Dana White: Ronda Rousey ‘was exhausted’ mentally and physically ahead of UFC 193
A lot has been said about Ronda Rousey’s mental state heading into UFC 193 after months of promotional work that was compounded by mounting personal issues and how it may have led to the knockout loss to Holly Holm.
While Rousey has yet to talk about the fight since returning home from Australia, UFC president Dana White has stayed in contact with her almost daily since that time.
White says there’s no doubt Rousey was run ragged from all the obligations, appearances and personal issues surrounding the lead-up to the fight, and then she still had to face Holm, who was the most decorated striker to ever earn a title fight against her in the UFC.
"When she sat down with me and Lorenzo (Fertitta) a few days ago she said ‘I was exhausted’ going into that fight," White revealed in an interview with TSN in Canada. " ‘I was exhausted mentally, physically, personally.’ She had a lot of personal things going on, too, with her family. She’s gone into every fight — Cat Zingano is one of the best fighters in the world, she beat her in 14 seconds, so I don’t know."
Beyond interviews and appearances leading up to the fight, Rousey also watched her relationship with fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne get splashed across the headlines — as well as an ongoing feud between her mother and her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, that garnered a lot of attention prior to the battle with Holm.
Many believed the cracks in Rousey’s veneer showed at the UFC 193 weigh-ins just a day before the fight with Holm. Rousey charged across the stage after hitting the scale and got directly in her opponent’s face before White was forced to separate the two of them from getting into a scuffle right then and there.
I’ve talked to her almost everyday after the fight and when she sat down with me and Lorenzo a few days ago she said ‘I was exhausted’ going into that fight.
— Dana White
Even in her most intense rivalries since joining the UFC, Rousey has never gotten to the point with an opponent where things got physical until she came nose-to-nose with Holm in Australia.
"It was uncharacteristic of her. She doesn’t act like that ever," White said. "Even against a girl like Bethe (Correia), who said a lot of bad things and she really didn’t like Bethe Correia."
Whether Rousey was mentally taxed going into the fight or not, White also states that credit must be paid for Holm’s performance, where she countered the former Olympian at every turn and then landed one of the most dramatic knockouts in UFC history just 59 seconds into the second round.
None of that happened by mistake because Holm had all the credentials to stand in the Octagon with Rousey, and she took full advantage of every opening the former champion gave her in that fight.
"She’s super talented and she’s so aggressive," White said about Rousey. "The reason she’s such a huge star is she’s that type of fighter — anybody, anywhere, any time — and I made the Holly Holm fight and everybody criticized me for making that fight. I made the Holly Holm fight because she’s the most decorated boxer ever in female boxing, world-class kickboxer who has won titles, undefeated in MMA and she had the height and reach advantage.
"It was the best fight to make, she was the best female fighter in the UFC at the time that hadn’t already fought Ronda Rousey."
White can’t deny that watching Rousey lose was tough for him, but it wasn’t so much about business as it was personal due to his friendship with the former champion. White says he’s only been really close with two fighters in the past, and unfortunately, he’s now watched both of them fall in brutal knockouts and after he takes off his promoter’s hat, it’s tough to see a friend lose and not feel for them.
"Me and 57,240 people in the arena were obviously shocked," White said. "I’m never shocked at somebody losing, but it’s the way that she lost that was so shocking. People obviously are saying ‘He’s devastated, he’s this, he’s that’ — listen I always call myself the bells-and-whistles guy. We put on all the bells and whistles, we promote the show, they step into the Octagon and whatever happens is determined by them, but in the history of the sport there’s been two people — Chuck Liddell, that I was very close to, and Ronda Rousey, I’m very close to.
"She’s one of my very good friends so to see her lose that way, yeah, it was tough."