Rose Namajunas explained why she bravely decided to address her childhood sexual abuse trauma in her new documentary.
Despite showing a ferocious and aggressive side to herself inside the Octagon, it’s no secret that the former strawweight queen is the opposite outside the cage.
The idea of putting a documentary together on the highs and the lows of Rose Namajunas came five years ago when film director Marius Markevicius reached out to discuss the possibility of taking a closer look into the 30-year-olds life.
Namajunas has never been one to enjoy the limelight or the bundles of attention that comes with being a UFC champion. So, letting the cameras take a closer look into her life from a different angle would have taken some persuading.
Rose Namajunas praises Marius Markevicius
Namajunas opened up about the experience in an interview with MMA Fighting.
“I’m just very grateful that Marius was so patient with me and persistent and persevered through the whole thing,” Rose Namajunas voiced. “Because I am used to UFC cameras, and they’re used to other fighters, and fight camps are very intense. I think that they have to cover so many fighters, and it’s a very routine thing. They can’t always necessarily delve deep into topics.
“The way his mind works, it’s like a work of art with the way he could just focus on my individual story, and I do feel like all these other fighters have great stories. But the artistry, it was just a whole different thing.”
A part of being an excellent director is allowing your individuals to open up. Most importantly, trust you. Markevicius believes he did that by having Namajunas rewind back to her upbringing, past relationships, and unforgettable highs and lows.
“I think we got to go to a deeper place than a lot of films or TV shows about MMA fighters have gone before,” Markevicius said. “It was quite a great experience.
“There is a lot of material on Rose, and you’ve been covering her for years, and she’s done a ton of interviews and The Ultimate Fighter and fight-week type events. But to go deeper and to get the know the personal side of Rose and what makes her tick and explore that and what makes her human and so relatable.”
From Lithuanian to the United States
In the past, Namajunas has voiced her love for her Lithuanian heritage. A large section of the documentary focuses on her Lithuanian-born parents relocating from the country to the U.S after getting refugee status.
Namajunas was also forced to go to a dark place and face the horrifying truth of the sexual abuse she suffered growing up. Speaking out on the matter was important for Namajunas to help others who have suffered the same trauma as she did as a child.
I still am [confronting those demons], and I still have a lot of stuff to work out from where I come from,” Namajunas said. “I know that it can help other people. It’s way more common than people would like to believe.
“If I can help some little kid or whatever that might be dealing with something like that, or even adults that dealt with that in their past, that makes it all the more worth it. You can be forgiven. You can move on from things and you can make a tragedy into something beautiful and do something positive with any of our suffering.”
The former title holder revealed that reflecting on the past was a tough task but has learned it’s okay to let your emotions run freely.
“It’s encouraging to know you can be honest,” she said. “Obviously, I don’t want to be soft all the time, and there’s a time to be tough, but it’s OK to show emotion and to be yourself.”
The documentary debuted at the Austin Film Festival and will be available to watch on UFC Fight Pass on Nov.9.
Namajunas aims to inspire
Namajunas is hopeful the documentary reaches people in a different way. She also aims to encourage those who face adversity not only in the cage but in life, can come back from a bad situation.
“I hope that people will take away the fact that what you say is very important,” she said. “Words are powerful and you can do anything you set your mind to as long as its within God’s will for you and you’re living right, you’re going to ultimately come out on top.
“Even if you have to go through some down parts, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s always something that can be made from almost anything.”
Quotes via MMA Fighting
Will you be watching Rose Namajunas in her new documentary when it airs on Nov. 9?