LeBron James offers support, as Ronda Rousey considers future in UFC

Amanda Nunes celebrates her win over Ronda Rousey at UFC 207. Photo/AP Photo
Amanda Nunes celebrates her win over Ronda Rousey at UFC 207. Photo/AP Photo

Sporting superstars, including NBA basketball champion LeBron James, have rallied to support ultimate fighter Ronda Rousey, after her unsuccessful comeback at UFC 207.

Rousey, one of the biggest names in combat sport, was dispatched in just 48 seconds by reigning bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, leaving her future very much up for question.

But Cleveland Cavaliers star James has been quick to express his support for her.

"In sports, in general, they build you up as high as they can, put you on the highest mountain in the world, just to tear you down," James told the Akron Beacon Journal. "That's coming from somebody who has experienced it.

"That's a fact. I know exactly how she feels, because I was that athlete. I went through that."

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James shoots against the Golden State Warriors during the NBA Finals. Photo/AP Photos
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James shoots against the Golden State Warriors during the NBA Finals. Photo/AP Photos

James certainly knows the pressure of public expectation and was widely criticised, when he left the Cavaliers to join Miami Heat, before returning to help his home team to the NBA last year.

LA Lakers basketball legend Kobe Bryant also defended Rousey.

"Instead of clapping for @RondaRousey defeat give her a standing O for putting the sport on the map #pioneer #muse," he tweeted.

UFC star Jon Jones, currently serving a one-year doping suspension, also spoke out for Rousey.

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

"What she does next will truly determine her legacy. I really hope she chooses to be unbroken.

"Her story doesn't have to be over here. I also still believe she beats 90% of the division.

"Lots of ass-kicking still to be done, lots of money to be made."


Meanwhile, Rousey has thanked her supporters in a statement through ESPN, confirming that she would take stock, before deciding her future.

"I want to say thank you to all of my fans who have been there for me in, not only the greatest moments, but in the most difficult ones," Rousey said in a statement to ESPN. "Words cannot convey how much your love and support means to me.

"Returning to, not just fighting, but winning, was my entire focus this past year. 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."

- NZ Herald

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