Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Ultimate Fighter: I am not amused

Since it is no longer a secret I showed up for a day of The Ultimate Fighter show, I guess I will write about it before I head off to the AAU National Judo championships, en route to a meeting with a charter school in Kansas City about our game, then to North Dakota to meet with more schools, give a keynote address at a conference and then head home before heading out to a software conference where I am a speaker five days later.

Which is to say, when Ronda called me and asked could I fly out there, on my way back from another business trip, I said,

"Aren't there lots of people with no job you could ask to come out there? I've got shit to do."

However, as in her whole life, Ronda can be persistent, so I ended up changing my flight last minute to go to Las Vegas instead of Los Angeles.

That being said, I only had one day to observe some of what went on (did we miss the 'shit to do' part). I'm trying not to be a hypocrite and judge someone (cough Dana White cough) on just a small bit of what I have observed, especially if Ronda gives them a good recommendation.

From the fraction of the entire time I observed, it appeared that Ronda was taunted quite a bit without being allowed to respond, with a deliberate intent to create  a certain image for television.  Maybe they'll show some of that on the episode, maybe not. For those of you who say she cries too much - she's always cried like that all of her life. Who the hell are you people  to enforce a crying quota? If she cries over sad movies, happy endings and losing her car keys, what's it to you? I'm the opposite of that. I've cried three times in the last twenty years, and one of those was when Ronda's father died. So, she can have my share of the quota and it averages out.

When people ask me,

Are you proud of your daughter?

Yes, I am extremely proud of all of my daughters.

Let me tell you a few things about the real Ronda.

Right before she left, she autographed some t-shirts to be auctioned off to raise funds for Frida Wahlberg, who was injured in a world boxing title fight. They raised $2,000. (I think it's actually still in the bank for Ronda to send her when she gets back from Bulgaria.)

She also gave her hoodie from the TUF show and autographed some other shirts so we could send four kids and a teacher to a tournament in Kansas City. We raised $2,400 auctioning the stuff on ebay and then she donated $500 of her own money so we can take a fifth student. So, this is what Ronda has been doing.

Incidentally, she started the program at Gompers Middle School and taught there as a volunteer for two years before her mixed martial arts career heated up.

This is just a FEW of the things she has done for charity, for the community. There are a lot more. And yet, she's not a nice person because she says, "Fuck". Are you fucking kidding me?

You know, of those thousands of people who were fed from her various free rice contests, I'll bet not one of them would have been happier to go without food unless it came from someone who talked like Strawberry Shortcake.

Since Ronda steals my lines all of the time, I'll take one of hers,

To be a champion, you have to be willing to let your heart be broken.

Ronda cares if she wins. When she loses it feels like the whole world fell in. She's extremely loyal to people and when they are hurt, it hurts her.

People are sometimes offended by Ronda because she does not fit how they think she should act. At Ronda's age, given the same degree of provocation, I would have punched out a few people, hit someone with a chair, told everyone to fuck off and walked out. This is why our family cannot do a reality TV show. So, no, I am the LAST person to ask don't I think she should behave differently.

Some of those same people will argue, "I don't care what the instigation, you should never  ---- " fill in the blank. They are entitled to their opinions. I am equally entitled to my opinion that they have their heads up their asses.


Anonymous said...

I understand the risks Ronda took when she began this path in her career. She was willing to put her reputation, health, private life and the respect of her peers on the line. By taking these chances she has achieved things many thought impossible. No matter what happens in her life, she will never lose my respect and admiration. I will watch everything she is in, purchase every PPV she is on and follow her exploits as long as I can. She strove higher than I, anyone I know and anyone in the sport of MMA can come close to duplicating. You have given birth to and raised a remarkable young Amazon and you have nothing to explain or apologize for.

adam said...

You may have saw this, you may have not, but this blog from Jessamyn Duke should tell you all you need to know about why you saw what you saw when you visited TUF.

I have to say one time I didn't care too much for Ronda, and thought somewhat highly of Miesha. I felt Ronda was cocky, arrogant, and not really deserving of the spot she got as fast as she did.

As time has gone on though, through things I have seen, heard and read about both of them, and seeing all that has gone on with TUF that has changed very dramatically.

I now see Ronda as very real, honest, no nonsense.....a woman who will tell you exactly how she feels whether one likes it or doesn't.....and who knows what she wants and will do all she can to get it when she has her sights on something. She also has proven she belongs where she is beyond all that.....backing up her words where it matters most, in the cage, in the competitive arena. You can't argue with results.

Meantime on the other side.....Miesha to me now is pretty much how I once viewed Ronda to me......arrogant, self absorbed, cocky, a bully.....etc, and also very very fake.

Life is funny like this......sometimes you think you have it all figured out......then you realize you never had a clue.

Parnellz said...

If people haven't figured out yet that this editing is intentional.... well... maybe invest a little time pondering this... This is all done to sell a fight in December. Going into TUF Meisha was not a fan favorite - She had been beaten by Ronda... soundly... nearly beaten by Julie Kedzie, and then definitively beaten by Cat Zingano. Following that fight she didn't win any fans going on about Kim Winslow ruining her life. So, how does the UFC sell another fight between her and Ronda?? Another with the same outcome a certainty? Well, my friends, they sell it by making Ronda look bad and making Meisha look sweet and innocent thereby repairing her image, gaining her new fans AND creating interest in seeing her fight Ronda on the off chance she should actually beat Ronda. It's actually brilliant marketing because without it everyone would have not only expected to see Ronda beat her ass again, but would have been begging for it. Not very exciting. So, Ronda and her team are thrown under the bus in order to help build a false image of Tate in order to sell tickets. Mystery solved.....

Jake said...

I 100% agree. I think the world fears a strong woman who speaks her mind, is loyal, focused and successful. And you have a whole family of them! Ronda on TUF is not the real Ronda, in addition to all the things you mentioned---it sticks out in my head how after a LONG day at the UFC Fan Expo Ronda asked if she could sign that little boy's cast---saying "this is the first thing I wanted to sign all day" You have an amazing daughter---when she leaves MMA---people will realize what they are missing.

Anonymous said...

I like Ronda more then ever. There`s not too many genuine people around and she is one of them. She exposed herself to all the negative people in the world, and she will take a beating for that. Bet no matter what, she`s a champ and she will come out on top, because that`s Ronda`s way.

jcp said...

I've been getting caught up on the show. I have always found crying and whining on reality tv hard to watch. These shows put up a persons reaction to a charged moment display it slightly out of context and then replay it thousands and thousands of times for everyone to judge.
Do I think that Ronda overreacted to Tate's celebration of the victory with her fighter?.. yes.. as presented anyway. Would I have reacted differently.. Maybe.. But the thing is I'm no where near being a champion fighter. Ronda is. I don't think being a champion fighter is always going to be synonymous with always being perfectly rational and politically correct. She clearly knows how to use her experiences to win matches. I wish these shows had less drama and more training techniques/drills and fighting.

jcp said...

Replaying a persons response to a stressful moment slightly out of context thousands of times for everyone to judge is kinda lame but people eat up this drama.
Ronda is a proven champion. I watch TUF for the fights. One thing I know for certain is that Ronda knows how to fight. I have enjoyed many of the fights this season and am looking forward to seeing Ronda work her magic again.

Anonymous said...

"They are entitled to their opinions. I am equally entitled to my opinion that they have their heads up their asses"

Exactly, we are all entitled to our opinion. My opinion is that Ronda sometimes acts like an idiot, for example when she said Miesha Tate was laughing at the pain of Shayna, when Shayna lost.

@mouserk2012 said...

I totally agree with this. Like i tweeted to Dana White, who but children is immature enough to see through this obvious tactic, preteens can't buy his ppv or tickets. The rest of us aren't fooled.

Anonymous said...

I am a large Ronda fan however her behavior on the show deserves the criticism she is getting. I know as a parent it is in your nature to defend her. However Ronda is a big girl and a complete badass, she can handle herself. This can be good for her, she needs to see for herself how she is being portrayed and how people are perceiving her on the show. She needs an attitude adjustment in my opinion, but to be honest she has done amazing things and has garnered a lot of success. If she can handle the criticism then who cares? If she is ok with it maybe that attitude is exactly what is needed for her to continue to succeed. My opinion has not changed about her as a fighter, it has changed however about her as a person.

Unknown said...

I stopped following UFC and Ultimate fighter around 2008. It began to get silly and overhyped. And, there were few exciting fighters. Lyota Machida was a rarity. He adapted Shotokan Karate and used it in the ring, which was good stuff. Seeing Ronda fight in the UFC was eye catching. Why? because it is rare to see someone so aggressive and skilled in MMA. Her judo background is solid, her athletic background is solid. This seems to intimidate a few MMA types. (people are forgetting that MMA has the word Martial Arts in it). The Ultimate Fighter is a show and editing will manipulate incidents and facts. That's television. In the end fighters settle the matter in the ring. But, I can tell you from what I saw on that show Ronda showed confidence and no fear when she confronted Hallman while Tate stood in the background and wouldn't approach the situation. Tate exhibited nervousness and hesitation. Traits that expose weakness in a fighter. As someone who used to fight amateur Muay Thai many years ago and grew up boxing and practicing Karate all I can say is that Ronda exhibits a true competitor spirit. She plays the psychological angle before she enters the ring. That is what a good fighter/competitor does. Get your opponent to show weakness then exploit it. Ronda may come across arrogant, but that's the nature of the sport. Fighting in the ring isn't a love fest. It's a battle. Ronda is doing everything right, the weaklings want smiles, handshakes, hugs and sweet words. LOL!!! before a fight of all things.

Jaka said...

Prejudice is everywhere to be found by the human eye,the problem is that every body has glass roofs but don't bother looking at their own,instead they consider professing shit upon others life's a good way to cope with their decaying and petty ones.If Ronda cries on the show, it demonstrates her humanity,if she agreed to do the show,despite the fact that the other coach is her arch nemesis(media words)and that that would be exploited by the production,shows a lot of character on Ronda's part,I would have walked in a second.
Of course theres the money issue, contracts signed,sponsors,things that you can´t just walk away from,the backstage of the sport.As true to your values as you can be that's what I say.If the media portray her as the "baddie" that's a good thing,free psychological warfare on her opponents,they'll know that she´s not an easy target!!Didn't knew who Ronda was until her first fight in the UFC,I got blown by her intensity,
speed and ferocious face when it comes to Miesha,seems to morph into a hate exuding demon(non offensive remark)!! The one thing I disproved in the fight was that Ronda didn't brake her arm,hope to see it this time(mua hah ha)!!!

Anonymous said...

Dr, Its obvious that Ronda cares for her fighters and is very genuine. A term from my homeland is she 'wears her heart on her sleeve'.

I have alot of respect for that particularly as nowadays athletes tend to be 'pre packaged drones' whether it be GSP, Roger Federer or David Beckham.

I do find it confusing that Dana or foxsports wish to portray Ronda in a negative light, particularly as she is the reason why wmma is on ppv and in the UFC.


Scott ( your future son in law ) :)

mugly said...

Don't worry about the criticism Dr Annemarie. The more mature and independent-minded viewer knows this is about entertainment and not truth and the filming would have been edited with that in mind. I have a lot of respect for Rhonda and yourself as I know judo is tough and requires discipline and focus to master. Karate is my forte and I fought as an amateur boxer but I did dabbled in judo years ago on my dad's advice. Being an experienced wrestler, he told me it was more practical than karate for fighting. I don't know whether it was my strike fighting bias or perhaps I just didn't like being thrown about--I lasted about a month. That was a mistake. Had I appreciated the importance of grappling in practical defense and it's popularity nowadays--I would have continued. Anyway, you don't have to apologise for anything. Your daughter is a great person and I still thing she's going to beat Miesha Tate in the rematch. Rhonda's superior grappling and physicality will be too much, just like the last time.

dewey said...

I have lost a lot of respect for Rhonda since last couple TUF's. The thug like behavior as Dana said is bad for the sport, bad for the show and bad fro Rhonda. Her trainer seems to be a bad influence and a tool of the highest order.

Your post, as I read it, is simply a justification for bad behavior. Something you are entitled to however not behavior nor energy mentally and emotionally healthy people want to be around.

Anonymous said...

Ronda is the best! I've been following her career since the beginning of Strikeforce and to me she has always come across as genuine. Does the show portray her as overly intense at times? yes. But, she is a winner and wouldn't have gotten there by being passive. I appreciate that with Ronda what-you-see-is-what-you-get. On TUF Tate comes across as the good guy (or gal in this case) and Ronda the heal, which makes for good television. While I like Tate (I've also followed her for many years) she appears to be much more concerned with how she is portrayed even if that portrayal is a facade.

Go Ronda!!!

Anonymous said...

You don't have to look very far to understand why Ronda is so emotionally immature. She might win in competition, but she will end up having a nervous breakdown when her her mother's programming finally catches up to her.

Anonymous said...

You like her so much that you post anonymously to hide your embarrassment? You take the cake, son.

johnlichtenstein said...

Can't wait to see you on the show.

Unknown said...

Only let the good publicity through I see.. Very Fox Newsesque of you. Anything for family I suppose.

I wonder how many negative comments you have to filter.

BTW lol at the illusion that you are this hot commodity/high demand/important figure. I'm sure you get jobs in your judo circle and maybe a few more since your daughter is champ and all but the "in five days" bit was laughable. Like working one extra day in a 5 day break is something worth mentioning let alone bitching about. Menopause must be a bitch.

Stop trying to wipe your daughters ass and let her clean up her own shit.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why folks don't see what's right in front of their eyes. I'm a fan of MMA and many UFC fighters. I think Miesha Tate is one of the top 135ers in the women's division. I think Bryan Caraway is a solid 135er in the men's division. I think Dana Whites has done much to promote MMA into its current popularity. All that said, as far as I'm concerned, these 3 folks are Jerry Springer material.

Reporters let Dana White get away with being an unabashed hypocrite because they want the access. But they guy is all about himself and his business. The man, and I use that word loosely, puts people on pedestals as long as they bring in money. Once that's done he throws them under the bus. Fuck his Meniere's disease. The guy deserves absolutely no sympathy from anyone. He's a gazillionaire for god's sake!

Reporters give Miesha Tate a pass because she acts "sweet and girly" while Ronda speaks her mind. They seem to forget how Miesha shoved Cat Zingano's head into the mat at the end of the 1st round of their fight. At least Ronda says out front what she thinks of someone. Miesha sweet talks them so she can backstab later. So much like Dana White?

Last, reporters give Bryan Caraway a pass because he's somewhat of a Dana White favorite. Seriously? The man, again using the word loosely, threatens Ronda because Miesha doesn't have the intellectual wherewithal to defend herself on . . . twitter? The man, loosely again, who elbowed Cat Zingano in the head before her fight with Miesha? This dudes isn't a fighter. The way he threatens and beats on women he's acting like a pimp.

I totally agree with Ronda. I believe Miesha Tate might have a decent human being inside her. But no one will ever know since she wants to be with Caraway. It's almost like watching a psychologically traumatized prostitute defend her pimp. They should go on Jerry Springer.

I've competed against people like Ronda before. I understand their driven personalities. I understand that they may be brash and even coarse sometimes. But I respect their talent and their fierce work ethic. I also respect their blunt honesty, Ronda's, anyway.

All I can say to Ronda and Anna Marie is don't worry about any crap some tools might say about you. They live for their keyboard warrior egos, drinking monster and eating twinkies all night. Just let them slowly rot their bodies till they become part of the furniture.

Sorry for the vitriol. But the fallout from the TUF show, which I don't watch, made me angry about how people are painting Ronda. All the best to you both.

jayblak said...

Ronda is being portrayed as a VERY intense, angry person, who is more concerned about her next fight with Miesha than she is with giving her all to her team. Whilst I sincerely doubt if that is true, that's the way it's coming across. My daughter, who doesn't know either of the fighters, wandered into the room and watched the show for about half an hour, by the end of which she had no doubt in her mind who was wearing the black hat (the one who never smiles) and who was wearing the white hat. Having the boyfriends(?) in the house is doing neither Ronda nor Miesha any favours either, as they also seem less concerned with their charges than they are with their own personal beefs. I doubt whether this is true either.

Natalie said...

Truth be told, I was surprised to see how Ronda is portrayed in TUF, as she always seemed likable in interviews. She's definitely intense, but come on - you can't become a top tier ANYTHING if you aren't completely passionate about what you're doing. Every CEO I've met has that same intense quality to some degree. I respect that about Ronda. She's a fighter through and through.

I think people are making a fuss over Ronda's "behavior" because women are expected to act a certain way when in the spotlight, and that's just not how Ronda rolls. That's the tough thing about being a female athlete - you have to reconcile the qualities that make you a fighter with the qualities that society expects you to have as a woman.

Unknown said...

I love reading your blog, but do you have to drop the "f bomb"? To use the word fuck and fucking is rude and of poor taste. Brett

johnlichtenstein said...

My kids loved you on the show.

I really would have been happier if I never watched Roxy hiding on the ground behind a wall crying. The house drama is really not edifying. The Bellator Fight Master show had 2 fights per hour and less time for drama, making it a better show.

Anonymous said...

Love Rhonda but lost so much respect for her when she dropped weight to avoid Christaine Santos.
Everyone involved in the sport feels she is just plain scared of Santos.Until that fight happens if it other does Rhonda will come off as just a big mouth .

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Curtis -
I have a job, do you?

Brett -
I am more careful in my choice of words in front of children and in professional situations but this is my blog where I just kind of ramble on about whatever I'm thinking about that day.

Anonymous -
No, not EVERYONE agrees with you. Some people, like me, suspect Ms. Santos left the UFC in the same week that out-of-competition drug testing was announced because she was in fact still using performance enhancing drugs and insisting on a fight at a weight she could reasonably make given her height will force her to come off of the drugs which she has already once been caught using. Since we're into absolutes today, I'll say everyone agrees with me.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Rhonda's portrayal on TUF 18 I think we need to keep in mind the tactics of reality show producers and how shows are created. I can see that they are creating drama and interest for the show, UFC and for PPV event in December. Its obvious Rhonda is getting the bad edit. She is the heel. Let's be honest Tate has lost 2 of her last 3 and is the prohibitive underdog against a woman who submitted her in the first round last time and has submitted every woman she has been in the octagon with. The producers have to create interest in the show for Tate in order to keep promote the fight. Otherwise who wants to See Rhonda Rousey fight s0omeone who she defeated by arm bar in 4 minutes again??
I look at the show as a "reality based" entertainment show with a match in the last 15 minutes. In the episode that I saw the best parts of it for me was that I got to see a little insight into the fighters in the house and see the fighters who fought at the end. A big part of it for me was getting to see the Segment with DR. Demars. That is why I'm here she seemed like a very interesting person and I looked her up and found some of her writings and this blog. For me one of the realest moments of the show was seeing Rhonda talk about her mom and the look on her face as she talked about her mom, watched her mom and interacted with her mom. I don't know whether to describe it as blushing or beaming with pride. For me that was real. They may have wanted her there to show a softer side of Rhonda but I know that Rhonda's feelings were real. I like Meishsa Tate as well. She is not as fiery as Rhonda and has a different personality. There is nothing wrong with that I can watch those two without taking sides. I believe that the powers that be have an interest in people rooting for both fighters.

Unknown said...

"I guess I will write about it before I head off to the AAU National Judo championships, en route to a meeting with a charter school in Kansas City about our game, then to North Dakota to meet with more schools, give a keynote address at a conference and then head home before heading out to a software conference where I am a speaker five days later." LOL, I guess somebody wants to sound important...thanks for letting us know your schedule for the next few weeks, but I don't recall anyone asking. I believe this is about your daughter, not you lmao. Sounds like somebody can't let go of the glory days.....haha

Unknown said...

I like that line: "To be a champion, you have to be willing to let your heart be broken." Sometimes, the greatest victory in life is during a person's brokenness, because he/she proves that he/she is a fighter after all.

Mike Landers said...

Beautiful post.