UFC champion Ronda Rousey has the Internet buzzing over a quip she made at the expense of boxer Floyd Mayweather on the red carpet of the ESPYS on Wednesday.
During a pre-awards show interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion and ABC’s Jesse Palmer, the undefeated rising star was asked about winning this year’s Best Fighter award over the welterweight champion. “I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once,” Rousey said, alluding to Mayweather’s well-documented history of domestic abuse incidents. “I’d like to see you pretend to not know who I am now,” she added. In a 2014 interview, Mayweather claimed he didn’t know who “he” was. Rousey later took home a Best Female athlete award at the ESPYS.
Earlier this year, when anticipation was building for Mayweather’s long-awaited bout with Manny Pacquaio, coverage of his history of violence against women was revived. Mayweather has pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges on several occasions, the most recent of which in 2012 landed him in prison for two months. And he is currently being sued by a former fiancee who alleges he was both verbally and physically abusive toward her.
Mayweather has been widely criticized for refusing to express any remorse publicly for his actions, which may have cost him dearly with potential endorsement deals. In a contentious CNN interview with Rachel Nichols in September 2014, Mayweather argued there were “no pictures, just hearsay” of his alleged abuse, despite his guilty plea. The boxer’s camp reportedly denied press credentials for the Pacquiao fight to Nichols and other journalists who had repeatedly raised questions about his personal life.
Meanwhile, ESPYS host Joel McHale is also generating chatter for a Rousey reference he made, this time at the expense of embattled comedian Bill Cosby. While name-checking Rousey as potentially “the most dominant athlete in all of sports” he joked that “she has knocked out more women than Bill Cosby.”
“You know what, I’m sorry, I misspoke. I meant Dr. Bill Cosby,” he continued.
Cosby has been accused by over two dozen women of either drugging and/or sexual assault. Although he has never been charged with a crime and has denied the allegations, he did admit under oath in 2005 to buying Quaaludes to seduce younger women.
Mayweather has yet to comment on Rousey’s statement and is currently contemplating when to step into the ring again.
His 48-0 record is one shy of tying late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano’s legendary undefeated record. With cumulative earnings estimated at over $400 million, Mayweather currently ranks as the highest paid athlete in the history of professional sports.