As Bernie Sanders prepares to enter the primary-season Octagon against arch-rival Hillary Clinton, he can take some comfort in the fact that the world's most popular MMA fighter, Ronda Rousey, has come out swinging in his corner.
In a recent interview with Maxim, the undefeated UFC champion, who defends her bantamweight belt against Holly Holm on Saturday, pledged her support to the progressive Vermont Senator, who is the only "democratic socialist" in Congress. And she's hoping her political muscle serves as an electoral armbar that will send him all the way to the White House.
"I’m voting for Bernie Sanders, because he doesn’t take any corporate money," Rousey told Maxim. "I don’t think politicians should be allowed to take money for their campaigns from outside interests."
As for what she'd do if her man were to lose the primary, Rousey said, "If he doesn’t win against Hillary, then I’ll probably vote for a third party again. To be honest, in 2012 I was against both candidates and so I just picked any third party because I thought if more people voted for third parties then they’d have to take third parties seriously."
In fact, Rousey says she was so disenchanted with the two-party system that she voted for comedian Roseanne Barr's third-party bid in 2012.
"I voted for Roseanne last time," Rousey said. "Mostly I went in to vote for all the state and local things. I was so unimpressed with the whole presidential campaign that I picked whatever third party I saw, and I saw Roseanne and thought, 'That’s awesome.' But I’m really pulling for Sanders this time. I hope it works out."
Rousey's love for non-mainstream candidates does not include Donald Trump. The billionaire real estate mogul seemed to suggest to CNN last summer that Rousey was a supporter. Pointing out that she exemplified the athleticism of female fighters, he claimed she was a fan of his. “Some of them are really, really good," he said. "I’ll tell you what, I know some woman that are just — Ronda Rousey is an example, who likes me.…I’d take her on my side as a fighter.”
But Rousey had previously put the smackdown on The Donald's campaign in a separate CNN interview. "I mean, I wouldn't vote for him," she said. "I just really wouldn't trust the guy with running my country, that's all. I'm not really going to get into specifics of it, but, I mean, I don't want a reality TV star to be running my country."
Maxim has reached out to the Sanders campaign for comment on the Senator's new endorsement. We'll update when we receive a reply.
Photos by Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC