WWE RAW superstar Ronda Rousey had some awkward exchanges while doing media rounds at ESPN last week. On his Beyond The Fight podcast, former UFC fighter and current Bellator fighter and commentator Chael Sonnen went on a long rant bashing Rousey for how she came off in the interviews.
Sonnen singled out Rousey's interview with Golic & Wingo on ESPN Radio in which she misunderstood a question about her MMA future. Instead of asking for clarification, she gave a sarcastic answer and looked visibly annoyed. Sonnen said he was annoyed by Rousey's attitude and thinks she should've been grateful that she's even doing interviews on ESPN.
"Let's paraphrase; the host [Mike Golic] asked if you were going to fight again, and she said that she never said that she was. He said, would you go back in time, meaning, in time forward could you go back. His words were, would you go back in time, which is how she chose to troll him and say, no, I could not go back in time. I didn't think it was that hot of a piece," Sonnen said. "I didn't find it good, bad or indifferent. I did find it a little annoying, like, hey, the host is doing you a favor by having you on, considering you're jumping around in the fake ring wearing Roddy Piper's clothes. This is a sports show and you don't do sports, so, give the guy a little slack. It's like, hey lady, you're jumping around in a ring on pay per view in a few days. This is a sports show. We'll extend this to you because you used to do a sport, so let's help each other out here. So yeah, she then threw it in his face."
Sonnen went on to say that he understands that it gets annoying answering the same questions over and over again, but he thinks Rousey should expect those questions. He said he knows the internal battle that comes from both sides while doing an interview, but he thinks she could've handled it better.
"I didn't blame her in the least. I thought it was funny because anytime you live in a bubble, and yes she lives in a bubble, she has the right, she is a human being and she is going to get tired of being asked the same question over and over again about being retired," he said. "That very clearly annoys her, but if we are going to ever have Ronda Rousey on this show that is the question we are going to ask her because we clearly can't talk about the past. First off, that's not interesting, plus, what else am I going to talk to her about? 1995 when she was skilled at this sport or 2001---I can't remember the year, it's been a long time. Am I going to talk to her about when she was the Champion or when she got her a** kicked and she wasn't the Champion?
"So, I'm going to have to talk to her about the future so the host did the absolute right thing, but there is a gamesmanship that is going on over there," he continued. "Which is, who is going to get over who? One of us is going to look like a doofus. So, here's the battle: Am I good enough ratings for you that you are going to tolerate me making you look stupid on your own show like I did to Dan Le Batard where he has to have me on, right? But, he's going to take the weight for it. Or, is my show bigger than you, you don't belong here in the first place because we are a sports show and you are jumping around in Roddy Piper's pajamas on a Sunday in a few weeks. Who gets over on who? I will let you decide the answer to that."
Sonnen said if he were in the interviewer's position he would've kicked Rousey off his show because of her attitude. He believes that since she is now in the world of sports entertainment, she should be grateful to sports companies that want to cover her because they're no longer obligated to do so. But Sonnen also said he understands that the host wanted to milk the interview for all its worth and he might have been inclined to do the same thing.
"If I was the host I would have kicked her a** off the set. I am inviting you on here on a sports show on ESPN, a place that you don't belong as a Professional Wrestler, but we can all scratch since each other's back. There is a lot of people that do care and find it interesting, but I have to talk about an actual sport, after all, I am a sports show, and I'm on ESPN. The 'S' in ESPN, you know what that stands for. I have to talk sports with you. You're not active," Sonnen said. "Bringing up history is no fun, so I have to talk about the future. Fair question by me, but you're going to try and belittle me for it? Let me show you how this goes. Because, after I boot your a** and my ratings go up for doing it. Tomorrow morning, they're going to set this same camera up because I'm still going to be on it, but you're not Ronda, so now we are going to find out who is going to go up on who. I'm not burning Ronda Rousey, you can put anybody there you want, but I'm just saying that if you are the host, and it is your show, run your show. Now, if you want to be a willful doofus to know that this is good for ratings and let's just keep this guy around even if I have to take some bumps here, it is good. I have been on that end of it too, where it's like, yeah, I see where this is going, but let me let this go and I'll get some more length out of it. We are playing a game. That is okay to do as well, but that would be one way to handle it, and that would be how I would have handled it, but if I was the host I would have said, here is your hat, what is your hurry?"
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Beyond The Fight with Chael Sonnen with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.