Ronda Rousey w/ Maria Burns Ortiz
Regan Arts; First Edition edition
The year 2015 belongs to Ronda Rousey, the MMA fighter/actress has moved on over into the mainstream – her walk-ons in Wrestlemania 31 and Entourage were arguably scene-stealers; she still has just on a dozen professional UFC fights to her name – and, already, a book.
Look, this book isn’t great – it’s not well-written. But it’s still a rather fascinating story. Rousey isn’t just the greatest female fighter in the world she’s well on her way to being considered the greatest, most dominant fighter in the history of the sport. And whether she will ever amount to anything much as actress – well, that really doesn’t matter. She’s had screen-time already, held her own in successful movie franchises and will continue to get roles because of who she is and what she’s about. She’s hot property. And a rarity in the pop-culture world given her hook, if you like, is that she is riding entirely on talent; actual achievements, a life dedicated to the pursuit of excellence.
Rousey’s sister has ghosted the book and it’s one part self-help book – telling Ronda’s story chronologically through the gimmick of a training moral (a “Top Tip”) that reflects the shared ideal of the title. You could do this too (even though you couldn’t). This could be your fight also (though hugely unlikely). And it’s one-part movie-script-waiting-to-happen. Well, that part worked, Rousey will play herself in the movie-version of her book. And this will be the right vehicle for her, not merely because the acting won’t be a stretch. But it’s a story that can only work if we see the real person re-enacting what it took and how hard the work was and what the internal motivations might have been. A weird comparison, but it’s so similar to how Howard Stern was always going to play himself in the movie of his book; no one else could do it and the book read like a movie treatment.
Ronda Rousey is a freak – most of her wins arriving in under a minute, seemingly unbeatable. And she has an arrogance that isn’t so much charming as fairly and squarely earned. It’s interesting to watch her brand evolving.
And though this book plods in places and contains no clever prose whatsoever it does tell you about all of the hard work that has gone into making this real-life character; the passion, the heartbreak, anguish, commitment.
Her story – as the woman that made UFC President Dana White reconsider his original decision and create a women’s league, as the woman who deserves, already, to be considered the greatest – is a reminder that all anyone who is not a white, middle class male must do is merely work twice as hard. More stories like hers and that may one day change. We can only hope. For that alone her book is an important release in publishing this year. A truly inspirational tale.