Ronda Rousey is not pregnant.
That would make her title defense against Alexis Davis on the Ultimate Fighting Championship card Saturday at Mandalay Bay quite difficult.
A baby bump also would be a distraction for the promotional appearances she’ll make after UFC 175 for her role in the action movie “The Expendables 3.”
Yet Rousey still got a phone call from her mother several weeks ago asking if she was expecting, as it was reported on the Internet.
“I was just, like, ‘What? No.’ She said, ‘Well, I was just reading an article that said you were pregnant,’ ” Rousey said, laughing. “I actually called (UFC president) Dana (White) up and said, ‘Just so you know, I’m not pregnant. It’s not true. People are just putting out bogus articles now.’”
A quick Google search reveals a satirical story posted last month on a fairly real-looking news website that “reports” Rousey is planning on fighting through her “pregnancy,” which probably was the source of her mother’s concern.
There are countless stories about Rousey — real and fake — at all corners of the Internet. It’s a reality the 27-year-old has accepted after reaching a level of stardom in which every word is dissected and twisted, and each comment, no matter how innocuous, can become a major story.
Such is life for perhaps the biggest name in the UFC who appears on the verge of becoming a full-fledged action star in Hollywood.
“Everything I say can get blown out of proportion, but it’s a futile effort trying to fight it,” she said. “So, I just kind of embrace it.”
Her popularity, and therefore the spotlight on her, is only going to increase.
The third film in “The Expendables” franchise, the first in which she has appeared, is due for release Aug. 15. It’s the first of several major motion pictures the fighter will play a prominent role in, and more are being lined up.
But Rousey, a 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist, insists she’s adept at keeping her two flourishing careers separate.
The official full-length trailer for the movie was released last week. Rousey admits she allowed herself to watch it — but only once.
“I try not to really get into the Hollywood stuff when I’m in camp,” she said. “I watched it on my cellphone in the bathroom while I was changing for training. That was pretty much the extent of the attention it got from me.
“It’s not that I’m not really, really excited. It’s cool they put so much of me in the trailer, but it’s something I’m not really going to allow myself to think about until after I beat Alexis. I’m looking at it as I’m putting all of my happiness on hold and I have to beat her in order to get it back.”
Like most times she fights, that feels like a foregone conclusion. Rousey, who is 9-0 as a professional and rarely has been tested, is more than a minus-1,200 favorite against Davis.
Her status as a prohibitive favorite doesn’t bother her.
“I always say when I win, I never say if, no matter the opponent. If other people feel the same way, that’s cool,” Rousey said. “But I’m not overlooking her. Just because I’ve beat every person doesn’t mean I’ve overlooked them. That’s why I train harder than all of them.”
The ease with which she seems to dispatch of her opponents often leads to questions about hypothetical challengers. In her first year in the UFC, it was always, “When are you going to fight Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino?”
That talk largely has been replaced by speculation that fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano will return to the cage to fight Rousey, though contract talks reportedly have stalled.
Regardless, there never seems to be much attention given to Rousey’s opponent at the time.
“It’s a good thing that people are constantly thinking of more fights for me instead of the alternative,” she said. “I don’t want people to be out of ideas of who they want me to fight. They keep throwing out names for me to fight because they’re still interested.”
Rousey says Davis is “the most well-rounded” fighter she has faced in mixed martial arts, but does admit to thinking about her future.
“Gina Carano is someone I’m definitely interested in fighting,” she said, “and I really feel like beating Alexis is something I really need to do in order to fulfill that dream that I had watching Gina Carano fight the first time. As soon as I saw her, I remember thinking, ‘I want to fight that girl.’
“It’s a dream I had since I started training in MMA, and Alexis Davis is the one thing standing in my way, I feel like.”
It surely would be one of the biggest female fights of all time and would increase Rousey’s star power that much more. That would fit right into her plan of proving she can be successful in two careers while trying to balance the demands of both.
In fact, she might not be done adding to her resume.
“I want to do everything,” she said with a laugh. “Haven’t you noticed?”
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.