Mixed martial arts has produced its fair share of superstars over the years, but none has garnered the kind of celebrity support that Ronda Rousey enjoys before, during and after all of her fights in the UFC.
Everybody loves Rousey these days and the only things in pop culture that get as much attention either come with a Kardashian attached to their name or they are fighting zombies — of one kind or another — on television Sunday nights.
Rousey has truly transcended the sport and that was evident during the latest UFC Embedded episode, where a ton of famous faces popped up to talk about the bantamweight champion ahead of her fight with Holly Holm next weekend in Australia. Even those unseen during the special — such as “Orange is the New Black” star Ruby Rose, who provided the voiceovers — feel a connection with Rousey every time she competes.
Arnold Schwarzenegger gushed over Rousey while churning out as many lines as possible from his “Terminator” films to describe the 28-year-old from California.
“Ronda Rousey’s kind of like a female Terminator and is relentless and shows no mercy, shows no pain, no remorse, no pity. I think she’s going to go all the way. She’s going to break new grounds every single day,” Schwarzenegger said in the episode.
Mark Wahlberg, who worked with Rousey in his recent film rendition of “Entourage”, not to mention an upcoming co-starring role with her in the movie “Mile 22”, believes she is the best there’s ever been when it comes to MMA.
While it’s true Rousey doesn’t seem to have many contemporaries in her own division, Wahlberg believes it goes even deeper than that to cover the entire sport.
“She’s the Michael Jordan of her sport,” Wahlberg said. “She’s got that heart of a lion with the desire to be the best. She’s basically transcended the sport.”
WWE co-owner Stephanie McMahon worked with Rousey earlier this year when she made an appearance at WrestleMania alongside her good friend Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and she’s been impressed ever since.
McMahon and her husband Triple H (real name Paul Levesque) have embraced Rousey as one of their own, posting pictures wearing her T-shirts before fights and cozying up to the UFC in a way her father Vince McMahon never did, even in the era when Brock Lesnar was the heavyweight champion.
“Ronda takes that same mentality through everything that she does. Whether that’s movies, whether that’s writing her book. Ronda’s all about embracing who you are and being yourself. You can’t ‘do nothing’,” McMahon said while paraphrasing Rousey’s infamous speech.
Actually, it’s Rousey’s rant where she said she wasn’t a ‘do nothing b–ch’ that sparked celebrities like Beyonce to include the phrase in a recent concert and singer Demi Lovato even included her name in the song titled “Stars” on her recently released album titled “Confident”.
Lovato might be the biggest celebrity fan Rousey has considering she credited the UFC champion for inspiring a large part of her recent album and she sat cage side the night the former Olympian arm barred Cat Zingano in 14-seconds — a video that fit perfectly on the pop star’s Instagram account.
“What impresses me most about Ronda is that she’s a good role model,” Lovato said. “Ronda’s stepping out of the mold where she’s saying women can be as strong as men.”
Jada Pinkett-Smith may have summed it up the best when she spoke about Rousey during the recent UFC Embedded episode. For all the accolades and praise Rousey has received from fans around the world, what she’s doing more than anything in redefining what a woman can do in a sport that’s primarily been dominated by men.
She’s not only empowering other female athletes, but according to the former “Gotham” star, she’s redefining and changing every label that’s been attached to the word ‘woman’.
“I think Ronda is really expanding the idea of ‘woman’,” Pinkett-Smith said.
The special UFC Embedded: Rousey vs. Holm will air again at 10 p.m. ET on FS1 leading into fight week for Rousey to defend her title against Holly Holm this Saturday night in Australia.