The UFC president doesn’t seem to be feeling any remorse that one of the promotion’s biggest stars has seemingly moved on from MMA.
At her peak, Ronda Rousey was unquestionably the broadest reaching star in UFC history. She may have only broken the million PPV buy mark twice (still an impressive feat) as a headliner – ironically in her two KO losses – but over the course of her title reign, she became a mass market celebrity unlike anything the UFC had seen before.
And now she’s more or less gone from the mixed martial arts sphere.
On the back of those losses, Rousey cut herself off from any and all MMA related media, focusing instead on her personal life, and her potential careers in Hollywood and in pro wrestling. The latter of those got its first big shot in the arm this last weekend at WWE’s Royal Rumble, where Rousey made her first appearance as a contracted wrestler for the promotion.
A bitter pill for Dana White to swallow? Seeing one of the promotion’s main attractions take off at the height of her drawing power? It doesn’t sound that way.
“I’m very happy for her,” White told the Las Vegas Review-Journal following Rousey’s Royal Rumble appearance. “She loves pro wrestling and has always been a big fan so I know how much his means to her. She keeps accomplishing everything she’s ever wanted.”
It’s a reaction that doesn’t come as much of a surprise for those who have followed the friendship between Rousey and White over the years. White has, at several points, compared his relationship to the former Olympic Judoka as akin to the friendship he’s had with former champion Chuck Liddell over the years. And has bristled at the idea that the UFC would want Rousey to keep fighting in order to make the promotion more money.
“I care about her as a human being more than the fighter side,” White said in a 2017 interview. “You read the bulls—, ‘Oh man, UFC’s in trouble, their golden goose….’ She’s not a f—king golden goose. She’s a human being. And she’s a very good f–king friend of mine.”