Ten years ago, Ronda Rousey returned to the United States from Canada to train with renowned Judo coach Edmond Tarverdyan to prepare for a major fight against current champion Bethe Correia.
While Rousey had spent almost all of her life in the U.S., she wanted to begin living her best life and put her past behind her.
A brief but vivid childhood memory — her father hitting her and blacking out before returning — had occurred when Rousey was only three years old. Her father had been clean for a while, but was arrested just a few weeks before this fight.
“I definitely thought it was weird,” Rousey told E! News. “My dad was sleeping on the couch.”
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, the family was forced to keep the abuse under wraps. There were endless rumors about the nature of their relationship, as well as about her and her mother’s physical relationship, which Rousey often referenced while talking about her life off-screen.
This unknown side of her life almost stopped her from becoming a champion in the UFC, but after moving to a gym co-owned by his wife, Rousey began to receive treatment for her abusive past and began to focus on moving toward her dream: fight in the UFC. She trained intensely and worked her way up through the ranks. But her victory came under extremely difficult circumstances. While fighting Correia, Rousey attacked her rival, throwing one punch to the head, which proved to be a wake-up call for Rousey’s opponent. Correia received staples to her head as a result, but that was not enough to stop her momentum.
Rousey was unable to move her arms and body in the aftermath of the fight. She was rushed to the hospital, and even received a temporary hold on her fight career. While training with Tarverdyan, she soon began complaining of feeling dizzy, but the feeling quickly subsided. A doctor initially suggested she might have a concussion and may have been in danger of contracting multiple sclerosis.
But when her parents, an uncle and two close friends visited her in the hospital, her pain level skyrocketed as their friend told her that he didn’t believe her, but that her coach had told him she would get back to training. After realizing that she might have to cancel her next fight, Rousey jumped in her car and left the hospital — stopping only to reassure her father.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “You’re not dead.”
She returned to the gym the following day, and had another concussion on the verge of canceling her next fight, before finishing her bout against Cat Zingano. She now holds the UFC women’s bantamweight title, and has become one of the best-known MMA fighters in the world.
Read the full story at The Cut.
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