Undefeated MMA fighter and Strikeforce women’s champion Ronda Rousey is never one to not speak her mind. The two-time Olympian and bronze medal winner in judo, recently talked with Elie Seckbach about her experiences in Beijing and hanging out with her fellow American Olympic teammates -- with the exception of Michael Phelps. Rousey doesn’t seem to be a fan of the Baltimore native.
Rousey was asked if there was an Olympian that wasn’t nice, but their image is that of a nice person. Rousey said without hesitation, “Michael Phelps kind of annoyed me.”
She tells a story about the American team mingling together at a club in Beijing, including NBA players. The only Olympian that didn’t associate with the team was Phelps. Rousey said, “Michael Phelps needed his own private section of the club to be like private for him. All of these NBA players are a bigger deal than this guy, and they are hanging out with the rest of us.”
Rousey felt snubbed by Phelps. “We’re your teammates. We’re not a bunch of groupies. Come hang out with us,” she said.
She said the same thing happened on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” when the USA Olympic team medal winners were guest on the show. “Kobe [Bryant] was seating next to me talking and everyone is super cool, but Michael Phelps had to be kept separate in the back stage area so that he wouldn’t be harassed by the other Olympians,” Rousey said.
You could still hear the frustration in her voice four years later. Rousey said, “I don’t like being somebody’s teammate and being treated like I’m a groupie. I didn’t even want to go out of my way to say hello to that guy. Get over yourself. All you do is swim. If someone slapped you every time you jumped in the pool, I might have a little respect, but I was a swimmer [a junior Olympian] before I did this stuff.”
Rousey can be seen on the latest cover of ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue.”