Ronda Rousey Staying Focused on Fighting but Won't Ignore Hollywood's Calls
The last time women's mixed martial arts had a legitimate star, her name was Gina Carano, but for as much as she loved fighting, the calls from Hollywood to transition to acting rang louder than anything she was doing inside the cage.
Carano soon accepted major acting roles in several films and has since all but retired from the sport of mixed martial arts.
UFC 157 officially introduced women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey to the world in a big, big way. She was featured on the lead of websites all over the world, and even on Monday, two days after her victory over Liz Carmouche on Saturday night, television shows were still buzzing about the historic night at UFC 157.
So it didn't take long for Rousey's name to start popping up in other entertainment avenues, such as a rumored role in the upcoming Hunger Games sequel.
Rousey's manager, Darin Harvey, was unable to comment on her potential to star in the Hunger Games sequel, but he says that as opportunities arise, it would be crazy to ignore the possibilities.
"If a film opportunity comes along, we're not going to say no if it's the right opportunity. Every big producer in Hollywood has taken interest in Ronda," Harvey told Bleacher Report on Tuesday.
"Common sense will tell you you're looking at a young, beautiful girl that's headlining main events, that people are interested. Ronda has star power. Anyone in the film business can look at this and tell it's a great opportunity not only for Ronda, but it's a great opportunity for themselves."
Rousey has recently signed on with the William Morris Endeavor, a top-flight talent agency headed up by friend to the UFC Ari Emanuel. As excited as Rousey and her manager are with potential Hollywood roles, he assures everyone in the mixed martial arts world that her main goal and focus remains on being a UFC champion.
"Our primary goal is to focus on fighting, that's what's got her here," said Harvey. "She's a fighter, she has a lot to prove, so she's going to be fighting. There's been a lot of interest in Ronda, but her primary goal is training and fighting."
Needless to say, when the rumors about Ronda Rousey receiving some sort of offer to star in the Hunger Games sequel starting circulating, UFC president Dana White was lukewarm at best to the idea of loaning out one of his stars to Hollywood.
It's happened before with fighters like Randy Couture and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, but he believes Rousey's fight career will be far more lucrative than anything she can do in Hollywood.
“You know how I feel about the movie stuff," White said when speaking to UFC Tonight on Tuesday. "When Rampage did the movie, it was his dream to be a part of the A-Team. I don’t want to take away any opportunities from Ronda, but at the same time, her window of opportunity as a professional athlete is really narrow. She could make a zillion movies when she retires. Where she’s really going to get the money is here fighting. I don’t care if she’s the lead role in The Hunger Games 2, she would not make anywhere near—I mean, not even in the universe—to the money she makes fighting.”
It's likely if Rousey did receive an offer to star in the Hunger Games sequel, it would not be a major role considering the franchise has filmed two movies with one already released and the second in post-production with a November date to land in theaters and all of the leads having already been cast.
Still, it's hard to ignore the fact that if Rousey receives a generous offer to star in that film (or any other), she could find herself in front of the cameras acting instead of in the cage fighting. It doesn't mean, however, she will be traveling the same path as Gina Carano, because Rousey's true passion remains being the UFC women's bantamweight champion.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.