“Some people watch two people fight and they see violence, but I look at it and I see a labor of love. Two people that care about something so much that they will fight each other for it. And they love each other for the challenge. It’s something I think you have to experience to understand, but you don’t have to experience it to appreciate it.”
As part of its UFC: 25 Years in Short 25-part documentary series—featuring 25 short films about the organization and its legacy within the world of mixed martial arts—UFC has released one of these short film documentaries on its YouTube channel: BREAKING BARRIERS: The Story of Ronda Rousey and the Rise of Women’s MMA.
As the documentary’s title suggests, BREAKING BARRIERS (featuring appearances from UFC stars like Miesha Tate and Cris Cyborg, among others, as well as hopeful female MMA stars of the future) tells a story not just of Ronda’s historic rise to the top of the UFC but also how her influence allowed for female fighters to become an integral and respected part of the world of combat sports. That, of course, includes how UFC founder Dana White went from infamously (and without question) saying in 2011 that women would “never” fight in the UFC to Ronda eventually becoming the highest-paid fighter on the UFC roster.
From her judo origin story to what her mother said when she told her she planned to go into MMA (spoiler alert: she wasn’t jazzed) to her legacy (specifically, what others consider her legacy vs. what she considers her legacy), BREAKING BARRIERS highlights how Ronda Rousey didn’t just change the MMA world for women: She changed athletics and sports for women altogether. Because like Ronda even says herself, “People want to see women who are badasses.”