Ronda Rousey Defends WWE's Decision to Move Forward with Crown Jewel

— In an interview with TMZ, Ronda Rousey spoke about WWE’s upcoming Evolution and Crown Jewel events, passionately defending the company’s decision to move forward with their plans to hold the Saudi event. She spoke of the positive benefits that the event could potentially bring as well as speaking on how sports can bring different cultures together at a pivotal time and expressed some optimism that one day women will be able to compete in the country.

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“I’m a two-time Olympian, so I’m an idealist when it comes to sport. And one of my favorite memories from the 2004 Olympics was — I was in the gym and I was on the treadmill and I was cutting weight and I was running and right next to me was a boxer from Iraq and he was running next to me. And it was the beginning of the Iraq war, and nowhere else in the world would some man from Iraq and a little girl from Venice Beach be respecting each other and sharing space.”

“I think that sports is where we really find that common ground with each other, and I think that pulling out of the Crown Jewel would be the wrong move — because I think that this is an opportunity to be able to share our cultures and define what we have in common. And in times, especially when — times of adversity between two countries, that’s the absolute wrong time to be able to pull away. I think that’s the time for us to be able to find what we have in common and be able to understand each other more.”

“I think if we have WWE become big in Saudi Arabia, and WWE is the company that is having all-women’s pay-per-views — I mean, if you have the WWE Network, you can see Evolution and you can see Crown Jewel, you know. So if you’re going to buy the all-men’s pay-per-view, you’re going to have access to the all-women’s pay-per-view. And so it’s just exposing people to all the different things that our culture has to offer.”

“And I think that those are just the baby steps of how you get people to start demanding those kinds of things. They’ll be like — yeah, the women can’t compete in Saudi Arabia right now. But if the Crown Jewel is a huge success and WWE really takes off in Saudi Arabia, they are going to be demanding to see the women soon.”