Ronda Rousey’s mainstream appeal hasn’t been weakened by her upset loss in November.
The mixed martial arts star will host NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” on Jan. 23, the show announced Tuesday. The musical guest will be Selena Gomez.
The previously unbeaten Rousey was stunned by a second-round knockout loss to Holly Holm in Australia, losing her Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight belt. After the loss, Rousey retreated to near-seclusion, granting only one post-fight interview in which she said she intends to retain trainer Edmond Tarverdyan.
Rousey, 28, has appeared in films, including sequels of “The Fast and the Furious,” and “The Expendables,” and has been on “Ellen” and late night talk shows. She’s set to star in a remake of “Road House,” in the late Patrick Swayze’s bouncer role.
She joins a heavyweight lineup of athletes who’ve hosted “SNL,” including Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, George Foreman and LeBron James, becoming the first MMA fighter to host the show.
UFC President Dana White said he will soon have his first business conversation with Rousey since her defeat.
White last month told The Times that he wants Rousey’s return fight to be a rematch against Holm on July 9 at UFC 200 at the new Las Vegas arena.
Holm, who signed a new multi-fight, multimillion-dollar extension with the UFC this week, has sought to fight in the interim. Her manager, Lenny Fresquez, expressed interest in a bout against former title challenger Miesha Tate.
White originally rejected that idea, but when asked about Holm fighting before a Rousey rematch, White said, “It’s possible. We have nothing done yet” for either fighter’s next bout.
Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. will appear at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Jan. 19 to promote their third meeting, an April 9 bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas with Bradley’s World Boxing Organization belt at stake.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said his fighter, who had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder after his May 2 loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., will open training camp in his native Philippines. He will then resume at trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood on Feb. 13.
Roach said Pacquiao, 37, is occupied with plans to win election to the Philippines Senate in May, but the promoter expects the boxer to continue his intense training tradition.
“One thing about Manny Pacquiao is once he walks in the boxing gym, all that other stuff goes away,” Roach said.
“He’s always dedicated, always works very hard, and I don’t think that will change. Once he’s in the gym, he knows what he’s there for. It’s still what he does best, and he knows that.”
Arum said his promotional company, Top Rank, is in a purse bid that will be decided Jan. 12 for a super-middleweight title bout between champion Arthur Abraham and Gilberto Ramirez. If Top Rank, which promotes Ramirez, wins the bid, Abraham-Ramirez will be the co-main event to Pacquiao-Bradley, Arum said.
“We didn’t want it to go to purse bid, but we don’t want a rematch,” Arum said. “If we win, we’d like to fight [Gennady] Golovkin in the fall.”
Although Golovkin is seeking to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the fall, Arum said he has reason to doubt that fight will happen until 2017.
Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, said he’s awaiting response from an offer to new WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders of England to fight Golovkin, the unbeaten World Boxing Assn. and International Boxing Federation champion, in April.
That bout would either be at Madison Square Garden or April 23 at the Forum in Inglewood, Loeffler said. The UFC has a hold on MSG for its first New York card on April 23.
Loeffler said if Saunders rejects the Golovkin offer, the front-runner to fight Golovkin becomes mandatory IBF challenger Tureano Johnson.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire