Originally, the best laid plans of mice and men involved UFC female bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey coaching TUF opposite an opponent who was both worthy and worthwhile, and it was assumed that Miesha Tate would be that woman. But Cat Zingano came in and, well, you know what cats do to mice. However, this week we learned that Zingano was out with a knee injury that required surgery, and Tate was back in the game, the yin to Rousey’s WMMA yang on the eighteenth season of the Ultimate Fighter and next in line for a crack at the belt. Too bad Tate so recently got her ass kicked by Zingano, and is the last person on the planet deserving of the TUF role.
Here’s what the Rebellion Media team had to say about the matter:
People are just going to have to get over the fact that the UFC is in it for the money. With the new FOX deal, contenders are going to need to be fighters who can put together coherent sentences and sell fights; that’s the price MMA is going to pay for going “mainstream.” There aren’t regular seasons that lead to playoffs, so there is no strict elimination-process. Miesha Tate-Ronda Rousey sells. Sara McMann, Cat Zingano and anybody else right now just doesn’t vs. Rousey.
Mike Stets, FightLine.com:
Very unfortunate set of circumstances for Cat Zingano, but Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey is what everyone wanted to see to begin with. They don’t like each other and that easily makes for better TV. Zuffa is finally aided by an injury instead of hindered by one.
Ryan Harkness, Fightlinker.com:
What does deserve got to do with it? In a world where a fight’s success is the sum of its two parts you need to make sure you have the most popular parts you got. Zingano was good but from a name recognition and TV fireworks potential standpoint, Miesha Tate was the best option to coach TUF alongside Rousey. Technically she may not deserve it because she didn’t win that TUF coach fight. But she was the other contender for the slot, and the first is now out for nine months giving birth to a new knee. While I would have preferred Bryan Caraway, I guess Miesha Tate will do.
Casey Hodgin, MMALinker.com:
I think it makes the women division look bad having Miesha Tate (the one who lost her chance) get automatically dropped right back in just because of the lack of depth in the division. I’m curious to know what exactly happened to Cat, but it must be pretty serious if she can’t even be involved. It’s not like she has to be “Coach of the Century” and spar constantly. I’m pretty she she’d be just fine watching over the contestants and letting her other coaches do all the contact. Oh well, it’s not like many of us care, or are looking forward to, this next season of TUF.
Old School, FiveOuncesofPain.com:
Zuffa can choose whomever they want to coach the teams. Besides, who really watches that show? Most of us just click over from the ball game with 15 minutes left in the TUF episode and watch the fight.
Chris McDevitt, MMAConvert.com:
After watching Chael Sonnen get a title shot and a coaching slot on TUF 17 while coming off a loss, it’s hard to say anything about Tate getting the nod for TUF 18. I do not think that she will be 1/4th the coach that Sonnen turned out to be; but the precedent has been set. I’m sure there will be plenty of drama in the house and in the gym. At least Ronda is the champ, who the hell is Miesha Tate to tell some of the veteran “contestants” anything? At least they know how to tap before their arm gets ripped off.
Joe Lisnow, FightLine.com:
With Cat Zingano out, the UFC had little choice when it came to potential opponents for Ronda Rousey. With a few WMMA bouts in the promotion’s history, Miesha Tate makes the most sense. Tate and Zingano stole the show with their performance several weeks back. It sucks for Zingano, but Tate and Rousey have history which should create some entertaining TV. I’ve been waiting for Rousey-Tate 2 since women joined the UFC. Hopefully they can bring back that aggression that The Ultimate Fighter has been lacking as of late. If anything, Zingano’s injury shows how fragile the division is with only ten fighters on the roster.
Alex Giardini, MMAFrenzy.com:
When Miesha Tate lost to Cat Zingano at The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, she was eliminated from the plans. Whether or not injury forces the company to find a replacement, they cannot include the loser in the plans because it makes the number one contender fight totally irrelevant (and also damages the title picture). The UFC couldn’t walk away from their first women’s bantamweight division rivalry but rivalries are earned and unfortunately Tate did not earn it. We can’t fault Tate herself but coming off a loss straight into a title fight is absurd, regardless of the time constraints. Sara McMann would have been the best viable option to replace Zingano. Fresh off the destruction of Sheila Gaff at UFC 159, the UFC missed a gigantic opportunity to promote Olympian vs. Olympian as well as focusing around two undefeated competitors who both stand with seven wins so far in their short careers. McMann, a lot like Rousey, has not shown her full potential yet which would have led to an intriguing fight (a hell of a lot more than Liz Carmouche and even Zingano). But since TUF has become stale for at least ten seasons now, it was hard to turn away from the Big Brother approach in terms of ratings, hence the coed season. Maybe it gets more casual fans involved but it tarnishes the legitimacy of a sport that stresses that their athletes compete against the best time after time. A more quality opponent should have been chosen– that is the responsibility of the brass. The ‘‘ultimate proving ground’’ has turned into the ‘‘ultimate entertainment value’’ and watered-down, unworthy title fights are now the norm for MMA’s top promotion.
Jake Berezansky, MMAConvert.com:
Ha, and so begins the decline of women’s MMA. First, I don’t mean to detract from the women involved with the sport. They’re fantastic athletes, and only a fool would say otherwise. Okay, let’s be honest though, and here’s my bit on women’s MMA in general while we’re at it. Right now, it’s cool, hip, and new, and the first women’s bout drew good numbers, but the talent pool is next to nonexistent; there is one star in the division, and this event shows that clearly. Tate will now fight for the title coming off a loss, and that’s stupid 100% of the time. I see the UFC dropping the hammer on their women’s division with a year or two. Why? Because just like the WNBA, nobody will give a rat’s ass. “Oh what? Rousey is fighting some other sap, and that’s the headline of UFC 178? Yes, UFC here’s my 60 bucks for that pay-per-view.” Get real. Nobody really cares right now, and nobody will care at all in a year, The PPV numbers for events headlined by women will be awful, and Fox sure as hell doesn’t want that shit headlining for their events. From a business standpoint, it’s just never going to work.
Tate has not earned a rematch with Rousey and the fact that she’s getting one suggests TUF has outlived its usefulness. First Jones vs Sonnen, now this? I don’t think it helps MMA when UFC title fights are dictated by what will generate ratings for a stupid reality show. If fighting is what matters (rather than pranks, bitching, and lame trash talk), then Sara McMann should have gotten the call to step in. I’d gladly trade away the Tate-Rousey “rivalry” in order to see Ronda throw down with a fellow Olympic grappler.
Brendhan Conlan, Five Ounces of Pain and Fighters.com
The term “deserve” has loose meaning in the context of a reality show. Though Tate’s performance against Zingano did not necessarily merit a title-shot or opportunity at history, her rivalry with Rousey does and it should make for some incredible television. I don’t think it necessarily hurts women’s MMA because the sport is still looking for legitimacy on par with their male counterparts and any high-profile pairing is good for it in that regard. And, other than Sara McMann (who would have been an excellent selection given her Olympic background and unbeaten mark), who else would have fit the bill in the same way Tate has? Their words will be heated and the fight will be entertaining. That’s about all that matters in the end.
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