Ronda Rousey Shares Her Surprising Life After Fighting — from Farming to Creative Writing (Exclusive) (2024)

More than seven years after her final fight in December 2016, MMA legend Ronda Rousey's life looks almost entirely different.

Now, Rousey, 37, is opening up about the tough loss, which came one year after her first-ever defeat at the hands of Holly Holm, and her subsequent sudden departure from the sport in her second memoir, Our Fight, released on Tuesday.

The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion tells PEOPLE there are "a lot of surprises" in the new book — as well as how she's filled her time since exiting the arena.

"I had to go basically radio silent from the media for that entire time because I couldn't be open about my concussion history and everything like that, and I wanted to be able to make my own decisions about things and not have people say that I can't fight or can't compete," says Rousey.

Despite calling her husband, retired fighter Travis Browne, her "best friend" and the "greatest man," Rousey says she felt unable to open up to anyone, including Browne, at the time.

"Even my husband was like, 'Why didn't you talk to me about this stuff before?' but I just felt like I just didn't want anyone to worry, I didn't want anyone to stop me. I just kind of buried it all down from a very young age," she says.

Rousey goes on, "And we kind of get into how that started, and my first concussion, I was probably six, from swimming, and continued to get them regularly throughout the years. Every time you get one, it's easier to get another. And now it's at a point, if I get like an open hand slap to the face, I get concussion symptoms."

Ronda Rousey Shares Her Surprising Life After Fighting — from Farming to Creative Writing (Exclusive) (1)

Ronda Rousey Reveals That Years of Concerning Concussions Led to Her Abrupt Retirement from Fighting

Rousey says she "had to step away from fighting" when she had "never been stronger or faster, or had a better grasp of the game" purely due to her neurological concerns. "I just couldn't fight at that top level anymore, and I couldn't take those impacts. You never know when you've had one hit too many until decades later, and I don't want to keep testing that," she explains.

Beyond her physical limitations, Rousey says she was in a dark place mentally when she stepped away from fighting. "The reason why I got into MMA was I just wanted to have a career doing something that I enjoy, and that was it, but it just kind of snowballed and into something bigger than myself and my own livelihood," she shares.

"And same thing when I got into pro wrestling, I was just trying to have a good time with my friends, and then it snowballed into this whole women's revolution and everything, which I'm very happy to be a part of, but I kind of got distracted from, 'Hey, I'm just here to have a good time to, I'm trying to do something great,' " the retired fighter continues.

Ronda Rousey Shares Her Surprising Life After Fighting — from Farming to Creative Writing (Exclusive) (2)

In her reflection, Rousey learned to focus her "pursuit of perfection" for a "pursuit of happiness" in her next chapter of life. "It got to a point where I was just like, who the hell are you trying to impress? And, who are you racing? There's no one. And so I just kind of got so caught up in things that I forgot the reasons," she says.

"After I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, at one point I felt like it was almost like my duty that I had to keep carrying the world, and it's too big of a task for any one person, and nobody's asking you to," says Rousey. "And so I kind of had to get out of my own way and find things that were fulfilling in themselves instead of looking for that outside validation and look for it in things I found validating."

MMA Star Ronda Rousey Grapples with the Question of 'Why We Fight' in Web Series

These days, Rousey and Browne live on their family farm in East of Los Angeles with their daughter, La'akea Makalapuaokalanipō, and Browne's two sons, Kaleo and Keawe.

"We also have our Browsey Acres up in Southern Oregon, which we have between us and our partner, a couple thousand acres. So we regeneratively raise Wagyu and pasture raised chicken," she says.

The animals at Browsey Acres are "humanely raised" and "treated with dignity" says Rousey, whose family has "thrived" eating the meat. "We're basically off grid in the city, we source our own, we catch all of our water and we have solar and we have chickens in the back, and we raise our cows in the back and we use the manure from our cows to compost together. And we have all these planter boxes that grow all of our produce," she adds.

And while they still "stumble down to the grocery store" for some things — "I'm not growing rice," quips Rousey — the family "tries to source everything ourselves as much as possible."

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She and Browne plan to stay at their farm until the boys graduate high school. Then they'll move to Hawaii to start a dojo. "Me and Trav are going to start a dojo when we move to Hawaii after our boys graduate high school, and we want to teach the local kids for free and stuff like that," she says.

Beyond agriculture and farming, Rousey has really gotten into creative writing recently. "With this book and the last book, it got me really into creative writing. I've been writing screenplays and things to keep my mind in a positive place, and if I feel myself going somewhere negative, I'll consciously turn it towards something that I'm creatively working on," she shares, adding, "It's just been a really positive force in my life."

Her passion for creative writing has grown into a more professional opportunity for the former fighter. "I'm actually a intern at the [Warner Brothers] story department right now, learning how to read and cover scripts and stuff like that, just to make me a better writer," Rousey shares, teasing that "after this book, I have my first comic book coming out, based on my very first script ever."

Ronda Rousey Shares Her Surprising Life After Fighting — from Farming to Creative Writing (Exclusive) (2024)
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