How UFC champ Ronda Rousey got her 'Bad Reputation'

BY Elias Cepeda • June 17, 2015

Whenever UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey walks to the Octagon to mix it up, she does so with a look of ferocious focus, and with Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" blaring through the arena speakers. The modern rock classic fits Rousey like a glove, but she didn't always use it. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, Rousey explained how she came to that choice. As the Rowdy one explained, she didn't want something grand and imperial sounding, but rather something down and dirty.

"Lots of professional fighters want their walkout song to sound like the 'Rocky' theme — you know, regal and inspiring. I'm more on the theatrical side, so I needed something gritty, with a lot of attitude," she explained.

"Many people are just beginning to understand the female fighter. For me, fighting is an act of overcoming. I've always been told I was destined for greatness, that I was meant to change the world. There are lots of ways to be great, but a fight is the only place where everything makes sense to me. It's almost calming."

Ronda used to make her way to the ring to the punk tune of "Sex and Violence", but when television censors expressed concern, she had to search for a new, but still fitting jam.

"My walkout theme used to be 'Sex and Violence' by the Exploited, a Scottish punk band. It's loud and brash, and the title's words are pretty much it for the song's lyrics," she recounted.

"Then in 2011, I was fighting with Strikeforce, a mixed martial arts organization, when Showtime wanted to air my bout on its late-night premium channel. That was a big break, but Showtime thought my song was inappropriate."

As it happened, Rousey had just heard "Bad Reputation" in her car, when her godfather's son suggested it as her new anthem. "The song was perfect," she said.

"If you're constantly stressing over trying to get everyone to like you, you're giving them the power to control your well being. For me it's better to embrace the role of the heel and chase after being disliked. It's an element of control and leaves room for error."

In Jett, Rousey saw a musical version of herself as an athlete. "Joan's song and rebellious voice are closest to being the music equivalent of my attitude in the ring," Rousey explained.

"I like being seen as an intimidating, indomitable force. I'm happier being a nasty piece of work."

And guess what? The Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Famer approves.

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