After quickly disposing of Liz Carmouche in her highly-anticipated UFC debut one year ago, bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (pictured) immediately took her talents to Hollywood to film two big budget films – “The Expendables 3″ and “Fast and Furious 7.”
Fight fans instantly jumped to the conclusion that Rousey would follow in the footsteps of fellow former Strikeforce star Gina Carano by using MMA as a springboard to launch herself into a less violent, and presumably more lucrative, career on the silver screen.
However, UFC president Dana White quickly killed that chatter by claiming brawling was still going to be where Rousey’s bread was buttered.
“Where [Rousey's] really going to get the money is here fighting,” White stated last February. “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 – to the money she makes fighting.”
Well, White was right, but possibly in a different way. Rousey doesn’t earn in acting what she does from fighting – “Rowdy” might make more.
“Ronda’s making a lot of money [in movies],” White revealed Thursday. “Ronda’s getting paid. I’ve never seen somebody go straight from [the UFC] and go into the movies and make the kind of money she’s making.
“I didn’t even think that was possible. But she is, so good for her.”
Although Rousey will be entering the Octagon for just the third time when she defends her throne against Sara McMann Saturday at UFC 170, White claimed last week that Rousey would already likely crack into the company’s top 10 in career earnings.
When it comes to MMA, Rousey is as must-see TV as it gets. With former champions Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre’s fighting careers in limbo, some are wondering if the UFC will also be able to survive the exit of their biggest mainstream star.
White isn’t worried in the least. In fact, he believes Rousey’s exit could help the UFC like it has with a certain sports-entertainment company. If ya smell what he’s cooking.
“Everybody keeps talking about, ‘What happens if she leaves and goes to Hollywood?’ What happens if she leaves and goes to Hollywood?” White asked. “How is that bad for us? How is that bad for the sport? Is ‘The Rock’ being a huge superstar bad for the WWE?”
After facing McMann on Saturday, Rousey will jump straight into filming the much-anticipated “Entourage” movie.
It seems like only a matter of time before Rousey permanently leaves MMA in her rear-view mirror as she drives off into Hollywood’s sunset. Judging from White’s comments, he has already accepted that it might happen sooner rather than later.