Ronda Rousey looks set to put the final nail in her Ultimate Fighting Championship career coffin with a move into the world of wrestling with World Wrestling Entertainment.
Close insiders have confirmed to USA Today that Rousey is “finalising” a deal to become a wrestler and sports personality with WWE.
The move follows a series of cameo appearances, including one rather wooden performance backstage at a WWE show last September.
Prior to that, Rousey had teamed up with The Rock to take on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a special segment created for Wrestlemania and to promote her appearance in Fast & Furious 7.
Rousey has been spending time working at WWE’s High Performance Centre in Orlando, Florida, learning the ropes of sports entertainment.
According to ex-wrestler and close friend of Rousey, Gene Le Bell, the UFC favourite may start out as a spot wrestler, making occasional appearances at several high-profile events.
“I love Ronda, and anything she can do to make money for her and her new husband then I am rooting for her,” Le Bell said. “She will get a lot of money and that’s great.”
Wrestlemania 34 is taking place in New Orleans in April and could yet mark Rousey’s first major appearance, with rumours suggesting Rousey may end up going toe-to-toe with Charlotte Flair, the daughter of legendary wrestler and sex manic Ric Flair.
It’s likely to signal the end of her UFC career, which was already in the doldrums following Rousey’s shock 48-second defeat to Amanda Nunes in 2016.
UFC President Dana White has already ruled out a return, evidently concerned that an attempt at a comeback could backfire badly.
“I wouldn’t want to see it,” he said. “I wouldn’t want it to happen. I care about her. She has got money … and all that stuff. I don’t want to see it happen.”