Ronda Rousey’s UFC career may be over after her second consecutive embarrassing loss, as Amanda Nunes ended what was billed as Rousey’s triumphant comeback in just 48 seconds. Unsurprisingly, fans on social media responded by creating an endless series of memes starring a wobbly Rousey. In the span of 13 months, Rousey went from being the baddest woman on the planet to becoming an Internet joke.
Amid all of the columns calling for Rousey to retire, a number of professional athletes have come to her defense – including three-time NBA champ LeBron James. James said Saturday that he understands Rousey’s position and feels for her because he “went through that” in 2010.
“In sports, in general, they build you up as high as they can, put you on the highest mountain in the world, just to tear you down. That’s coming from somebody who has experienced it. And that’s exactly what she’s going through right now. That’s a fact. I know exactly how she feels because I was that athlete. I went through that.”
James is, of course, referring to his move from Cleveland to Miami, which turned him into a “villain” for the next year or so. The Heat made the NBA Finals in their first season with the new superteam, but James had a horrific (by his standards) performance and the Dallas Mavericks won the title. James responded by making the next five NBA Finals and winning three titles.
“You don’t know her mindset. You don’t know the drive, is the drive still there? You don’t know. But you can tell that it’s built and built and built and built and built, they always make the teardown story more important than how long it took for her to actually get to the mountaintop.”
Kobe Bryant also defended Rousey following her loss.