Ronda Rousey Reveals Battle With Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

By May Wilkerson 05/12/15

The undefeated UFC champion opened up about her struggles in a new memoir.

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey is a fighter in every sense. In her new book, My Fight/Your Fight, released today, the undefeated MMA champ and Olympic medal winner reveals that she went through a dark period battling depression, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse in her late teens and early 20s.

After dropping out of high school to train, Rousey, 28, placed 9th in the 2004 Olympics and went on to win the bronze medal in 2008. But throughout, she struggled under the pressure to maintain her weight class and began binging, purging, and starving herself. “I used to associate feeling full with guilt,” she writes. “Because there was no advice or help if you didn’t make weight—they just yelled at you.”

At the same time, she was coping with stress, and emotional and family issues stemming from her father’s suicide when she was eight.

After winning the 2008 Olympics, she says she took a year off “to party” and ended up heavily using Vicodin, pot and alcohol, often starting her day with a “cigarette and vodka espresso.” After burning through the earnings from her win, she ended up bartending to support her lifestyle.

"The way I got here wasn't perfect," she writes. "It was messy, and there was a lot of shit along the way."

Rousey says it was MMA fighting that pulled her out of a dark place. After her first fight, “I felt a level of joy that I had never experienced before,” she writes.

She went on to become the center of the UFC’s first division for women, and is largely responsible for female fighters gaining respect in the long male-dominated industry.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.