Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey transitioned from MMA to pro wrestling without skipping a beat, but it appears her days performing in front of audiences are almost over.
While she never formally retired from fighting, Rousey has all but closed the book on that chapter in her life. And after one year with the WWE, Rousey left wrestling as well to start a family with her husband, UFC heavyweight Travis Browne.
Now more than one year removed from her most recent wrestling match, Rousey admits she absolutely loved the atmosphere at WWE, especially the camaraderie she built with the other performers. But being on the road for so many days out of the year took a serious toll on her body, which really started weighing on her.
“I love WWE – I had such a great time,” Rousey said on Steve-O’s “Wild Ride” podcast. “I love all the girls in the locker room. Like hell yeah, running out there, having fake fights for fun is just the best thing. I love choreography, I love acting, I love theater. It’s live theater. It’s one of the last forms of live theater, and it’s so fun.
“But I was basically doing it part time, and I was away from home over 200 days out of the year. When I did get home, basically I was so sleep deprived because you just don’t have time to lay down, and my back’s broke. My bottom vertebrae is like broken in half. They got me appraised like a house before I came to WWE, and they’re like, ‘Your back’s broke,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh sh*t, didn’t know that. That explains a lot!’”
With limited time at home meant Rousey spent the majority of her time recovering from injuries.
Add to that, the former Olympic bronze medalist in judo said the reaction she received from WWE fans forced her to reassess how much time and energy she wanted to put into her new profession.
“Whenever I was home, I wasn’t even home when I was home,” Rousey said. “I was basically just trying to recover enough to be able to get through the next stint of being gone.
“It was just not worth it for my family. Because we were eliminating all of our expenses and living this lifestyle, we didn’t need it. We didn’t need the money. So it’s just like, what am I doing it for if I’m not being able to spend my time and energy on my family, but instead spending my time and energy on a bunch of f*cking ungrateful fans that don’t even appreciate me.”
Rousey had a bit of a love/hate relationship with fans in the UFC as well. But it seems like that reaction played a major part in her decision to walk away from WWE while she was still one of the biggest superstars in the company.
“I love performing,” Rousey said. “I love the girls. I love being out there, but at the end of the day I was just like f*ck these fans, dude. My family loves me and they appreciate me. I want all my energy to go into them. So that was my decision at the end of the day.
“It’s like, ‘Hey girls, love what you’re doing. I’m gonna try and take all my momentum and push you guys as far as I can — fly little birds, fly! I’m going f*cking home!’ And that was basically it.”
Since her last appearance in WWE, Rousey has built up her own website and YouTube channel, but has largely disappeared from the public eye as she spends most of her time with her family at their ranch called “Browsey Acres.”
While it certainly seems like her fighting career is finished, Rousey isn’t shutting the door on a potential return to WWE, but it will never be at the same pace as before.
“If I ever do come back, it will never be at a full-time capacity ever again,” Rousey said. “I think like for stints, for chunks of time. No, I’ll never be full time again over 200 days a year on the road like that ever again.”