Who are you at the core?

“Honestly, my thought, I was in the medical room and I was down in the corner, and I was like, ‘What am I anymore if I’m not this?'” Rousey said. “I was literally sitting there and thinking about killing myself, and that exact second I’m like, ‘I’m nothing. What do I do anymore?’ and ‘No one gives an (expletive) about me anymore without this.’”

Ronda shared this story on the Ellen Show on February 15, 2016. UFC Fighter Ronda Rousey lost her first fight on November 15, 2015, against Holly Holm. We haven’t heard much from Rousey in that 4-month stretch.

My initial thoughts about this story were; I get it! Your whole life is all about fighting and winning and for a loss that could not have looked worse on national television, how can you blame the fighter for saying what she did. Practicing for hours and hours every day, the amount of effort and concentration put into every punch, it becomes your life and the only thing that really matters to you. When the whole world is expecting you to perform a certain way and you fail them and more importantly yourself, you feel a lack of purpose. Why should I live to see another day? You begin to feel like nothing as Rousey said. 

But I’d like to challenge this thought process. I want to share with you why this is such a big deal to Rousey and why she would consider such a disturbing idea. While all the above is true and most of us don’t go through this type of devastation on a daily basis, we have similar occurrences in our lives we can all learn from. Be it losing our job, losing a loved one, obtaining a medical condition or for all the athletes out there, yes the word no one likes hearing; losing.

When I went through my Mental Sports Coach Training they taught us an idea called “Who are you?” What that means is, who are you as a person? Not what are you acting as. Some of us are performing as Artists, Actors or Athletes. Some of us are acting as Engineers or Lawyers. But that’s not WHO you are, it’s WHAT you do as a profession. That shouldn’t define who you are; your life isn’t decided by what happens in the office or the court. When LeBron James first entered the NBA a reporter asked him “So they say you’re the next Michael Jordan” “I am LeBron James and I will not be anyone else,” His answer illustrates very much what I’m trying to bring out here. I am myself and nothing I do will define who I become as a human being. If all I am is a UFC Fighter then yes a fight will define who you are and become. Which is why Rousey felt like her life purpose was being threatened and felt worthless.

Life is all about perspective if you lose a court case and say “I’m not a good Lawyer because I lost a case” that is a false statement, you just didn’t try hard enough or someone did better homework than you. One case doesn’t decide your future. Ronda is still a great fighter and this is an opportunity for her say “I’m still one of the greatest and that one loss won’t decide how I will fight in the future, Because I am a fighter as a human being and I get up every day to fight for whatever personal reason that may be. What defines me is how I fight and WHO I am inside not the artificial exterior that others see"

After Rousey’s loss Kobe Bryant spoke out and said, “A true champion is not how you win, it’s how you come back.” If you never lose you can’t appreciate winning the same way someone who lost does. A player that took a loss understands what it takes to be able to get back up and win over the opponent and most importantly win over their failures and self-doubts.

So for you reading this, remember WHAT you do isn’t who you are, it's WHY you do it. Ask yourself why am I doing this today? Why do I fight every day? Who am I regardless of the outcome? With this attitude, nothing will faze you! Not even losing a UFC fight to Holly Holm.


Mendy Dubov is the lead performance coach at Yellow Mentality. You can reach him via email: Mendy@yellowmentality.com