We’ve seen this before. Professional athletes become stars that are bigger than their sport can handle so other aspects of the entertainment world begin to demand their time. Yet, in mixed martial arts this occurrence has slowly started to begin. Stars such as Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson have been featured in movies. Georges St. Pierre is up for the next Captain America as well. Another name can now be added to that short list of movie fame.
Announced on Wednesday, UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has been cast in the Expendables 3; the third old school action movie by Sylvester Stallone. For those that do not know the Expendables is a tongue-in-cheek throwback to the old style of action movies with big choreographed fight scenes and even bigger explosions.
Rousey has been looking to establish her brand on the big screen. She was recently linked with the major talent representation firm William Morris Endeavor and was reportedly offered a role in the sequel to the highly popular Hunger Games.
Undoubtedly the face of women’s mixed martial arts and one of the biggest stars the UFC has to offer; Rousey has the potential to be the crossover attraction that the sport has needed since it’s inception. However, we’ve seen in the past that moving into movies hasn’t had the greatest affect on an individual’s career. Couture was nearing the end of his run when he started to appear in movies like the Scorpion King and Jackson looked to be marred in ring rust when he returned from filming the A-Team.
It will be interesting to see if Rousey goes the same way as Gina Carano and steps away from the sport permanently. While her love for fighting is very high, the allure of truly becoming a megastar and making the large paydays can be more enticing. Looking back, Rousey was always upset how she was never fairly compensated when an Olympic athlete and if the entertainment world is willing to pay her more than the combat sports world, do not be surprised if she left earlier than even expected.
At 26 years of age and two years into her professional career, Ronda Rousey has become more important than professional fighters who have been champions for longer than that. With this announcement of her first movie role she will be able to cash in on that star power and perhaps open the door to more opportunities down the line. Still, there is a chance that these “doors” opening will pull her away from the Octagon cage door longer than fans would like to see.