November 22, 1986 Bruce Handelman’s House – Las Vegas The...
Iron Mike and Rousey connect UFC champs’ camp
By Brian Martin, LA Daily News
GLENDALE— Ronda Rousey went through her workout Wednesday at Glendale Fighting Club with a small media gathering and one notable entourage.
Former boxing heavyweight champion Mike Tyson joined UFC executives Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta to watch the UFC women’s bantamweight champion train for her Aug. 1 fight against Bethe Correia at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro.
“It’s very humbling and I was just honored that he would go though the trouble or go out of his way to watch me train,” Rousey said.
Knowing Rousey is a big Tyson fan, White said it made sense to bring the man once known as boxing’s most ferocious puncher to see MMA’s most prolific finisher.
After all, he said, they are so comparable in the ring.
“Mean, nasty, loves to finish people, you know,” White said. “They definitely have the same style.”
Rousey (11-0) went through her stretching routine before jumping in the ring with judo coach Justin Flores.
It was during this session that the trio walked in, fresh off a flight from Las Vegas.
Tyson winced and smiled as Rousey threw Flores and grappled with him on the mat.
“I saw the suplexes, when I saw she got the trainer in a couple of suplexes, and I just realized if it happened to me I could just feel my bones travel from one side,” Tyson said. “It just wouldn’t work now.”
Once Rousey put on the boxing gloves for some mitt work with trainer Edmond Tarverdyan, Tyson was perched on a bench for a front-row seat.
Elbows on his thighs, Tyson leaned forward, studying and appreciating. Rousey went through her repetitions, popping, ducking and pounding away at the pads.
Tyson wore a grin on his face for much of it. During a break, Tarverdyan looked out to Tyson and asked, “How does the boxing look, Mike?”
“It doesn’t look fun no more,” Tyson replied to much laughter.
“It’s fun for me!” Rousey said.
As Rousey went through some exercises on the mat, Tyson spoke in glowing terms about the former Olympic judo bronze medalist.
“I think she’s great and so awesome. This is new for world entertainment. This is good stuff. This is cutting-edge stuff, man,” Tyson said. “It’s hard to stay cutting edge when you’re talking about a human being, but this is really cutting-edge stuff.”
Tarverdyan, who said Tyson had a huge following in his native country of Armenia, was honored to have one of his boxing idols in his gym.
The two had a private conversation, trading strategy and insights as Tyson offered pointers.
“He’s the man. He’s the best in the world, his style of fighting, goes for the finish every second of the round,” Tarverdyan said. “And he has proved himself as the most dominant fighter in boxing and Ronda’s doing the same thing, so it’s an honor to have him watch a female champion that is very similar to him.”
Rousey had little time to talk as she was off to get ready for the ESPYs at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live, where she was nominated for Best Female Athlete and Best Fighter.
But before leaving the gym while wearing a Roots of Fight Mike Tyson shirt, she said working out in front of Tyson was a surreal experience that won’t resonate until after UFC 190.
“I’m really glad Mike was able to come, but I really don’t think it’s till I beat Bethe and go home and go back to the hotel and look at myself in the mirror for the first time, like (Tyson) was saying, that moment after it all, it hits you,” Rousey said. “And he knows better than anyone what that moment is like. And I think that’s the time it’s really gonna hit me.”