clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ronda Rousey met with 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper weeks before his death

New, comments
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ronda Rousey had a chance to meet with Roddy Piper in the weeks leading up to UFC 190.

The UFC women's bantamweight champion told Ariel Helwani on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show she sat down and spoke to Piper "for hours" at his home during her training camp preparing for Bethe Correia. Piper died Friday at the age of 61 from cardiac arrest.

"I actually got a chance to sit down and talk to him for a couple hours before this fight," Rousey said. "I didn't have time for anything, but I was like, 'No, I have to go see Roddy. I have to go to Piper's Pit.' We talked for hours. I even told him, I promised I'm gonna do the name proud, 'I'm gonna do you proud, I'm gonna go beat this chick.' I told him that."

Rousey (12-0) backed up her words, retaining her title by knocking out Correia in just 34 seconds Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro.

Piper is the one who bestowed upon Rousey her nickname of "Rowdy." The pro wrestling legend, who helped shape WWE as we know it, was the protégé of "Judo" Gene Lebell, one of Rousey's mentors. Lebell wanted Rousey to use the nickname years ago and he had Rousey call Piper to make sure it was OK. Piper, of course, agreed.

On Friday night, Rousey posted on Instagram, dedicating her fight with Correia to Piper, whose real name was Roderick Toombs.

Rousey, 28, mentioned Piper again in her post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. She told Helwani that she heard the tragic news when she and her team were driving back from weigh-ins Friday night.

This bout was particularly personal for Rousey, because Correia joked about suicide. Rousey's father, Ron, committed suicide when she was a child. Honoring the late Piper only served as extra motivation.

"I hope him and my dad had a good time watching it together," she said.