The Public Shaming Of Ronda Rousey Is Exactly Why People Don’t Talk About Suicide

We all know the story of Ronda Rousey losing her fight to Holly Holm. It was the defeat no one expected, least of all Ronda.

But it happened. Defeats happen. They happen to everyone. So, when they happen we should move on and not them destroy us, right?

That’s not how emotions work, at all.

Ronda appeared on Ellen and admitted that the time immediately following her defeat was the darkest in her life. She contemplated suicide.

She said:

“Honestly, my thought, I was like, in the medical room and I was like down in the corner, I was in the corner and I was like, ‘what am I any more if I’m not this?’”

She was visibly emotional when she said it. It was clear she was being honest. She wasn’t asking for sympathy. She told the world how defeat made her feel.

Much of the world is shaming her for it.



These are only two of the dozens that I saw on Twitter today. There are probably hundreds out there, not to mention Facebook and article comments.

It’s as if none of these people know what it’s like to want something so much that when you fail, it breaks you.

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source: Ellen Degeneres/YouTube

Is that pride? Sure. Is it completely human and understandable? Yes.

What Ronda did was admit that she puts her entire self into what she does. There’s no shame in that. It’s not healthy, but it’s not shameful.

We should all understand that our identities are made up of multiple things. We can survive when one of those facets falls. We may even know that, logically, but emotions, especially immediately after a horrible loss, are hardly rational.

And Ronda did recognize that her life is more than fighting. Her suicidal thoughts were fleeting. Yet, the internet is damning her for those few moments of darkness.

I question the authenticity of anyone who thinks they could fail, publically, at something everyone expected them to succeed at – something which they felt was one of the most important things in their lives.

Ronda’s feelings also highlight one of our society’s greatest virus – the pressure to be perfect.

We want everyone to be perfect. We expect it from them, especially the people we admire. If they aren’t perfect and if they don’t respond to things how we want them to respond, then there is something wrong with them. Our heroes can’t be human.

Embed from Getty Images

We pile all of that pressure on people so that they feel like they are letting everyone down when they fall, even people they don’t know. When that pressure finally eats them alive, we still expect them to be flawless. We don’t want to hear about it. We don’t want to hear about how pressure made them suicidal.

It is as if many of us love nothing better than to shame people. We relish it and look for every opportunity to do so. Whether we realize it or not, many of us wake up wondering “Who can I judge today? Who can I tear down so that I can feel better about myself? What stranger can I say I’m better than?”

Many people are saying that Ronda’s tying her identity to the wrong things. By claiming that they would react differently, they’re tying their identity to her.

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Ellen Degeneres/YouTube

No one needs to do that. No one needs to play the “well, I would have done/felt/acted this way.” What good does that do? Does that help anything other than your own ego?

I’ll tell you what it does do. It keeps people from talking about depression. It fosters the idea that people who are suicidal are selfish, when in reality, they think that they are worthless. All these conversations do is make depression more shameful in the public eye. That’s a problem.

It’s not that Ronda’s confession isn’t up for public discussion. It is. She put it out there. But the conversation should not be about shame. The conversation needs to be about the effects that pressure has on people, not just celebrities. We should be talking about how so many of us tie our identities to certain things because of that pressure. We need to talk about the mental and emotional effect that has on people. We need to talk about how to fix it.

We need to have a proactive conversation, not one that shames people.



  1. Hmmm… It’s not just ‘a sport’ for top athletes. It’s not even a career – it’s a huge part of who they are, especially young people who have been focusing on it for hours a day, haven’t ‘settled’ yet, haven’t started a family… Everything goes into the sport, and if that then breaks, it can be quite devastating. Same with artists: wanting to draw and paint since kindergarten, do nothing else in their free time, choose their schooling based on this, and then… nothing. The world is not waiting for the young artist. That does take a 180 degrees self-evaluation, and that’s not easy. And so on, and so on.

  2. It was pretty gross how quick the Internet was to turn on Rousey.

  3. Wow, I can totally relate to this. I burned out hard after 10+ years on a project I loved, and couldn’t work anymore, and for awhile I couldn’t see any reason I should still be alive.

  4. If Rousey had made an attempt, it would have been an egotistical suicide attempt, very similar to mine. It seems to me that her suicidal ideation stemmed from a sudden, unexpected and irrefutable challenge to her self-conception as a UFC champion. Her seemingly fleeting thoughts of ending her own life arose out of an attachment to seeing herself (and being seen by others) as a UFC champion, and a temporary unwillingness to see herself as anything else. The thought of not seeing herself and not being seen as a UFC champion seemed, fortunately temporarily, unbearable to her.

    When I was 27 years old, a challenging work assignment in a particular business area where I had no prior experience, presented an almost unbearable challenge to my own self-identity. The experience that I went through so challenged my positive self image as someone able to tackle any obstacle put in front of me that I became unsure of absolutely everything. Up until the time that I began to have suicidal ideations, I had never doubted my mental faculties, but the psychological crisis I became embroiled in shattered my sense of self and stripped away any prior sense of self-esteem and self confidence, and replaced those attributes with self doubt and eventually self loathing. Hope and excitement for what lay ahead of me in the future were replaced with fear, even dread of what people would think of me if they learned about my psychological and emotional collapse.

    My suicide attempt was an egotistical one based on feeling ashamed for not living up to my own potential as I saw it, and I think Ronda Rousey’s would have been too, if she had made an attempt. I’m happy that she did not, and I am grateful that it occurred to her to share about her suicidal ideations publicly.

    Einstein, like many other scientists believed that free will was an illusion, and a product of a belief in another illusion: the “self” or the story we’re continually telling ourselves and others about who and what we are. I believe recognizing the “self” and free will for the illusions that they are, presents a radical yet promising pathway to reduce the suicide rate.

    Francesco Bellafante
    frank talk about suicide | leveraging the free will skepticism & other genius ideas of Einstein to cause the beginning of the end of suicide

  5. Reblogged this on Fit4Fine and commented:
    This is exactly what I just posted about. In our minds, perfection is all on different levels. In Rhonda’s case, it’s her whole livelihood as a fighter, so naturally, she’s upset. Never judge someone for their thought or feeling process. You don’t know what that person has been through. Good for her for standing up and exposing her feelings in the matter. I still find her to be an inspiration! XOXO Abs

  6. This is a good and valuable read. I will share it.

    One point: “It’s as if none of these people know what it’s like to want something so much that when you fail, it breaks you.”

    They don’t. That’s why they hate people who do and celebrate when they fail. Feel for their children.

  7. I liked her before the fight and I still support her now. Hey Rhonda, do you girl..haters gonna hate, you’re human and we all go thru awakenings in our lives, they make us stronger. Proud of you.

  8. I’m sorry she felt suicidal but she received rotten comments because she is a rotten person and no amount of back pedaling will change that. Feeling suicidal is extremely common unfortunately. Acting on it ; not so much. I do not feel sorry for her after her previous actions.

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