Ronda Rousey Embracing 'Heel' Role, 'Cheers Don't Pay for My Gas'

John HeinisSenior Analyst IJanuary 11, 2014

Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;   Ronda Rousey in the cage for her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship Bout against Miesha Tate (not pictured) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Rousey won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey may not be the most popular fighter right now, but apparently, that's just the way she likes it. 

At a media luncheon to promote her next fight against Sara McMann at UFC 170, Rousey told reporters on Thursday that she has always embraced playing the bad guy and wouldn't have it any other way, per Bloody Elbow

I've never acted like a nice, sweet, young American girl. I always wanted to be the heel, and I'm sure people are still going to boo me. It's not like they forgot about it and that's fine. That's the way it is. It's like Saint McMann, they're going to love her. ... Ali was the heel, he got a lot of boos, and now he's the greatest of all time. Tyson, people were calling him an ear-biting rapist, and everybody loves Tyson. ... I'm expecting a lot of boos for a while. Whatever, cheers don't pay for my gas.

The "Rowdy" one received a ton of criticism following a Fight of the Night performance against Miesha Tate at UFC 168 late last month after she snubbed her rival's attempt to shake hands after the action-packed title tilt. 

Rousey later defended her decision by stating "Cupcake" only extended her hand since the cameras were rolling, per MMA Fighting.  

The 26-year-old Judoka, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics, is currently a perfect 8-0 as a professional mixed martial artist. 

All of her fights have ended via her signature armbar, her rematch with Tate being the only matchup to go outside the first round. 

Nevertheless, McMann would appear to be the toughest opponent of the champion's relatively young career. 

McMann, who won a silver medal in wrestling at the 2004 Summer Olympics, is 7-0 inside the cage and is yet to be involved in a close fight. 

Is Rousey's approach to the fans the best move for her fight career right now, or, in actuality, does one have no impact on the other?


John Heinis is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for