Conor McGregor and Holly Holm will headline UFC 196 on March 5, but Ronda Rousey’s popularity might surpass anyone in the sport of MMA. The former bantamweight champion continues to make headlines, even though it’s unknown when she will get back inside the octagon.
Rousey recently made comments regarding another one of the biggest names in combat sports. The 29-year-old took exception to Manny Pacquiao’s statement that gay people are “worse than animals," a remark that prompeted an apology from the Filipino icon.
“I understand that a lot of people use religion as a reason to be against gay people, but there was no ‘Thou Shall Not Be Gay,’” Rousey told TMZ. “God never said that, and I really think that our pope now is boss. He was saying something the other day that religion should be all-encompassing and should be about loving everyone. And I think people take the wrong message sometimes.”
Pacquiao has received a lot of backlash for his comments, most notably from Nike, who cut ties with the boxer. Even after apologizing, Pacquiao made a post on Instagram, which has since been deleted, featuring Bible verses that condemn homosexuality.
There was a time not long ago, however, when Rousey was a supporter of Pacquiao. Rousey met with the former welterweight champ less than a month before he faced his rival Floyd Mayweather in the May 2 fight that broke seveal financial records.
— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiaoTR) April 14, 2015
Rousey admitted she was rooting for Pacquiao, who ended up losing a unanimous decision. She also openly confirmed her disdain for Mayweather, and was willing to answer a question about how she would fight Mayweather in the octagon.
When Mayweather was asked about a potential fight with Rousey, the undefeated boxer said, “I don’t even know who he is.” Rousey didn’t take too kindly to those words, and she took a jab at Mayweather’s history of domestic violence a year later.
“I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once,” Rousey said on the 2015 ESPY Red Carpet when she was named the year's best fighter. "I'd like to see you pretend not to know who I am now."
But after a few years of trading verbal jabs with the UFC star, Mayweather seems to have changed his opinion of Rousey. After Rousey was knocked out by Holm in her first ever defeat, the boxer decided to offer her some encouraging words.
"I want Ronda Rousey to hold her head up high and don't let this discourage you. If you need help as far as with boxing, I'm here to help you," Mayweather told Fighthype.com. "It's all about timing and inches. Her ground game is unbelievable. She'll be OK."
A year after Mayweather and Pacquiao put on maybe the biggest fight of all time, both welterweights will be out of boxing. Mayweather claims his fight against Andre Berto in September was his last, and Pacquiao is calling his fight against Timothy Bradley on April 9 the last of his career.