Why Ronda Rousey Won't Fight Floyd Mayweather

by Alicia Lu

They've been exchanging verbal jabs for more than a year now, but now talk of a real fight between Ronda Rousey and Floyd Mayweather is heating up. Though she admitted during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on Tuesday that Mayweather would dominate in a boxing match, Rousey insisted she'd beat him in a no-rules fight. A Rousey-versus-Mayweather fight would indisputably be a big deal.

During the AMA session, a fan asked Rousey — the undefeated UFC female bantamweight champion and winner of the Best Fighter award at this year's ESPYs — whether she thought she could "legitimately beat Floyd Mayweather in a ruleless fight." Rousey had this to say:

Do I think I would legit beat Mayweather in a ruleless fight? Floyd is one of the best boxers of all time. He would definitely beat me in a boxing match. I unfortunately don't get into "matches." I fight for a living. In a no rules fight, I believe I can beat anyone on this planet.

Her answer is at once gracious and badass. She's willing to recognize Mayweather's talent and status, but she is also confident in her own. She acknowledges boxing's unique qualities and humbly admitted she's still learning it, but she isn't afraid to really say what she thinks.

Boxing is a sweet science with strict rules that I respect very much and aspire every day to improve at.But you said ruleless fight, and that's my honest answer.
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"Ruleless" implies the showdown would take place in an MMA octagon, rather than a boxing ring, meaning Rousey would have a significant advantage over Mayweather. Boxing and MMA are two entirely different sports, yet Rousey's grappling and judo skills make her an all-around threat both in striking and on the ground. In boxing, you can only use your fists to hit your opponent, and you have to stay on your feet or be docked points. In MMA, fighters often take each other to the mat and grapple, incorporating different fighting styles like wrestling, Brazilian jiujitsu, and judo — that last of which is Rousey's specialty.

Rousey is the first U.S. woman to ever win an Olympic medal in judo, picking up the bronze in Beijing in 2008. Her fighting style relies heavily on using her judo skills to take her opponents down and then swiftly locking them in her lethal arm bar, an efficient strategy that has won her nine fights. She didn't earn the nickname "The Arm Collector" for no reason.

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In February 2014, Rousey even revealed her strategy for a hypothetical fight with Mayweather. She told L.A. radio station Power 106 that she'd tackle Mayweather low and fast to get him on his back, and he'd be helpless. She could feasibly break his arm much more severely than she did Miesha Tate's. (Warning: The video is not for the squeamish.) Yes, Mayweather throws a much harder punch, but the moment he's on the ground, consider him done. In other words, Mayweather should be very, very scared.


But for now, the fight is merely a fantasy being played out in every Rousey fanboy and girl's mind, and unfortunately for them, it might never see the light of day. Rousey has made it clear in the past that she does not condone a mixed-gender fight — not because she doesn't think women can handle it physically, but because she believes it glorifies violence against women. In March, she told the website MMA Fighting why she'll never fight a man:

Fights are chaotic. Anything can happen. And there's no setting in which we should condone a man hitting a woman ... Fights are going to go both ways. You're going to see both people hitting each other. I don't think we should celebrate a man hitting a woman in any kind of setting.

And while that's an overall good reason not to participate in a fight, Rousey's statement is actually a little problematic. We shouldn't celebrate a woman hitting a man in any kind of setting, either. Domestic violence goes both ways, and Rousey's comment furthers the misguided notion that domestic abuse can only happen to a woman.

It's not the first problematic statement she's made. In a 2013 interview, Rousey said it wouldn't be fair to fight a transgender woman. "She can try hormones, chop her pecker off, but it’s still the same bone structure a man has. It’s an advantage. I don’t think it’s fair," Rousey said. So while Rousey might have an overall good intention behind her reason for not wanting to fight Mayweather, her understanding of domestic violence issues and gender identity seems to be naive at best.

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So does this mean that Mayweather is off the hook? Maybe. But Rousey has made it abundantly clear that if she were to fight any man, it'd be Mayweather, perhaps specifically to send a message against domestic violence.