Ronda Rousey has been conspicuously absent from UFC 207 media events this week, and that low profile has been completely by design.
The former women’s bantamweight champion has only done select interviews leading up to her showdown with current titlist Amanda Nunes in Friday’s headliner at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Most notably, the Olympic judoka did not take part in Wednesday’s Ultimate Media Day, nor will there be the pre-fight press conference that usually accompanies blockbuster bouts.
UFC President Dana White says Rousey has earned the right to make a few special requests.
“It’s definitely not ideal. It’s what she asked for. Back in the day, Ronda would literally do anything we asked her to do,” White said during a media scrum in Las Vegas on Wednesday. “Anything. If the guys wouldn’t do something, she would pick up the ball and do it herself. So for her to ask for something like this, how can I say no to that. She’s done a lot.”
In general, Rousey has maintained a relatively low profile since her knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November 2015. After a career spent dominating opponents and finishing most inside of a round, Rousey’s mental state has been questioned for most of the past year. Her media embargo has done little to quiet that skepticism.
“I think everybody knows that Ronda is psychotically competitive,” White said. “I don’t know why this is the way she’s handling all this, but this is what she wanted to do.
“She’s as good as I’ve ever seen her. She’s physically in amazing shape. She’s in great spirits. She’s like the old Ronda again.”
However, should her fighting career continue past UFC 207, Rousey will not be given such special privilege again. Additionally, White expects that she will be available following her bout with Nunes.
“No, this is a one-and-done,” White said. “I assume she will (speak after the fight).”
Earlier this year, White pulled Conor McGregor from a proposed rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200, reportedly because the Irish star balked at fulfilling the myriad media obligations leading up to the event. Eventually, the two rivals were booked to fight at UFC 202 a little more than a month later. According to White, no other fighters, no matter how popular, will be given the leeway to skip interviews in the future. Rousey is a special exception, not a precedent.
“Ronda Rousey’s done a lot, done more media than anybody ever in the history of this company,” White said. “Major media that nobody else could get, and she’s done it all. This is something she asked for. It doesn’t open floodgates. It doesn’t change anything. If somebody doesn’t want to show up for a press conference, I’ll pull them from the card.”