We asked UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey to discuss some of the people chiefly responsible for her success. We will post one each day leading up to Rousey’s first defense of her 135-pound title Saturday against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Today, Rousey talks about Gokor Chivichyan, a longtime family friend who runs Hayastan MMA Academy in North Hollywood:
“Gokor, I’ve known since I was a little kid. He had the place where the tough guys were.
My mom was very smart where she’d make me go to different judo clubs a week. She’d make me go to four to five different judo clubs a week. She would have me go to some places where the kids were my size and I could really fight hard and try all my judo stuff. She’d have me go to judo places where they had very traditional Japanese style of judo where I’d fight and learn how to defend that kind of style.
And then she had me go to Gokor, where everyone beat me up and knocked me around and they had that European wrestling style. I think I’ve been going there since I was around 12 or so. And they were great. They really helped my confidence a lot. You’re a 13-year-old girl and you completely walk into a room full of men who don’t even speak your language. That really translates into every facet of your life. They really helped me learn not to be intimidated by anyone, because let’s be honest: They’re an intimidating bunch.”