UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey reveals concussion history primarily forced abrupt MMA retirement

UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey has finally addressed her exit from MMA.

Rousey, a former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, is one of the biggest stars in combat sports history. She mysteriously walked away from fighting after a Dec. 30, 2016 TKO loss to Amanda Nunes and never returned.

Although she closed out her career with two devastating knockout losses, Rousey never really addressed why she stopped fighting, nor did she even formally announce her retirement.

However, more than seven years after her last MMA fight, Rousey finally shed some light on why she left MMA.

“My concussion history that I had to keep secret for years so I would be able to continue to compete and perform, that’s basically why I had to retire” Rousey said in an Instagram Live stream ahead of the release of her new book, “Our Fight.”

At the peak of her MMA career, the Olympic judo bronze medalist was unbeaten and had defended her UFC title six consecutive times. She had also defeated some of the biggest names of her time, including Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano, Liz Carmouche, Julia Budd, and others.

However, everything changed for Rousey after her first professional defeat. Rousey, who was seen as an unstoppable force, was viciously knocked out by a Holly Holm head kick in front of 56,000 fans at UFC 193 in late 2015. She didn’t take the loss well.

Rousey never fully addressed the defeat and stayed away from the public eye for months.

“I think that there was just so much to (that loss), that I couldn’t talk about it in the form of like an interview or an article or anything like that, or there would be several filters between my words and people reading it,” Rousey said regarding why she never spoke about the loss to Holm. “So much had to do with having so many concussions when I was in judo before I even got into MMA, I couldn’t talk about it at all when I was doing MMA because it would literally put a target on my head, and I might not have been allowed to compete any further.

“Same thing with WWE. They have a complicated history with their performers getting concussions, and it would be a bad look on them. So I felt like I really couldn’t talk about it at all. So I feel like this long form (book) is the only way that I would be able to adequately address it.”

Rousey would return a year after the loss to Holm to try to win back her title against then-champ Nunes. Unfortunately for Rousey, she was quickly stopped in the first round. Rousey never fought again and eventually turned to professional wrestling, where she performed for WWE from 2018 to 2023.

Throughout her years in WWE, many fans were hopeful for an MMA return, but it never came. The 37-year-old understands some of the confusion from the fan base regarding her exit from MMA but said that she had no choice but to stay away from fighting.

“I’d like people to understand more of my reason and motivation behind things, why I was forced to leave fighting when I’ve never been faster, stronger, more skilled and had a better understanding of the art than ever before,” Rousey said. “It was a really hard decision to understand but one that my body really made for me. I feel like this is the only way to really get that across in the best, most complete way that it’s not just a tweet and a headline short.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie