Sunday, October 4, 2015

Review of Rousey: My Fight/Your Fight.

No one had believed the UFC would ever admit women. Not fans. Not other fighters. Not the media. Not my mom. Not the face of the UFC himself.
People told me it would never happen. They told me I was insane.
But you can’t let other people affect your belief in yourself. People are going to tell you to be logical and to be reasonable. They’re going to say that because no one else has ever done something, that it can’t be done. You have to be crazy enough to believe that you are the one person in the history of the world who can create that change or accomplish that dream. Many people are going to doubt you and tell you reasons why you can’t and why you shouldn’t. You can choose to accept them or reject them. I had ignored everyone who said it could never be done. Now I was going to be the first woman ever in
the UFC. ( Rousey, P. 181)

In recent years it's not very often that I have the patience to read through books from start to finish. Most get boring at some point, and it's a struggle to finish.

To describe Rousey as engaging and riveting does some justice for a description. This book is not just a great read - it's a journey. You live and experience what Ronda lived and experienced. From her Judo career, through two Olympics (2004, 2008), with its unfulfilled dreams and disappointment, followed by a lost year of inactivity in any sport, to the pinnacle of MMA fighting in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), and the first women's Champion and title holder in the UFC.

Rousey can rightly be called the pioneer of women in UFC, and without her, it may never have happened.

During a very brief encounter with UFC President Dana White, Rousey was surprised and flattered that White knew who she was, and shook her hand. That would be the beginning of the end for Dana White's conviction that "women will never fight in the UFC". It was eventually Rousey who single-highhandedly changed White's view.

Eventually, White would boldly say on a national broadcast that "Ronda Rousey is the biggest star the UFC has ever had". Rousey also recently confirmed on the Ellen DeGeneres show that she's the highest paid fighter in the UFC, which goes a long way to express White's total confidence in her. Her drawing power is enormous.
 

Even a mere several years ago, not a single person on the planet could have predicted this, not even the UFC President himself.

And that's just a prelude to the incredible human being that Ronda Rousey is. Even in her worst and most desperate financial times, when she slept in the back of her foul-smelling car, looked for cheap gas, and was worried that she might not be able to meet bill payments, or even find somewhere to live other than a back seat, the reader experiences her desperation, her anxiety, and many would likely say, "I've been there too". And that's what's so captivating about Rousey. No silver spoons, no special privileges, and many disadvantages which most of us would shirk away from in a loss of hope, in despair.  But this is why Rousey is a compelling and riveting read. You don't get to the top by accident - you have to constantly work at it, with a full belief in yourself.

Even during her worst moments of trial, she would say that this was part of the book that she would eventually write. This is the "bad time", this part of her autobiography. Her faith that she would eventually conquer all adversity, and maybe leave lessons for others who are struggling. 

And adversity is something Rousey experienced all her life, from the death of her father, and eventually revisiting his grave and "talking to him", hoping that he was proud of her for what she'd accomplished in her life, to all the highs and lows of martial arts.

Rousey is always positive, almost always seems to have a genuine smile, laugh or a joke at hand, and infectiously comes across as one who really loves life, and has a driving faith that she will eventually retire from MMA unbeaten. And then the next chapter will begin - her acting career.

Rousey is a book more than worth reading. It's a personal epic. It's not just a read - it's an experience, and for many it could even be a life-changing experience.

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