No press conference. No open workout. No Ultimate Media Day.
Ronda Rousey willfully spoke to almost no media prior to UFC 207 last December. Aside from a few high-profile television appearances and a print interview with ESPN, Rousey blacked out the press before fight week and during it ahead of her fight with Amanda Nunes.
Since losing to Nunes by first-round TKO, Rousey has still not spoken much publicly. And almost nothing at all has been said by her about mixed martial arts.
For the first time, Team Rousey’s explanation for the media freeze was given Monday on the 400th episode of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Rousey’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan said it was a decision she and the team made and he 100 percent agreed with it.
“We’ve done too much media and a lot of work,” Tarverdyan said. “So we decided just to stay away for one fight. I don’t think it was a big deal, just to stay away and focus on the fight. So we could have a different outcome — and we fell short. It didn’t work, but it didn’t mean we disrespected anybody. It was just a decision to make life easier and just move on like that.”
Rousey, the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, was criticized in the lead up to the fight for not speaking and slammed even more after not talking following the loss.
Tarverdyan said part of the reason why Rousey didn’t speak was because she struggled with injuries in training camp and it was difficult enough getting through that without an extra thing on her plate.
“She wasn’t feeling that good,” Tarverdyan said. “Body wasn’t keeping up and we had to eliminate a lot of things so she could at least focus on training and make the fight happen somehow. That’s a decision we made. It had to be that way, so I wasn’t surprised [she didn’t do media]. I wasn’t.”
The coach acknowledges things didn’t go as expected — or has hoped for — against Nunes. The Brazilian slugger knocked Rousey out in 48 seconds. But Tarverdyan was proud of Rousey that she hung in there and didn’t get dropped by the hard-hitting Nunes.
“Nunes is a big puncher and Ronda got caught from the beginning,” Tarverdyan said. “You saw how fit she was — she didn’t even go down. Ronda took all those shots and she didn’t take a knee. She was stopped on her feet. She was so fit, she was so strong. That shows she was so strong and she’s not going down from all those big shots that she took. A lot of these girls, whoever took Amanda’s shots, they all went down. And she didn’t.”