Ronda Rousey's mom, Dr. Ann Maria DeMars, was the first American to medal in the World Judo Championships, in 1984. Then she earned a Masters Degree, and a PhD, and did a lot of other amazing things, including giving birth to Ronda.
After Rousey won a bronze medal in Judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, her mother expected her go to college. Ronda had other plans.
The conversation probably went like this one, from 1989's "Say Anything."
"I thought it was the dumbest idea I ever heard in my life," said DeMars on The MMA Hour. "She could have gone to USC for free, we went and checked a lot of colleges on the East Coast, she could have gotten a full ride on tuition. I thought she'd go in to the Olympics, maybe put off a college education, and then go into something like marine biology or something. She's really, really smart, and on top of that she could have picked a free education at a private university, and she could have picked where she wanted to go. And instead she says, I want to punch people in the face, and they're going to pay me for it, even though there's no real pro opportunities. I was like that's the dumbest, I'm going to go be a professional embroiderer. Yeah, right."
"I thought she'd be another one of those kids who spends forever living off their parent's dime. I see a lot of these kids who are quote unquote 'Olympic athletes' doing that ... they're not training that hard, they don't have much potential to win, and yet you see these kids who stick around to their early to mid 30s sometimes, they travel all over the world and cost all this money."
"I'm not going to support you because you have a dream. I have a dream too, I want to retire some day. You got a year, you can live here, I'll support your for a year, you can live in this house rent-free, we'll pay your car insurance, at the end of that, if you don't make it, you're going to college."
Ronda made it. And has it changed her?
"I don't think she's very different, just that more people are aware of what's going on," said DeMars. "I think it's better for her, especially in the past year, compared to the Olympics where there's a lot of talk but no one really cares."
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