratching and clawing for respect and acceptance among families, advertisers, and decision-makers in New York, where the sport is still illegal.
Here’s what happened:
Rousey attended ESPN’s ESPY awards on Wednesday. In a response to a question on the Red Carpet, Rousey, slammed Kardashian, saying she was not a good role model for 13-year-old girls, among other charged criticisms.
“I would beat the crap out of Kim Kardashian, actually,” Rousey said. “Any girl who is famous and idolized because she made a sex video with some guy and that’s like all that you are known for. ‘Oh I got my fame from sucking d*&!.’”
The low-brow, vulgar comments sparked an internet frenzy on Thursday, but probably not for the reasons Rousey wanted.
No one is talking about Rousey the athlete. They are talking about Rousey the “loud-mouth girl cage fighter who wants to scrap with Kim Kardashian.”
Can you imagine Serena Williams talking like this about Kardashian? What about Lindsey Vonn? Not even boxer Leila Ali when she was in her prime was going around talking trash about non-boxers.
Rousey’s quickness to sink into the verbal muck does little to help establish MMA as a professional, respectable sport.
Regardless of what she thinks of Kardashian’s qualifications for being famous, Rousey should stay above it. She’s a professional athlete. She needs to act like one – outside of the cage.
Rousey’s rapid rise has turned heads in the world of mixed martial arts and caught the attention of the mainstream sports and entertainment world.
At a time when Rousey should be celebrating her huge accomplishment of appearing on the cover of ESPN’s The Body Issue, she is instead talking about beating up Kardashian ¬– a cable television actress, who also appeared in homemade adult video several years ago.
Rousey in her tirade also said that she wouldn’t want her 13-year-old sister looking up to Kardashian. I wonder how many 13-year-olds should be looking up to a professional athlete who openly use vulgar terms to describe sex acts while live cameras are rolling and dozens of reporters are in the vicinity.
If MMA ever wants to be in the mainstream – not just a pay-per-view success – but something people over 30 aren’t embarrassed to say they watch, then its athletes need to be on their extra-best behavior in public.
Every little bit helps. Rousey should want people talking about her big fight with Kaufman, when two of the sport’s best female athletes collide.
Instead, Rousey is a punchline for juvenile jokes about her wanting to battle Kardashian in a what most people probably think would be an awesome catfight.
And for Rousey, there’s something even more at stake. She should be talking about Kaufman. Thinking about Kaufman. Dreaming about Kaufman.
After all, Rousey is only 5-0. Even people the best in the world at what they do are capable of losing.
It’s true that Rousey has the potential to be a history-making, breakthrough MMA superstar. But it’s also true that Rousey could fall before she peaks and lose her opportunity for greatness of she loses focus of her goals.
Even Rousey would agree that wasting even a few seconds talking about Kardashian isn’t good for Rousey, MMA and especially the 13-year-old girls that she worries about.
Joshua Molina is a college journalism instructor in California, journalist and mixed martial arts writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.