Miesha Tate is still having a hard time coming to grips with how the UFC handled announcing the Ronda Rousey-Holly Holm bout for UFC 193 despite promising her the next title fight, and it’s clearly strained her relationship with the organization.
In an interview this week with ESPN.com, Tate said without knowing what’s actually in store for her future in the organization has her wary of getting back into the cage with just any opponent.
“I understand why they want to make the Rousey-Holly fight, but that doesn’t change the way they handled it,” Tate said. “I think it happened the way it did because they didn’t want to risk the information getting out, but in a way, that’s also insulting to me. I’ve been fighting for a long time, and I’ve proven my character. I’m a professional, and I can separate my disappointment from my actions. I don’t think the UFC did this to be malicious, but I also don’t think they gave me any consideration. This was another day in the office to them, but to me it’s like, ‘You just ruined my life,’ and I feel like they need to understand that a little.
“…Dana [White] will say I’m one fight away, and then in his next interview, he’ll say I’m a couple fights away. I keep seeing different headlines come out, and I don’t know what to think. I fear that they want me to fight all the other top girls, and the connotation is that if they beat me, they get a title, but if I beat them, it’s ‘bring on the next one.’ Essentially, I feel like they have deemed me as a gatekeeper, and that’s fine for a while because I put myself there. I won and lost those fights. But there has to be some light at the end of that tunnel. If there’s not, what is my future in this sport?”
Tate feels she’s done her part to appease the organization, and has taken fights that others wouldn’t even if it wasn’t necessarily in her best interests. That’s not something she’s willing to do any longer.
“When push comes to shove, I will stand my ground,” Tate says. “I’m a company woman. I went to Japan and fought on Fight Pass for relatively low exposure. I fought Sara McMann when nobody wanted to fight her. I make myself as available as possible. But there comes a point when I cannot sacrifice what I believe in my heart to be right.
“I’m not saying the UFC is trying to bully me, but if they really want something and they get it in their head, that’s all they want, and for me it’s not that simple. When I don’t feel right about something or if my heart’s not into it, I’m not going to do it.”
Penick’s Analysis: Tate sounds mentally like she’s just about done with the UFC. And it’s hard to blame her if that’s the case. Unless they can mend what is a clearly fractured relationship with her, there are going to continue to be issues moving forward. At this stage she has no reason to believe any promises made by the organization, and thus little reason to go into a dangerous fight against another fighter trying to get themselves into title contention. It’s hard to say what we’re going to see next for her because of all of this, but obviously there’s still a lot of friction between the two sides, and the fence needs to be mended.
[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin-Oncea via USA Today Sports]