In Ronda Rousey’s memoir “My Fight/Your Fight” she details how she became a UFC champ and Hollywood star. The 28-year-old writes honestly of her father’s suicide when she was just 8. He broke his back in a freak sledding accident and a blood disorder prevented him from healing properly. After learning he would become a paraplegic he killed himself. She declined to discuss it further with us, but the star did speak with FOX411 about her incredible determination and her rise to fame.
FOX411: What happened at your birth?
Ronda Rousey: I was born with the cord around my neck and suffered from hypoxia, which is deprivation of oxygen at birth, and so whatever brain damage it gave me, it delayed my speech development. I was a newborn baby and didn’t have neurological pathways. If I got the same type of injury now, I’d probably never be able to speak again but since I was a kid I was still developing them and overcoming it at a later time. I didn’t really speak words until I was 4 and didn’t speak full sentences till 6.
FOX411: Do you believe that made you stronger?
Rousey: I believe going through the worst things possible makes everything less than that seem much less intimidating, and maybe that’s why I’m able to take such big risks and be in high-pressure situations because I’ve already been through the worst and survived.
FOX411: You won bronze in judo at the Athens Olympics.
Rousey: Yeah, you don’t really think about life after the Olympics. I walked away from the Olympics with no education, no work experience and barely any money in my pocket to get me through the year.
I ended up picking up a bunch of jobs bartending and spent a year or so soul searching and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life because I never thought of anything other than Olympic gold my whole life and walked away disappointed.
FOX411: How did you come back from that?
Rousey: It was a process. I thought that all of the things I missed out on while training would make me happy so I tried being normal and partying and just not thinking about anything, and that didn’t make me happy, and that really forced me to go out and seek a brand new goal to pursue because that’s what I need. Without direction I’m lost.
FOX411: The UFC was a long road too.
Rousey: Yeah it didn’t pay off for a long time. I had to work a couple of jobs. I had to pick them out of convenience to fit into my training schedule rather than money so I wasn’t able to go back to bartending and make money doing. I had to train in the evenings so I picked up some minimum wage jobs and did whatever I could to pay the bills and train full-time.
FOX411: What’s your signature move?
Rousey: I’m mostly known for my arm bar. In judo it’s called juji-gatame. My mom taught it to me when I was 12 years old.
FOX411: You can break someone’s arm
Rousey: If there’s a need.
FOX411: Is that a great feeling?
Rousey: It makes things less intimidating. Like when I was going to shoot “Expendables,” and “Fast and Furious” and “Entourage,” these are all really big movie franchises, and I was completely out of my element and super nervous and scared to embarrass myself, but at the same time if you know you can kick the crap out of everybody in the room you feel a little bit less scared.
FOX411: Ever scared when you step in the ring?
Rousey: No. Well, I guess you could say I’m scared but not afraid. I think there is a difference between the two. I use that fear to my advantage.
FOX411: Your mom made you run when you had a broken toe. Were you mad at her?
Rousey: Of course, I thought I was Rapunzel in the castle when she did that, but only now that I’m older can I truly appreciate the importance of the lesson that she taught me that day, which is even if you’re hurt you can overcome it and fight. She said to me that day, “What happens if you break your toe the day of the Olympics? What will you do then? Will you ask for a pillow or are you going to go through it?” Even on a big day things may not go perfectly but you have to push through [regardless].
[My] whole book is pretty much the most important lessons, most of which have come from her. The most important probably is nobody has the right to beat you.
FOX411: You have lousy choice in men.
FOX411: Men must be intimidated by you.
Rousey: I don’t know. I can’t be good at everything.
FOX411: Does it bum you out?
Rousey: I think it actually makes me search for solace in my career more. I focus on training and bettering myself in other areas. Fighting has really become my sanctuary.
FOX411: You and your sisters were pretty tough with each other.
Rousey: They are the only chicks who have ever beaten me in a fight, for real (laughs). We used to fight every single day. I went from being beat up to having so much power and all these arm bar secrets. I could never possibly use that on my sisters, so it went from being beaten up to the point where I was too good.
FOX411: Does it amaze you that you’ve achieved mainstream success?
Rousey: It is pretty amazing because I know I’m a polarizing personality. I had this perception that being mainstream you had to be Miss America or an Olympian and MMA was turning away from the mainstream, not doing what I was expected to do. My mom wanted me to go to college and be a normal responsible adult.