AnnMaria DeMars once had a front-row seat to the combat sports business through her daughter, former UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey. Now, she’ll help regulate it in their home state.
DeMars, 63, has been appointed to the California State Athletic Commission by Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to a press release issued Thursday. She will serve as a commissioner on the six-member team, voting on issues that include the enforcement of combat sports rules and anti-doping policies. Her confirmation by the California senate is expected to be a formality.
The position gives DeMars the opportunity to apply her ample experience in martial arts. She first woman to win gold at the World Judo Championships and was Rousey’s first judo coach. She famously woke up the future UFC champion by putting her in armbars to test her technique.
After retiring from competition, DeMars transitioned to the private sector and earned a PhD in Educational Psychology as well as an MBA. A statistics and math expert, she currently works in educational software and consulting.
During Rousey’s career, DeMars was frequently by her daughter’s side and famously blasted Rousey’s coach, Edmund Tarverdyan, for sexism in his gym. She publicly called for Rousey to retire following a knockout loss to Amanda Nunes in 2016.
Rousey subsequently transitioned to the pro-wrestling ring, where she signed with WWE and won several titles before stepping away to raise a family. She returned to the ring earlier this year.
DeMars joins the commission alongside army veteran Stephen Gruwell and will serve with Chairman Peter Villegas, Vice Chair Dr. Vernon Williams and commissioners Doug Hendrickson and Michael Hardeman. She and Gruwell will earn a $100 per diem as compensation.
“The California State Athletic Commission welcomes its newest Commissioners and looks forward to working together in its mission dedicated to the health, safety and welfare of participants in regulated combat sports,” CSAC spokesperson Monica Vargas told MMA Fighting in a prepared statement.