WMMA has never been more popular, nor has it received as much media attention as right now. As a further blessing for WMMA fans, the two most recognized names in the sport are gearing up to fight each other. Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion, Miesha Tate, is preparing to face the fastest rising star in the history of WMMA, Ronda Rousey. Rousey has taken the MMA world by storm with her world class judo background, and has made extremely quick work of her opposition to date. With some fans believing that Ronda’s professional MMA record lacks the experience and depth necessary to defeat the more experienced Tate, fuel is provided to the challenger’s camp that already has the firm knowledge that Rousey’s international judo experience is more than enough to warrant her current standing in the MMA community. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, Ronda’s mother, Dr. Ann Maria DeMars, stopped by to give her two-cents on the situation revolving around her daughter’s recent success, and to clear the air about what some fans may not have been aware of, in reference to Ronda’s past, as well as her ability to prove her doubters wrong.
Misconceptions about Ronda’s experience and abilities
“I try to stay out of all the things that people say about Ronda, because over all the years that she’s been competing, there’s been a lot of ignorant things said. It wasn’t just Miesha, but a number of sites and blogs, and I have just had it with people saying that ‘Ronda needs to prove herself’. Who the hell are these people? And what do they think they are talking about? I was just stunned. It was like I said in my blog. I wonder if people actually listen to the words that come out of their mouth? With things like ‘We don’t know how good she is because she won all of her matches so quick,’ That’s just so dumb, I don’t even know how anyone could say it, and not slap themselves afterward. ‘We don’t know how good she is because she’s been so much better than the people that she fought’ and every time she has a fight, it’s the same thing. ‘Well, yeah the last person that she fought really wasn’t very good, but this person is amazing, and they’re going to beat her’ and then the same thing happens. ‘Well that person wasn’t that good’, so I just get kind of irritated by it. The other thing is, there’s a huge difference between somebody who takes judo lessons down at the local YMCA, fighting in local tournaments, and somebody who has been on the world stage, over and over, for years, so it’s hardly a fluke. For the love of God, how much experience do you want? She has had experience since she was 16 years old, with her first international competition. She went to Korea and placed 5th, and she had only been competing as a senior for less than a year. She has been competing at the international level for way longer than most of these people have ever walked into a gym, then to say ‘You need to earn the right.’ What are you talking about?”
Take on the Miesha Tate fight
“Well, one my friends, actually one of Ronda’s friends, said ‘Don’t be so selfish and tell people Ronda’s going to win, because we want to bet on Ronda and make some money. She should walk in with a limp or something, so it will help the odds.’ No, I think that Ronda will pull an armbar, just like everybody else, I do. I was a little nervous, I think before Ronda’s 2nd fight, because she just got in, and I don’t know anything about MMA. I called up Jimmy Pedro Sr., who coached Ronda to the last two Olympics, and I said ‘Well, what do you think? I’m reading these articles where they are saying that they are going to try and stop Ronda by trying to keep things standing with them, like that’s actually what you would want to do’ and Jimmy says to me ‘You mean their game plan is to not let Ronda throw them, and then not let Ronda armbar them?’ He said ‘Let me tell you something kid, I took Ronda all over Europe for 8 years, and that was the plan of all those other women too, and they got a lot more years experience of not letting world judo players throw them in armbars than these women do, and you saw how all that turned out.’ So yeah, I would say that she’s been competing internationally since she was 16, and she’s fought a lot of people that had 10 years of experience with fighting high level judo players, so I think that somebody who has zero experience in fighting high level judo players is going to have a heck of a time stopping her. And this whole thing about ‘Yeah, what if you get punched in the face?’ Ronda was the youngest of three, so anybody who thinks that another girl never punched her in the face, was probably an only child.”
Fears, if any, about Ronda’s MMA career
“More than her being in a match or something, you just never know what will happen. I mean each time you go in, it’s like I would tell her at judo tournaments, you could trip over the tape when you come in, anything could happen. So that kind of worries me, just the concern about some freak accident. I worry much more about her during training than during a match, because if you are training right, a match ought to be the easiest thing you do. I worry a little bit because I don’t know all the people she’s training with. Like Gokor Chivichyan, I’ve known him forever, and he’s really good, and Manny Gamburyan, some of those guys, I’ve known since they were little boys, and I already know that they will fight hard with her, but they won’t deliberately pull any cheap shots, or do anything stupid. But what I do worry about is her working out with some guy, who’s got an ego, but is much bigger, and she knocks him down, and then they get up and do something stupid, and she ends up snapping the ligament in her knee or something. That’s the stuff I worry about.”
Known for her philanthropic endeavors, Ronda’s mother is directly involved in Ronda’s public charity work in the fight against world hunger with freerice.com, and as the first American to win a world judo championship in her own right, Ann Maria has just signed a book deal to publish her own offering on judo mat work. With such accolades, the willingness to speak her mind, and remarkable accomplishments herself, it’s not difficult for MMA fans to see where Ronda gets many of her amazing qualities from. Ann Maria believes that her daughter will be a multiple weight division world champion, and if Ronda keeps rising as fast as she has over the past year, and when all fans become privy to the knowledge that she already has extensive competitive experience, that goal doesn’t seem unrealistic, or unattainable. Ronda Rousey will challenge Miesha Tate for the Strikeforce title on March 3, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. The fight will serve as the main event of Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey.
You can follow Ann Maria @DrAnnMaria
You can listen to the audio from this interview at TapouT Radio