Fightland recently conducted an interview with pro wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. In the interview Piper talks about giving his nickname to UFC MMA star:
As a fan of his and a fan of MMA, I wanted to know about the time UFC bantamweight women’s champion Ronda Rousey and her coach Gene Lebell called him and asked for permission to use the nickname “Rowdy.” I’m just going to go ahead and share his answer in its entirety. Far be it from me to attempt to improve on the storytelling prowess of the original Rowdy one.
Roddy Piper: I was trained by, at the time, the toughest man in the world. Not according to him, either. His name is “Judo” Gene Lebell and he trained Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris. He’s the godfather of MMA. He’s about 80 years old. He still has a dojo in Burbank. When I was 17, 18 years old [wrestling] in the Olympic Auditorium, I ran into him. I was getting beat up pretty good and he took me under his wing.
So then maybe a year ago-ish (my timing’s not great), Ronda and Gene called me. She was so, so excited and so beautiful, saying, “Would you mind? I’ll make you proud and I’m giving it everything you got.” And I said, “You go, gal. You go!”
Somebody asked me, “What would you think if ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey would become the face of the UFC?” I said I think it would be great. I think it would be a really great thing.