After Ronda Rousey knocked out Bethe Correia in August at UFC 190, anti-doping staff working for the UFC informed Rousey they needed to collect a blood sample.
It was late on that night in Brazil. The media and her entourage were waiting. And Rousey was captive for at least 20 minutes.
Jeff Novitzky, the former federal agent now in charge of UFC’s anti-doping staff, was waiting when the collectors emerged with Rousey’s blood.
“ ‘What was her reaction?’ ” Novitzky recalled asking. “They were like, ‘She couldn’t thank us enough. She said thank you guys so much for coming down here. You traveled all the way from the United States to do this, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what you’re doing.’ ”
Not only has Rousey become the face of the UFC, she’s become one of the biggest ambassadors for the UFC’s new anti-doping program, according to Novitzky.
“That’s really important, that our top athletes are ambassadors because they’re role models not only to the public, but to our other athletes,’’ he said. “And when they heard Ronda Rousey out there confirming this is a great program and something good for UFC, I think that not only the public listens, but our other athletes listen.’’