For the past year, MMA star Ronda Rousey has been famously guarded when asked about her future in the sport that made her a household name.
But there’s one subject that the recently married Rousey, 30, is more than happy to discuss: What drives humans to pummel one another with their fists and their feet?
“It’s an innately human thing, like eating and sleeping,” Rousey — who is the executive producer of the aptly titled series Why We Fight on Verizon’s Go90 free video service — tells PEOPLE.
“It was the first sport that ever existed — two people started fighting and someone else stood and watched.”
According to the former UFC champion Rousey, who — despite two unexpected knockouts in her last two fights — remains one of the most famous female athletes in the world, every fighter has their own individual reasons for stepping into the ring or the cage.
“There is no one answer to why we fight,” says Rousey, a former Olympian who became the first American to win a medal in women’s judo. “My motivations are very different than anyone else’s and I think that’s why this series is so fascinating.”
The mixed martial arts champ’s eight-part web series explores this question by following Golden Gloves champ Zac “Kid Yamaka” Wohlman as he travels the globe, encountering other fighters and trying to understand their reasons for stepping into the ring.
As the series begins, Wohlman, 29, is three days sober from an opioid addiction that began after being prescribed Oxycontin for a broken jaw and threatens to derail his career.
“He’s the most raw and authentic guy,” says Rousey. “And, I think, what you take away after watching this series is that we’re all fighters. It’s in everyone and you begin to relate not only to Zac, but to every single person who he encounters, who you might normally think had nothing to do with you.”
Which is exactly what makes the gritty, gripping series so fascinating to watch. “You see someone in professional wrestling getting things banged into their head and you think, ‘That guy’s is nothing like me,’ ” Rousey says.
“But after watching this, you realize, ‘You know what? In the same situation I might have been just like him.’ ”
RELATED VIDEO: Ronda Rousey Weds Travis Browne in Hawaii as Groom Gushes She’s ‘Perfect in Every Way’
Rousey’s motivation for grappling with this question comes at a time, she insists, when this innate, primal drive is currently under attack by what she calls our “bubble-wrapped society”— something she believes is having a “negative and unhealthy” impact on our collective psyche.
“I think it’s actually being suppressed in an unhealthy way in our culture and it’s leading people to very unhealthy behavior,” she says.
“So I think that really showing the humanity in fighting is something important that people need to see, because they’ve been separating themselves from it for too long, and it’s affecting our society negatively. I think that we are meant to feel things, even if they aren’t pleasant.”