My Fight / Your Fight is the story of Ronda Rousey, the first woman to become a Mixed Martial Arts superstar. A champ so dominant that the UFC created a woman’s division just to bring her in. A woman who changed the way that woman are perceived in sports. A role model who often doesn’t act like one.
For a long time Ronda was so good that people thought she was unbeatable. This book came out at the height of her fame, as she neared the end of her ten fight win streak. Now, over a year and two losses later My Fight/Your Fight is still a fascinating insight into the mind of a woman who changed a sport.
Ronda’s childhood was tough. She nearly died at birth, had difficulties learning to speak and her father took his own life when she was eight. The family moved around too but that did lead to Ronda’s Mum reconnecting with her judo coach.
AnnMaria DeMars was an Olympian in the judo, the first American to win a World Championship and a fierce competitor. When the family moved to LA, Ronda started training and was addicted from the start.
I knew nothing of Ronda’s judo career, so this section was fascinating. Judo is a tough sport and the USA is not a powerful judo nation. For Ronda to do so well speaks to her inner drive and competitive streak.
There’s plenty of insight into Ronda’s life. She had some terrible boyfriends and made some stupid decisions along the way. Her Mum is a strong influence and comes across as a formidable woman.
It’s interesting to read about what she thinks about her opponents. The level of hostility aimed at her rival Mischa Tate seems out of proportion. Ronda beat her twice in the octagon but it feels as though she still wants to prove something against her.
Using Ronda’s sister, Maria Burns Ortiz as the co-author was an inspired choice. The book is in her voice, it’s consistent and cohesive and the writer has an obvious familiarity and love for Ronda. It never feels like an outsider writing about Ronda.
And that’s important, Ronda, her family and her team are tribal. If you aren’t with them then you’re against them. And if you’re against them you’re in trouble.
Ronda is powerful role model. Womens sports don’t get wide coverage and as such there aren’t enough strong women for little girls (and boys) to emulate. People will say that she’s in a brutal sport, but that’s just the surface. The more you watch the more you realise it’s the skill that stands out. I struggled with women’s MMA at the start, Ronda convinced me. Her skill shone from the screen, her armbar is a thing of beauty.
It’s easy to be against Ronda now. She’s lost twice in dominant fashion. It looks like she may never fight again. But she was a force, a phenomenon. She entered a male dominated sport and made it bigger than ever. I see her as an excellent role model, a tough, feisty woman who excelled in what she put her mind too.
If you’re a Ronda Rousey fan then My Fight/Your Fight is well worth a read.