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Julianna Pena: 'Ignorant' Ronda Rousey crossed line with Arianny Celeste criticism

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Julianna Pena thought Ronda Rousey went too far in slamming Arianny Celeste last month.

Pena didn't understand why Rousey dragged the UFC Octagon girl into a beef days before Rousey's UFC women's bantamweight title fight against Cat Zingano at UFC 184. Rousey said UFC fighters should get paid more than Octagon girls and, after Celeste responded by calling her a "bully," Rousey said Celeste would not have her job if not for fighters.

"I felt it was very out of line for Ronda to single out Arianny for multiple reasons," Pena told "First off, it's none of Ronda's business how much Arianny gets paid. Arianny has been with the company a hell of a lot longer than Ronda has and made the UFC plenty of money and gotten them exposure with things like Maxim, other magazines and TV shows."

Rousey was asked at a media day before her Feb. 28 bout in Los Angeles if she thought the UFC paid fighters enough and she responded that she thought fighters "should get paid more than ring girls."

"And I don't know if the ring girls get paid too much or the fighters don't get paid enough," Rousey said at the time. "But yeah. There's definitely a lot more in what the fighters do than what they do. So, I think that's one thing that's unfair."

It's not public knowledge how much Octagon girls paid. And Celeste went back at the women's bantamweight champion in an interview with MMAjunkie Radio a week later, saying she was "tired of the bullying."

Rousey didn't take too kindly to the "B" word when told of Celeste's comments at UFC 184 open workouts.

"How does that make me a bully?" Rousey said. "That makes me f*cking right. I'm sorry, but she wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for the fighters. She wouldn't. You think her walking in circles around the two guys or two girls out there fighting for their lives is worth more? Think she works harder than they do?"

Pena, who returns to the UFC after knee surgery against Milana Dudieva at UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas on April 4 in Fairfax, Va., said if Rousey had an issue with how much fighters were compensated she could go right to the top: UFC president Dana White.

"If Ronda is so close with Dana, she should bring up fighter pay to him instead of looking ignorant," said Pena, the first female Ultimate Fighter winner. "She should just let Arianny do her job and Ronda can do hers. Ring girls and fights go hand in hand and they are an essential part of the show."

Pena, who many think could be a challenger to Rousey sometime soon, said she considers Celeste a personal friend and didn't appreciate how she was spoken about.

"I love Arianny and think she has a beautiful heart," Pena said. "I stand by her 110 percent."

Pena and Rousey also have history from The Ultimate Fighter 18 when Pena competed for Miesha Tate's team. The two didn't get along by proxy due to the intense Rousey-Tate rivalry.

"Ronda said I didn't deserve to breathe the same air as Shayna Baszler," Pena said. "That's when you know someone is arrogant and ignorant. After the couple of run-ins we had on the show, I knew she was a mean girl and I'm not talking about in the cage. I hope I never come across as unsportsmanlike as she is, because that is not a champion."

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