Ronda Rousey’s training practices have been widely criticized and that sentiment was amplified after her first round destruction by Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 last month. During an appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast to promote UFC on FOX 23, #2 ranked Julianna Pena revealed some curious information regarding what went on inside Rousey’s camp.
Pena faces top ranked Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of tonight’s UFC on Fox 23 event. The winner will likely be the next challenger for UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. In speaking with hosts Matt Sera and Jim Norton to promote her fight, Pena says Holly Holm exposed Rousey could be beaten if you hit her in the face and keep moving. Not many fighters like getting hit in the face, but Pena alleges that Rousey’s sparring partners have to sign a waiver that prohibits them from hitting her in the face during training.
“I’m mostly trying to have some banter at Holly but at the same time you have got to giver her credit for being able to implement the gameplan against Ronda and that’s to keep her away at a distance and punch her in the face because she don’t like that and she’s not allowed to get hit in sparring,” said Pena.
“These girls have to sign these waivers to say that ‘We never hit Ronda, and we’ll never talk about this type of training ever and all this stuff, you know? She’s not really taking the toll in the fight camp of getting punched in the face legitimately so she doesn’t really know what that feels like.”
Julianna Pena understands that Rousey is a big star, her handlers want to protect her and don’t want her getting hurt before a fight. That said, the length to which Rousey was “protected” may have done more harm than good. Not only were her sparring partners not allowed to hit Rousey in the face, but they faced a seven figure lawsuit if they spoke about training with her.
So, it’s like whenever the girls would go hard on her, whenever they’d come forward and start banging it out on her, they’d tell them, ‘Hey. Knock it off. Stop it. Don’t hit her so hard and then sign this waiver and say that you were never here and that you never punched her. Don’t ever talk about how well you did in training and stuff like that because you have to sign this dotted line or else we’ll sue you for a million dollars.'”
You can listen to UFC Unfiltered with Julianna Pena below. She joins the show around the 33 minute mark.