SPORTS

UFC champion (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey adds author to already glittering resume

05/14/2015 05:06 EDT | Updated 05/14/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Barefoot in a boardroom, the world's most dominant athlete — so says the cover of Sports Illustrated — is losing her voice.

(Rowdy) Ronda Rousey, UFC champion, Olympic judo bronze medallist, actor and now author, is feeling the effects of a bout of pneumonia.

"I've never fully recovered because they've had me talking constantly all day since," she said with a slight laugh. "But now I'm feeling like Adele-raspy not like mute. We're going in stages."

Rousey, 28, has survived far worse, as her new autobiography "My Fight/Your Fight" documents.

The current rock star of mixed martial arts was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, came late to talking, been homeless, battled bulimia, fallen asleep at the wheel while juggling minimum-wage jobs, put her body through hell, discovered naked photos taken without her knowledge by a boyfriend, bumped heads with her mother and mourned the tragic death of her father.

There was no shortage of material for the book Rousey had always talked of writing.

"When I was really having some of my hardest days, I would tell myself — kind of as a pep talk — that I was just in the difficult part of the book and that I was in the middle of a very interesting autobiography," said Rousey, who kept journals growing up.

"And I was convinced I was on my way to something and I wasn't stuck where I was."

Rousey, who wrote the book with journalist/sister Maria Burns Ortiz, wanted to deliver more than a memoir and succeeds. It's an easy read that rises from the entertaining to the inspirational at times.

The book is accompanied by Eric Williams' candid photos from training camps for bouts with Canadian Alexis Davis and Cat Zingano.

Each chapter is prefaced by a brief statement/confession or lesson learned.

"I have lost tournaments. I have lost friendships. I have lost my father," she writes in opening the chapter titled "You Will be Tested.

"I know that I can deal when things are bad. I can come back when things are at their worst. I'm not afraid of losing all my money or losing my career, because I know I'm capable of living in my car and rising up. Once you've conquered the worst things that can happen, there is no need to fear the unknown. You are fearless."

You start to believe that after reading how Rousey pushed a dislocated elbow back into place during a 2007 bout with world judo champion Edith Bosch. Or how she felt her jaw dislocate in 2013 before rallying to beat Liz Carmouche in her first UFC title defence.

In person, the five-foot-seven Rousey moves gracefully. A tiny tattoo peaks out of her sleeve. Inked words adorn her foot. A two-time Olympic judoka, Rousey keeps the Olympic rings out of sight unless you have a copy of ESPN's The Magazine "Body Issue" lying around.

She has a big, hearty laugh and a crinkly smile that is worlds apart from her go-to-war Octagon face.

Rousey has a soft spot for Canada and it's not just because she only needed 158 seconds to dispatch Canadians Charmaine Tweet, Julie Budd, Sarah Kaufman and Davis. Rousey fondly recalls living four to five months in Montreal as a cash-strapped amateur athlete.

These days Rousey has a tight circle of friends, family and confidantes. Referencing the film "Million Dollar Baby," she says head trainer Edmond Tarverdyan is the Clint Eastwood to her Hilary Swank.

Asked about the Sports Illustrated cover and its headline "Ronda Rousey is the world's most dominant athlete," Rousey replies: "I'm so immeasurably proud that the word woman wasn't in there. And that a lot of people didn't even notice it was missing."

While Rousey is at the top of her game, the books suggest she has not fared well with boyfriends.

"I can't be good at everything," she said with a chuckle.

Rousey's mother routinely refers to the boyfriends of her four daughters as Bob. "Unless you're engaged, they Bob."

The rationale is why make the effort if they're not sticking around.

Unbeaten in 11 pro fights, 10 of which ended in the first round, Rousey no longer has to worry about paying the bills. But challenges remain.

"When I was struggling, it sucked but it was simple. I knew exactly what I had to do that day to get through the day. It was hard work but it was easy to wrap your mind around."

The problems were basic, like paying for rent, food, gas, car insurance, feeding the dog, and sorting out training.

"I had six or seven problems. I don't have enough digits for my problems these days," she said with a laugh. "They're a lot smaller problems and I'd rather have those than worry about eviction. But it's hard to mentally keep track of so many things at once and not let anything fall through the cracks."

If she does move, it may be to reach for a book or a mouse to play "World Of Warcraft."

But there are no complaints. "Life is good. I'm having a ball. I really am."

Rousey says she has one day off between now and Aug. 2, which is the day after her UFC 190 fight against Bethe Correia in Brazil.

So what will she do to relax then? "I think I'm going to faceplant, not move."

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"My Fight/Your Fight" by Ronda Rousey with Maria Burns Ortiz, Regan Arts, 301 pages, $34.

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