Chael Sonnen believes Ronda Rousey made the right call to leave MMA when she did.
Rousey was certainly a polarizing figure in the sport of MMA. In a short period of time, “Rowdy” broke barriers in the UFC. Dana White, the UFC president, once said he’d never have women compete under the promotion. Once he got a glimpse of Rousey’s star potential, he quickly backtracked. Rousey is labeled as a pioneer for women’s MMA but some still can’t shake the way she handled her exit from the sport.
Sonnen Says Timing Was Key To Rousey’s Success
Sonnen appeared on ESPN’s Ariel Helwani MMA Show and admitted that Rousey was never the best fighter in his eyes. With that said, he praised “Rowdy” for her ability to walk away from the sport when she felt her time had passed.
“I do admit I never thought that Ronda was the best fighter in the world. The division was just forming and she was in the right place at the right time. And that sounds insulting but that’s the way I see it. Ariel, I think she actually deserves a compliment. When she took her ball and went home as you put it, I think that actually left a message. I think that decision looked kinda like a fine wine and got better in time in this way, when you’ve had enough in this sport get out of it. Whether that means opening up your spot on the roster or in her case, her spot in title fights and main events and giving that chance to somebody else, or just for her own sanity and physicality. If it’s not what you wanna do anymore, get out of the way. Don’t go one foot in and one foot out.”
Sonnen went on to say that Rousey’s decision to walk away should be used as an example for other fighters in similar positions to follow.
“I think Ronda’s decision, while judged and criticized at the time, I think it looks better with age. And I think that she made the right decision and helped to set a good example.”