LAS VEGAS — No one can say Ronda Rousey is officially retired from mixed martial arts, because she hasn’t spoken about fighting since her last loss seven months ago.
UFC president Dana White has speculated Rousey, the most famous female fighter of all time, is probably done. He told ESPN she remains in the UFC’s anti-doping program, but there’s been no discussion regarding another fight.
“I think people realize she’s probably going to retire,” White said.
If this is how Rousey’s professional career ends, it’s an exit few predicted when she was at her peak.
After Rousey lost her title in stunning fashion to Holly Holm in November 2015, she disappeared from the public eye. When she returned to face Amanda Nunes in late 2016, she barely granted any interviews and looked out of place in a first-round knockout loss.
Rousey, 30, is the main reason women have a home in the UFC. It was her potential star power that convinced White to promote women in 2013, something he’d said he would never do.
Now, it seems, she is so ashamed of her last two fights, she can’t be celebrated or recognized for the pioneer she was. Knowing Rousey well, White says that’s not surprising.
“That’s not because she had to, that’s the way Ronda Rousey is built,” said White, on Rousey’s cold turkey exit. “Ronda Rousey is super competitive and doesn’t like to lose. I know she’s been criticized for that by a lot of people, but that’s just who she is and the way she is.
“And the way she is, is what made everybody get behind her. It’s what blew up the women’s divisions. Now she’s going to move on to the next chapter of her life, get married and have kids, do that thing. It’s not sad, it’s the way she wanted it.”
Earlier this year, Rousey (12-2) got engaged to current UFC heavyweight Travis Browne. She was cast on ABC’s “Battle of the Network Stars” and recently did an appearance on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” during which she did not talk about MMA.
When asked if White thinks there’s any chance he could receive a call from Rousey someday, asking to come back, he laughed and said he wasn’t sure how he’d even feel about it.
“I don’t know,” White said. “I don’t know if I’d want her to. The way she came in, the way everything went — it was perfect.
“I’ve never been one of those promoters that looks at, ‘Oh, imagine how much money I can make if Ronda Rousey comes back’ or the Chuck Liddells, all those guys. I’m actually the guy who, when somebody even hints at retiring, says, ‘I think you should retire.’
“No matter how big of a star you are, once you’ve retired, you should probably stay retired and move on, build that next chapter of your life.”