Opinion: Will Ronda Rousey’s Acting Career Lead To The Loss Of Another MMA Superstar?
By Jesse Heitz
News recently broke that the most well-known female fighter in the world is breaking into the movie business. That’s right, UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Ronda Rousey, has signed on to appear in Sylvester Stallone’s next installment of “The Expendables” series.
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, the MMA world was enchanted with the surging Gina Carano. Fans and writers alike hailed her as the next big thing in women’s MMA. She routinely graced the covers of sports magazines, and dominated the headlines of MMA news publications and websites. The MMA fan base was dazzled by an attractive woman who could handle herself in the cage.
Into 2009, Carano, at a relatively limited record of 7-0 and a mere 3 years of active competition under her belt, was the preeminent power in women’s MMA. Even in such a short time she had captured the title of “The Face of Women’s MMA”. Then, in August of that year, she was demolished by perhaps the most feared female fighter of all-time, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.
Just like that, Carano hung up her gloves and hasn’t graced the inside of a cage since. She left the rough-and-tumble world of MMA, the world of broken bones and torn soft tissue, for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Only in her late 20s at the time of her unofficial retirement, and just entering the prime of her career made her departure from MMA quite curious.
Now, the most promising female fighter in the world is following the same course. One could infer from the words of UFC President, Dana White, featured in the USA Today, that he might be a little worried too.
“You know how I feel about the movie stuff. The hard part is, even like the ‘Rampage’ thing – when ‘Rampage’ did the movie, it was Rampage’s dream to be a part of The A-Team and everything else. I don’t want to take away any opportunities away from Ronda, but at the same time, the thing that you have to keep in perspective is that her window of opportunity as a professional athlete is (small). She could make a zillion movies when this sport’s over. And where she’s really going to make the money is here fighting. I don’t care if she’s the lead role in ‘The Hunger Games 2,’ she would not make anywhere near, and I mean not even in the universe, to the money she makes fighting.”
There may be some truth to Dana’s words, but it’s hard to believe that his primary concern is Rousey missing her athletic window. If her career in entertainment takes off, I would imagine that such newfound revenue would exceed that obtained in the cage. Then again, an acting gig or two which could catapult her into even farther into the mainstream’s consciousness could create the opportunity for better paydays in MMA.
None of this to say that Rousey will hang up her gloves, but one would imagine that the allure of obtaining sizable paychecks from a job that doesn’t come with the routine risk of getting a bent nose or swollen eyes has plenty of appeal. All I can say is that with only 7 fights under her belt and being only 26 years old, her career is just beginning, so I sincerely hope to see a relatively unimpeded continuation of her career inside the Octagon.