Zero to $100K, Real Quick: The Rise of Rousey

Ronda Rousey Makes $100K per second in UFC fight

Ronda Rousey landed a punch square to Floyd Mayweather’s proverbial jaw. After famously trading barbs with the boxer, and taking a shot at his history of domestic violence, Rousey finally hit Money May where it hurts — she claimed to make more in-fight money per second:

“I don’t know if you saw the Floyd thing; he said ‘You make $300 million a night, then you can give me a call.’ I actually did the math and given the numbers of my last fight, I’m actually the highest paid UFC fighter and I’m a woman. And I think I actually make two to three times more than he does per second. So when he learns to read and write, he can text me.”

Sure enough, Rousey’s rhetoric rang true. Forbes’ Chris Smith broke down the math to explain that with $3 million in UFC fight pay, Rousey earns $100,000 per second, while Mayweather makes just under $66,000 per second in the ring.

As the numbers show, Rousey doesn’t mess around in the ring. As Floyd dominates opponents by avoiding blows and picking his shots over twelve grueling rounds, Rousey tends to finish her matches with a fury of arm bars and knockouts. This utter domination, paired with her brash confidence, have helped Rousey to not only become the UFC’s biggest earner in the ring, but one of the most marketable athletes — male or female — in all of sports.

Marketers Are Rowdy for Rousey

Ronda Rousey endorsement marketing earnings infographic

Endorsement Success

It’s no secret that Ronda Rousey is one of 2015’s biggest players in the athlete endorsement and sponsorship industry. Earning over half of her $6.5 million income from endorsement deals, she has proven to be a marketing powerhouse with a broad, diverse audience.

Rousey’s no-holds-barred persona and place as the UFC’s biggest star are helping her to flip the script for endorsement deals. Traditionally testosterone-driven advertisers like Budweiser and Monster Energy have enlisted her promotional services. Carl’s Jr., last known for promiscuous ads featuring minimally clothed women, has swapped models for Rousey’s power.

As Rousey’s reputation builds, so does her endorsement success. With what’s likely to be another dominant bout this Saturday, the legend will only grow.

Entertaining in — and out of — the ring

Rousey’s media empire doesn’t stop at arm bars and endorsement deals. She has also debuted on the big screen with roles in Furious 7, Entourage movie, and Expendables 3, and has a starring role in the upcoming reboot of Road House.

The fighter “has become a mainstream celebrity, one arm twist and punch at a time,” according to Alan Snell of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Speaking Socially

Despite her marketing success, Rousey appears equally intent on solving a societal issues, namely women’s empowerment and body-image issues. The fighter recently tackled the subject in a recent New York Times feature:

“If I can represent that body type of women that isn’t represented so much in media, then I’d be happy to do that. When women say that going on publications directed at men is somehow demeaning, I don’t think that’s true. I think that’s one really effective way to change the societal standard women are held to.”

As the most dominant fighter alive, Rousey naturally has a strong, powerful body. Ridiculously, she has come under scrutiny for appearing too “huge” and “masculine.” Rousey, of course, turned the ignorance of others into another opportunity, definitively shutting down her detractors.

The powerful statement quickly picked up steam on social media, inspiring an apparel line for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, which she supports. Rousey’s willingness to speak out has done wonders for her person brand. More importantly, her pride is providing millions of women with a role model that encourages them to strive for more than what society expects.

What’s Next? Whatever the Hell She Wants.

Saturday’s bout against Holly Holm will mark Rousey’s third and final fight of 2015. Following the fight, Rousey recently told Rolling Stone that, “there’s nothing I would like to do more than disappear for a while.”

The Bantamweight champ appears set on taking some time off from fighting, to instead focus on upcoming movies and projects. I certainly won’t be the one to tell her no.



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