Perhaps the news Tuesday that Ronda Rousey’s MMA career may well be over made Amanda Nunes want to offer some kind words for her defeated rival. Or maybe, with a month passed since she made short, violent work of Rousey, the UFC bantamweight champion had arrived at a place of deeper perspective.
In any event, Nunes saw fit to issue an apology to Rousey via social media. The Brazilian fighter called Rousey “an amazing athlete” and praised what the former champion had done for women’s MMA.
Let me take a moment to explain myself. I was overwhelmed with adrenaline, emotion and hurt at the time. I held so much in during the weeks prior to my fight with Ronda. I might have said or posted some things at the time that I now realize was not the right thing to do. I want to apologize to Ronda. Her fans and mine and the UFC as well. Ronda is an amazing athlete and has done so much for this sport, especially for the women. #respect 🙏🦁
Nunes clearly was feeling some regret over the image she posted to social media within an hour or so of defeating Rousey at UFC 207 in late December, a bout called after just 48 seconds as Nunes landed punch after punch to her opponent’s face. The post showed a doctored image of Rousey in a stroller, being pushed by the reigning champ.
That post followed some sharp words for Rousey offered by Nunes right after their match. “Forget Ronda Rousey,” Nunes said in her post-fight interview. “She’s going to go make movies now and retire.”
At the time, Nunes was upset because of the vastly greater promotion Rousey had received before their fight, despite the fact that she was coming off a loss to Holly Holm over a year earlier while the Brazilian had won the bantamweight crown. She also felt that the UFC had coddled Rousey by letting her have very few media sessions leading into their fight.
“I feel like UFC want to make it easy for her, so she doesn’t feel like she’s not the champion anymore,” Nunes told reporters before UFC 207 (via USA Today). “They want to do this to make her feel strong or something. They try to promote her so she can see that — ‘Ronda, Ronda, Ronda.’ . . .
“They want to make things more soft for her.”
By Tuesday, Nunes had vastly changed her tune. “I might have said or posted some things at the time that I now realize was not the right thing to do,” she wrote, offering this explanation: “I was overwhelmed with adrenaline, emotion and hurt at the time. I held so much in during the weeks prior to my fight with Ronda.”
Nunes, though, may have been prescient in one of her post-fight remarks, when she predicted that Rousey would retire. Earlier on Tuesday, UFC President Dana White had said a “conversation” he’d had with Rousey led him to conclude that her MMA career was “probably done.”
“She’s so competitive that, her career and record meant everything to her,” White said of Rousey. “And then once she lost, she started to say to herself, ‘What the [expletive] am I doing? This is my whole life. This is it? I want to experience and start doing other things.’ ”
Nunes has shown herself to be extremely competitive, as well, both in word and deed. Since her win, and following the doctored image, she used social media to revel in her rough treatment of Rousey in the Octagon.
In other UFC news, White also revealed a plan for Jon Jones, for when he comes off a year-long suspension in July, to fight the winner of April’s Daniel Cormier-Anthony Johnson battle for the light heavyweight crown at UFC 210 (via Fox Sports). Jones was banned for violating the company’s anti-doping policy, but White said he believed the former light heavyweight champ deserved an immediate chance to “try to get [his] belt back.”