Containing Rousey's stardom a tough task
March, 1, 2013
By Franklin McNeil
Esther Lin/Forza LLC/Getty ImagesIf history is any indication, Ronda Rousey needs to be careful juggling opportunities outside the UFC.One fight into her UFC career, and women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is reaping the benefit of high-profile athletic stardom.
In addition to displaying her talents in the Octagon, Rousey now wants to showcase some of her nonfighting skills. She has signed a contract with powerhouse talent agency William Morris Endeavor.
News of the signing was revealed by hollywoodreporter.com on Wednesday, less than a week after Rousey successfully defended her title with a first-round arm bar submission of Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in Anaheim, Calif.
The bout marked the first time women had competed in a UFC-promoted fight, and it was the card's main event.
While the 26-year-old Rousey (7-0) must be ecstatic over the possibility of starring on the big screen -- there have been hints she might land a role in the sequel to "The Hunger Games" -- UFC president Dana White can't be thrilled with this latest development.
White's been down this fighter-turned-actor road before.
His relationship with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson took a turn for the worse after the former UFC light heavyweight champion briefly put his MMA career on hold in to appear "The A-Team" movie. Jackson played the role of B.A. Baracus, a character made famous by Mr. T in the television series, which aired in the mid-1980s.
Upon completion of the film, which was released in 2010, Jackson returned to action to settle a grudge with fellow former champion Rashad Evans at UFC 114. A sluggish Jackson lost by unanimous decision.
Jackson satisfied his contractual obligations with the UFC on Jan. 26, when he came out on the short end of a unanimous decision to Glover Teixeira. Jackson ended his UFC career on a three-fight losing skid.
The experience with Jackson remains a sore spot with White, something he hopes not to repeat with Rousey. He revealed his thoughts Tuesday night on Rousey possibly pursuing an acting career while competing in mixed martial arts.
"You know how I feel about the movie stuff," White said on Fuel TV. "When Rampage did the movie, it was his dream to be a part of the A-Team. I don't want to take away any opportunities from Ronda, but at the same time her window of opportunity as a professional athlete is really narrow. She could make a zillion movies when she retires. Where she's really going to get the money is here fighting.
"I don't care if she's the lead role in 'The Hunger Games 2,' she would not make anywhere near -- I mean, not even in the universe -- the money she makes fighting."
It remains to be seen if White's assessment is accurate, but this much is known: Rousey's star power is directly linked to the media attention she receives from fighting in UFC and her continued success in it.
If she can fight and continue winning in impressive fashion on a regular basis -- while simultaneously shooting a motion picture -- then more power to her. But if there is the slightest hint that acting is interfering with her ability to remain a top-level mixed martial artist, then she will quickly become the target of White's wrath.
And that won't be a pretty picture.