The following is a transcript of what Ronda Rousey had to say as she cites her time as an Olympian, emphasizing that sports are a common ground for people to relate on, and that the positives of bring Crown Jewel to KSA is that this could be baby steps to bigger things (transcription credit should go to Dominic DeAngelo of WrestleZone):
“Well I am 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 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.”
“And 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 especially in 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 to be able to understand each other more. It seems almost frivolous, you know? Like a WWE event and like these huge world issues but in a world where we’re always trying to look at it as “us & them” I think those big events like the Crown Jewel that bring everyone together makes us realize that it’s an “us” all around. It’s not like they’re aliens and we’re aliens over there. I think that having these events and sharing our cultures in Saudi Arabia is the first step for us to really be able understand each other and find that common ground. This is a great opportunity to have a bunch of kids in Saudi Arabia loving a part of America culture. WWE is apart of American culture that they are inviting in and embracing and you have these kids from Saudi Arabia idolizing these people from that are from America and all these different countries and then you’ll see people from Saudi Arabia going into the WWE and kids from America idolizing those people. It’s just I think a great way I think for us to be able share something and understand each other and I think that should be the goal. I think an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. I just believe that sports and sports entertainment is something that we all have in common.”
“I wouldn’t want to pull our culture away from theirs in a time that is very difficult for people to understand each other. If anything I think that the more we can share, the better.”
“I think those are just the baby steps of how you get people to start demanding those kind of things.”
“If I was lost anywhere in the world and I walk up to somebody and I said “Muhammad Ali” they’d go “Muhammad Ali!” And I would have made a friend, you know? We have that common ground. I would love for us to just find more common ground with each other. It’s a touchy subject, it really is. My sister is a journalist.”
Ronda Rousey joins JBL, Randy Orton, Kevin Nash and Hacksaw Jim Duggan as the latest to support WWE’s decision. WWE released an official statement yesterday enclosed in their Q3 financials report of their choice to go on as planned.