Ronda Rousey Needs to Dial Back the Insane-O-Meter a Few Notches

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterNovember 7, 2013

People say crazy things in mixed martial arts—just like they do in any other sport or walk of life. 

This is not new, nor is it exclusive to athletes or others involved in different forms of entertainment. We all have our fair share of verbal snafus, but when you or I do it, it doesn't make headlines the same day.

UFC president Dana White does it all the time when he tells you that the UFC will be bigger than soccer (it won't).

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has been doing a lot of it lately when he talked about the second fight between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler being Fight of the Year (it wasn't). 

Chael Sonnen went from preliminary card fighter to one of the most popular draws in the company thanks to his abilities on the mic.

August 18, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA;   Ronda Rousey (black shirt) celebrates after she defeated Sarah Kaufman (not pitcured) during their Strikeforce MMA women's bantamweight title bout at the Valley View Casino Center. Rousey won in 54 seconds of the fir
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

And Ronda Rousey used her prodigious mouth (and a few armbars) to turn herself into a superstar quicker than any other fighter in the history of the sport.

Problem is, some folks just don't know when to dial it back a notch. Sonnen does. Just when you think he's becoming a caricature of himself, the version of Chael Sonnen that coached on The Ultimate Fighter appears, and you realize he's a real human being—and a pretty darn nice one, at that—who only really says the things he says because it helps out his career.

Rousey, on the other hand, has no idea when to stop talking. She took one long look at what trash-talking helped her achieve against Miesha Tate and decided to continue utilizing that persona indefinitely. Her angsty, bro-riffic stint on The Ultimate Fighter this season certainly hasn't helped, and it only served to turn people against her.

Just take a look at the current results of the EA Sports UFC cover contest, where fans are asked to select (from 16 candidates) who should appear alongside Jon Jones on the cover of the next game. It's a big deal, and before TUF started, I would've bet my house that Rousey would win the contest in a landslide.

Now? She's tied with Tate, who was barely a blip on the popularity radar before the show began airing. 

March 3, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ronda Rousey gets Miesha Tate in an armbar during the Strikeforce Grand Prix final at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

I get it. Ronda is a super tough fighter. She's an extraordinary athlete who should be commended for doing what she has done. And let the record show that she absolutely terrifies me. 

But the constant showiness, the bowing up and using Diaz-speak, threats and door-kicking to make your point? That doesn't look good on anyone, especially not on an athlete who has already broken down real and hypothetical doors in the UFC. 

And then there's Rousey talking Wednesday about UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. I can't make this stuff up, not even if I tried:

"In any given moment, under the right circumstance, I think it is possible," Rousey said. "You cannot tell me that it is physically impossible. It is possible that in any given moment that I could beat him. I simply believe in my possibilities."

Dec 29, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cain Velasquez attends post fight press conference following UFC 155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

I cannot tell you that it is physically impossible? Oh, yes. I can. 

It is physically impossible for you to beat Cain Velasquez, Ronda. 

Velasquez is the heavyweight champion of the world. Rousey is the world's best female fighter and, as I said above, an absolutely terrifying force of nature. And I get what she's saying—that she doesn't believe she has any limits.

But c'mon. This is just silly.

And it's that silliness, the constant need to appear tough and have the spotlight locked directly on her, that is going to inch Rousey away from the popular side of the table and toward the column of those who are absolutely hated by mixed martial arts fans.

And perhaps that's fine with her—after all, the heels make money, too, because people are tuning in to see them get beaten by the heroic babyface. That's what will happen at UFC 168, when Rousey defends her belt against Tate. She'll be the heavy favorite, but I can guarantee you that the Las Vegas crowd will be firmly behind Tate on that night, and they'll lose themselves with joy if "Cupcake" pulls off the unthinkable. 

But it doesn't need to be that way. Rousey can be edgy, and she can still draw eyeballs with the power of her public speaking, her exhilarating story and her world-class athleticism.

She doesn't need to say dumb things. She doesn't need to talk about how she can beat the heavyweight champion of the world.

She doesn't need to do any of those things, but I suspect she won't stop anytime soon.