Ronda Rousey has joined another fight, outside of the Octagon.
The UFC superstar brought supplies and food to the people protesting a portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline last week, activist leader Linda Black Elk told TMZ on Wednesday. A photo with Rousey and Black Elk surfaced Tuesday on Twitter.
“When you’re in camp, it’s very difficult to access fresh food, like fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when you’re on the frozen prairies of the northern Great Plains,” Black Elk told TMZ … “It’s very difficult to access those things and she brought a ton of fruits and vegetables, fresh bread, fresh cheese.”
Rousey, who fell to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 last month, has ties to the area. She spent a portion of her childhood in North Dakota. Along with food, Rousey brought supplies like tents and wood stoves and had firewood delivered to the camp, Black Elk said.
“Just absolutely amazing,” Black Elk said. “She’s an incredible person and just so humble. She wasn't asking for any publicity and when I talked to her about that, she basically said that she felt like a disappointment. She just felt that everyone was really upset with her. I couldn’t believe I was doing it, but it was very important for me to let her know just how important she is to the native community in particular.
“That’s what keeps us going, that kind of support and just the morale booster it was. That’s what keeps us going. It means everything to us.”
Leslie Smith, another UFC women’s bantamweight fighter, went to North Dakota to help out last year as well.
The situation is centered around a political battle involving energy and natural resources. The opposition has been led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who fear that the pipeline could lead to their water being contaminated. The Sioux’s land ends about a half mile from the pipeline. The tribe maintains that a pipeline running through the area would infringe upon rights given to them in a treaty.
If completed — and it is mostly done —the Dakota Access Pipeline will carry up to 570,000 barrels of oil per day across four states and 1,172 miles. Barack Obama’s administration put a halt to the project in December, but this week new President Donald Trump signed an executive order to advance the pipeline.
Black Elk said Rousey told her that she plans on returning to North Dakota and protesting along with the water protectors.
“She actually told me that she would come back and stand right on the front lines and get pepper sprayed alongside everyone else,” Black Elk said.