Division over Ronda Rousey's future as huge pay gap revealed

A battered Ronda Rousey fails to live up to her pay packet. Photo / AP
A battered Ronda Rousey fails to live up to her pay packet. Photo / AP

The UFC world is divided over whether Ronda Rousey should retire or not.

Her conqueror Amanda Nunes - who received only $288,000 for the fight compared to Rousey's $4.33m - says the American must retire.

But UFC legend Jon Jones says Rousey should fight again.

Nunes, irritated by the parochial support for Rousey and her big pay cheque, continued to round on the former world champion yesterday as the sport's biggest names debated what she should do next after her 48-second loss in her comeback fight.

"That's it for her," said Nunes who also aggressively trolled Rousey on social media after her one-sided win.

"For sure, she's going to retire. She can't take it anymore."

But some of UFC's biggest names disagreed and offered strong opinions about Rousey's future. Rousey (12-2), once the most dominant fighter in the sport, has now lost two straight bouts 13 months apart, looking unprepared and over-matched against Holly Holm and Nunes.

Jones, arguably the most feared fighter in the sport before failing a drug test last summer, took to Twitter to encourage Rousey.

"My advice to Ronda would be to pick yourself up and try again," Jones wrote.

"I think it's important for Ronda to show her fans how great she truly is by displaying her courage and giving it another try."

Rousey herself was saying little. She refused to discuss her loss with fans or reporters despite her massive multi-million dollar windfall in bonuses and pay-per-view revenue, but did issue a statement to ESPN.

"Returning to not just fighting, but winning, was my entire focus this past year," Rousey said. "However, sometimes - even when you prepare and give everything you have and want something so badly - it doesn't work how you planned. I take pride in seeing how far the women's division has come in the UFC and commend all the other women who have been part of making this possible, including Amanda.

"I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future. Thank you for believing in me and understanding."

Nunes believes the cumulative stress of Rousey's first loss, her acting career and numerous outside-the-cage responsibilities combined to "pressure her too much."

Nunes spoke directly to a bloodied Rousey in the cage after the loss. "I told her, 'You did a lot for this sport'," Nunes said. "Thank you so much. Now, take some time to rest and maybe do something else.' Why should she keep doing this? She's a millionaire already. Why would she want to keep doing this?"

Rousey's mother, AnnMaria De Mars, took to her blog to support her daughter.

"She cares deeply about winning to an extent that I don't believe the average person can wrap his/her head around," De Mars wrote. "I am very proud of my daughter."

Rousey turns 30 years old in February.

- Staff reporters, AP

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