Former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate has always been the kind of woman who fights for what she believes in outside of the ring as passionately as she pursues her interests inside it. One of the topics Tate is understandably invested in is that of women’s equality, especially in Mixed Martial Arts, and in her opinion Bellator’s placement of champion Zoila Gurgel on an upcoming undercard is a slap in the face to female fighters everywhere.
Gurgel is scheduled to face Casey Noland this Friday night on the preliminary portion of Bellator 78. The bout marks her return after a lengthy absence from competition due to a torn ACL, as well as takes place within driving distance of her homebase in Cincinnati.
“I cannot believe you would allow your champion to be placed on the UN-televised undercard in her hometown. A champion is a champion regardless if she is fighting up a weight,” wrote Tate on Twitter in a message directed at Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “You use her image to promote the posters and then put her on the undercard?! Blows my mind.”
“Would they have done the same to a male champ,” questioned Tate, calling the decision “absurd” and stating she would rather retire than ever sign with Bellator because of it.
No official response has come from Bellator or Rebney. Bellator 77’s featured broadcast will include the semifinal round of the ongoing welterweight tournament as well as appearances from Daniel Straus and Brian Rogers.
Fans can still see Gurgel’s fight streaming live on Spike.com when the show starts at 7:00 PM EST.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE