No one knows what Ronda Rousey has gone through over the past year of her life better than her sister Maria Burns-Ortiz, who has been there with her every step of the way through epic wins and crushing defeat.
This past November saw Rousey face the most tumultuous time of her MMA career after she was knocked out with a vicious head kick courtesy of Holly Holm that saw her undefeated record fall and the loss of her UFC women's bantamweight title.
In the days and weeks since the defeat, Rousey has been the victim of some extremely bitter, hateful and vitriolic comments aimed at her performance with everyone from Donald Trump to Lady Gaga chiming in with opinions about her loss. Burns-Ortiz says she doesn't pay attention to what people say about her sister, but it's virtually impossible not to find out (through third parties) what others are saying about Rousey.
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"I hear that people say insensitive, hateful, disgusting things about my sister -- and my mother -- and I don't try to make sense of it, because you can't. There's something very strange, though, when the world seems to think they know someone -- this idea that society suddenly owns a right to build someone up or tear them down because they are a public figure. To watch that happen to someone you love is enough to drive you insane -- unless you tune it out, which I do," Burns-Ortiz wrote recently in a column penned for Vice.
"Occasionally I wonder how people could say such awful things about someone they don't even know, someone they've never met. I attribute it to the fact that their mothers probably didn't love them enough, and then I briefly curse out the part of the Internet that allows people to hide behind anonymity as they let out the worst parts of themselves. Sometimes, all you can do is think, 'What the f--k is wrong with you people?' Then I move on with my life, because you can only waste so much time on other people's stupidity."
Burns-Ortiz, who co-authored Rousey's acclaimed autobiography titled 'My Fight/Your Fight', was in Australia for her sister's bout, but says that she definitely hasn't rewatched the fight and has no plans to witness the knockout a second time.
"I haven't rewatched it. I haven't read about it. I won't. I don't see a point in reliving the moment when a part of my loved one died, when I saw someone I cared about have her soul crushed," Burns-Ortiz wrote. "I saw how horrible people can be to someone they don't even know, which made me even more appreciative when I saw how wonderfully Ronda's friends and family treated her. Those are the people that matter."
She has watched her sister pick herself up off the canvas, dust herself off and get ready for a return to action in 2016 where Rousey hopes to get a measure of revenge against Holm and regain the UFC title she lost in November.
Rousey has stated that she plans to return for a rematch, most likely at UFC 200 in July 2016 but her sister has watched her come back numerous times throughout her life and this won't be the first time and likely won't be the last either.
"The world watched Ronda fall, but I have had the opportunity to watch her get back up," Burns-Ortiz said. "To be proud of her and happy for her when she wins, and to be proud of her and concerned for her when she loses. To tell her that I loved her just as much in the moments after the fight as I had in the moments before.
"To put my arm around her and try to protect her. To push aside the negativity. To help her get back up. Not just in the past few weeks but in the past 28 years."