Ronda Rousey sees herself as the UFC’s dark knight.
In film director Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed movie, The Dark Knight, the caped crusader Batman is thrust into the villain role because that’s what the world needed him to be at that time.
During a post-fight interview with FOX Sports, Rousey compared her ongoing feud with Miesha Tate to the iconic, fictitious battle between Batman and Harvey Dent, otherwise known as Two-Face:
Everyone talks about The Joker, not Batman. For this fight, particularly, she was [Two-Face], I was Batman. I needed to be a bad guy in order for Gotham City to have the hero. You know what I mean? I take the role that’s needed for every situation.
The role of UFC champion is one in which Rousey has particularly thrived.
At UFC 168 on Saturday night, she submitted Tate for a second time with an armbar in the third round to extend her professional record to 8-0.
A chorus of boos exploded throughout the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas when Rousey refused to shake Tate’s hand after the fight. Fans were clearly aware of the bad blood shared between the two ladies as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter Season 18.
Still, there is an unwritten rule amongst fighters to leave everything in the cage. Once the fight is over, they should show respect by shaking their opponent’s hand and moving on with their life and career, regardless of the things said during the pre-fight buildup.
What if a fighter truly dislikes his opponent, though? What if he felt like the opponent said or did something that suddenly made him unworthy of good sportsmanship? Should the fighter put on a fake smile and still reach for his hand?
More than 90 percent of professional athletes are only representations of who the general public wants them to be. They spend their entire careers reading teleprompters and playing out the script in front of them. Fans are generally given a fake representation of who they want a fighter to be, not who he or she really is.
Athletes like Rousey live by a different set of guidelines.
They aren’t worried about being booed and verbally eviscerated by fans. It’s all about staying true to oneself. If Rousey doesn’t want to shake someone's hand, she won’t shake their hand. It’s a sense of realism that may be detested but should also be respected.
Rousey doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation.
I went to 30 different countries doing Judo, and I got booed everywhere. Getting cheers is something new to me, and I really feel like being the good guy and acting all perfect, it leaves no room for error. I don’t want to have to be stuck in that perfect role. I’d rather be the heel.
Love it or hate it, Rousey is as real as it gets.
There’s no manufactured drama, and she never tries to hide who she is. Fans may boo her, but subconsciously, they can’t help but gravitate towards her. There has never been a woman in MMA history to evoke the same sort of emotion Rousey draws from an audience.
If being considered a villain helps facilitate the growth and interest in women’s MMA, then perhaps Rousey truly is Batman.