Ronda Rousey: Scathing Statements Add to MMA Fighter's Ascending Popularity

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2012

Courtesy of ESPN the Magazine
Courtesy of ESPN the Magazine

How many of you really knew Ronda Rousey before ESPN's Body Issue released her tantalizing photographs? You probably knew the name, but that's nothing compared to what her name is now.

Rousey has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity over the last week. She was chosen as a Body Issue cover athlete, and further increased her notoriety with comments she directed at one of America's most famous socialites, Kim Kardashian.

After saying she would "beat the crap out of" Kardashian, Rousey added (per the New York Post):

Why is everyone slipping it under the carpet now? She’s selling Skechers to 13-year-olds. I don’t want a girl whose entire fame is based on a sex video to be selling Skechers to my 13-year-old little sister.

Rousey has a point, but that's not the point. She's become a headline figure almost overnight, and she's done it with things entirely unrelated to her respective sport. 

I'm not saying Rousey is a bad fighter (after those comments, I wouldn't dare), but her popularity isn't widespread because of that. She is currently Strikeforce's Bantamweight champion, but attacking one of America's most famous celebrities does more for her reputation than her fighting ever would. 

People go cuckoo for this stuff. It's plain and simple. Regular people live for sound bytes and controversy, and Rousey provided both in a 30-second span of time.

I don't think she did this deliberately. Rousey is pestered repeatedly by the reporter before she finally reveals her real thoughts on Kardashian, but she put them out there nonetheless.

Those words will do more for her popularity than any fight for Strikeforce would ever do. It doesn't matter how good she becomes. Rousey will always be "that female fighter who wanted to beat up Kim Kardashian." 

Rousey had already got a ton of publicity for her risque cover photos in this year's Body Issue.

These comments make her name even bigger.