“I’m Glad To Be A Latina … Even Though I Don’t Look Like It”: UFC Highlights Ronda Rousey During Hispanic Heritage Month, But Isn’t She Black?

Image Credit: Twitter @WWE screen shot

Ronda Rousey has not fought inside of the Octagon for the UFC in over five years. However, the organization still claims her when convenient. Currently, during Hispanic Heritage Month, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization is honoring the month by highlighting its Hispanic fighters, former and current. However, fans were left scratching their heads when Rousey was added to a video promo that featured the UFC’s Hispanic talent.

Rousey was an Olympic-level judo star who transitioned her skills to MMA and became a multiple-time world champion in Strikeforce and the UFC. She is credited with opening the door for women to compete in the organization. Since leaving the organization after a 48-second TKO loss to Amanda Nunes for the UFC Bantamweight championship at UFC 207, Rousey has become a star in the WWE.

Rousey never outwardly claimed her Hispanic heritage during her fighting days, but apparently, she is part Venezuelan via her grandfather and considers herself Latina.

“I’m half Venezuelan; I’m just as Venezuelan as Maria (Burns Ortiz; Rousey’s sister) is,” Rousey said to Fox Sports Latino a few years ago. “It’s kind of weird that in America, you are what you look like almost because that’s how people treat you, and when I was younger and we went to Catholic school that was like 99.9 percent Latino I was really outcast there.

“I had so much trouble learning to speak English that I never learned to how to speak Spanish. I didn’t learn to speak coherently in English until I was around 6 years old. So I didn’t look it, I didn’t speak it and I was kind of ostracized from that community a little bit. I think it’s so cool that now people are starting to recognize that, yes this is my heritage, this is where our family comes from. I’m glad to be getting a lot more acceptance as really being a Latina even though I don’t look like it.”

Hispanic people come in all hues from dark-skinned Afro-Latinos with curly hair to fair-skinned Latinos with red hair like Saul Alvarez, aptly nicknamed “Canelo” or “Cinamon” for his unique traits.

The UFC’s decison to highlight Rousey felt convenient for their Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, and they have been known to make some suspect decisions regarding honoring other cultures in the past.

During a Black History Month celebration, the UFC highlighted Michael Chandler for adopting a Black child. Chandler is a white man. It was deemed as a promotion of white saviorship during a month that was created by Carter G. Woodson to promote and celebrate Black achievements and the UFC’s tone-deafness was too apparent based on the decision.

Ronda Rousey’s Mom Says They’re Black And ProudĀ 

In the past, Rousey’s family has also claimed to have heritage rooted in the African diaspora. Rousey’s mother, AnnMaria De Mars let the world know back in 2016 that Ronda’s great-grandfather was a famous Black physician, Dr. Alfred Waddell. He was a Trinidadian physician and one of the first black doctors in North America. De Mars’ maiden name is Waddell.

Between her husband, UFC heavyweigt Travis “Hapa” Browne who is a Pacific Islander with a partial Asian heritage and Rousey’s multi-layered heritage, there is a part of Ronda Rousey’s lineage for everyone to relate to. Just watch out for her most famous feature, the arm bar.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. RhettĀ hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.