Ronda Rousey will return to the Octagon for the first time in over a year when she faces women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in the main event at UFC 207, but she hasn’t had much to say about it during fight week.
UFC 207 will happen without a single press conference, open workouts or large media presence for either Nunes or Rousey, which is really the first time in history the promotion has put on an event of this magnitude without any of those taking place.
According to UFC president Dana White it was Rousey’s wish that she would not have to do any media obligations during fight week and he ultimately allowed her to skip media.
“Ronda has given more than anybody. If you look at the amount of press that’s been done by any fighter in the UFC, in UFC history, Ronda smokes everybody by a long shot. This is what she wanted,” White said about Rousey’s media blackout during fight week.
“The only thing she cares about is focusing on winning. She’s done a lot of things for this company. I say it all the time about Conor, too, but Ronda’s done a lot of things for us, this is what she wanted so I gave it to her.
“Listen, there’s so many different fighters that I have to deal with different egos, personalities, whatever it might be, you can’t miss a press conference. Ronda asked from the day that this fight was made, she said, ‘Ill do press, I’ll do press leading up to the event’ and she did the talk shows and all of that stuff. This is the way she wanted to do it. So I said OK.”
He admits the situation isn’t ideal but says back in the day Rousey would do anything that was asked from the company.
“It’s definitely not ideal. It’s what she asked for and like I said, back in the day Ronda would literally do anything we asked her to. Anything. If the guys wouldn’t do something, she would pick up the ball and do it herself. So for her to ask for something like this, how can I say no to that? She’s done a lot,” White said.
“There are a lot of things that suck about this. Yeah, we’re in a pretty crazy position but she’s one of the greatest ever to do it, she’s done a lot for this company, she’s done a lot for the sport, she’s done a lot for women in the sport and this is what she asked for. She never asked for much so this is what she asked for and we said yes.”
White has received a lot of backlash about his decision to allow Rousey to skip out on her fight week obligations after he pulled Conor McGregor from UFC 200 for refusing to travel from Iceland to Las Vegas for a press conference tour to promote his rematch with Nate Diaz.
White quickly dispatched those opinions while revealing that Rousey’s special request won’t extend to anybody else in the company. According to White, even Rousey won’t get this request granted a second time.
“This is a one and done (for Rousey skipping media obligations),” White said.
“Ronda Rousey’s done a lot. Done more media than anybody in the history of this company, major media, media nobody else could get. She did it all and this is something she asked for. It doesn’t open floodgates, it doesn’t change anything. If somebody doesn’t want to show up for a press conference, I’ll pull them from a card.”
The other concern that was raised about Rousey’s special treatment was her relationship with the new owners of the UFC at WME-IMG. Not only does the powerful talent agency now own the UFC, but they also happen to represent Rousey as a client.
“WME has nothing to do with what I’m doing over here. Listen, obviously WME are the new owners of this thing, but I’m still doing everything. Ari Enamuel and Patrick Whitesell have nothing to do with the fights that are being made, they’re not involved in the production of the UFC, everything is exactly the way it was,” White said.
“If you look at what Ronda has accomplished and what she brought to the table and what she’s done, she doesn’t deserve one time to do it the way that she wants to do it? She absolutely does. It has nothing to do with WME. That deal was made between me and Ronda.”
“For a woman who has given as much as she’s given to this sport and to the company — it’s really not that much to ask for,” White said.
White did say that he expects Rousey to answer questions after the fight on Friday night and he believes she’s as ready as ever to reclaim her throne as the best women’s fighter on the planet at UFC 207.
“She’s ready to roll. She’s ready to fight,” White said. “She’s in a great mood. It’s all good.”
Ronda Rousey will challenge Amanda Nunes for the UFC bantamweight championship this Friday at UFC 207 from the T-Mobile Arena at Paradise, Nevada. The event will air live on PPV.