UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey traveled to Armenia this week to commemorate Genocide Remembrance Day on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Rousey, who trains under Armenian American Edmond Tarverdyan, used the trip to urge world leaders—including U.S. President Barack Obama—to use the word "genocide" to describe the 1915 killings, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were systematically killed by Ottoman Turks seeking to exterminate the empire's Armenian population.
Turkey has continued to deny that a genocide took place, and due to political sensitivities, most countries don't use the word "genocide" to describe the killings. In a statement earlier this week marking the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Obama referred to the killings as a "massacre" and "terrible carnage," but did not use the world "genocide."
“I know there was a terrible genocide in 1915 and I’m here to support the effort to get it recognized because I believe the only way for us to learn from our past is to recognize that it happened,” Rousey said after landing in Armenia on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post.
Germany became the 21st country to label the killings "genocide" earlier this week when president Joachim Gauck used the word to describe the massacre.
Rousey said her personal history with Armenians led her to support the effort to recognize the genocide in person.
“[Armenians] have been very kind to me growing up," Rousey said, according to the Washington Post. "They accepted me into their culture and I wanted to do something special to help out for the 100-year anniversary and I thought there was no better effort to show than to come and be here in person."
Rousey also posted photos on Instagram with the hashtag #1915NeverAgain.
GALLERY: CLASSIC PHOTOS OF RONDA ROUSEY
- Stanley Kay