Former Strikeforce champion Miesha “Cupcake” Tate has been making headlines about her recent comments regarding being skipped over for a women’s bantamweight title shot.
Tate supposedly earned third bout with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey after defeating Jessica Eye earlier this year. UFC President Dana White said Tate vs. Eye would be a title eliminator bout during a press conference shortly before Rousey’s title tilt with Bethe Correia at UFC 190.
Tate did her job and defeated Eye. There was speculation that the fight would be the co-main event of a supercard – with Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor as the headliner – in Dallas. However, the UFC had other plans. Shortly after Rousey’s win over Correia, the champion appeared on “Good Morning America” to announce she would be facing Holly Holm in January. The fight was moved to Nov. 15.
Some fans jeered at the notion of Holm as the No. 1 contender, saying she wasn’t ready or that Rousey would easily beat her. Meanwhile others were upset because Holm was bumped up over Tate.
Fast forward two months and the former Strikeforce champion is still disappointed about the events. In an interview with Brett Okamoto, Tate said she didn’t think the UFC was being malicious and she knows they were doing their job – promoting fights – the decision to pass her over was something that affected her career and life.
Tate is currently 0-2 against Rousey. She dropped the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title in March 2012. The two met again – this time for Rousey’s UFC title – in 2013, where Rousey prevailed. The fight was memorable because Tate became the first fighter to take Rousey past the first round, something no opponent has done since then.
It’s easy for the UFC to look at Tate vs. Rousey III and say “well fans have seen that fight twice, why do they need a third one so soon?” True, but that fight was almost two years ago. Since the loss to Rousey, Tate has gone 4-0, defeating every opponent the UFC has put against her. Some would argue that those victories weren’t impressive – all four went the distance – but a win is a win.
Not to mention that Tate has repeatedly said she’d face Cris “Cyborg” Justino in a catchweight bout.
While she understands the UFC brass is doing their job, she’s not willing to bend or break. Like many fighters, she’s lost money because of the UFC’s deal with Reebok She’s looked at several options and retirement has to be one of them.
Tate’s comments aren’t necessarily bashing the UFC like other fighters have done – like Tito Ortiz. She’s seems to be taking the high road, but also focusing on her own career and brand, which more fighters are doing. She’s going through what many fighters have experienced – empty promises from promoters – and she’s looking to take her destiny in her own hands. Some folks could argue “anyone would be happy fighting in the UFC.” True, the UFC is the biggest stage for anyone in mixed martial arts, but what good is it if management isn’t delivering on their promises and it’s negatively affect your professional and personal life.
Fans and critics complain about a lack of depth in the UFC women’s 135 division and Tate’s absence from the octagon could validate their point. Folks could argue that Rin Nakai, who Tate defeated a year ago, wasn’t in the top 15. However, Sara McMann, Liz Carmouche were former title contenders – and Eye was someone people saw as the future of the division. Apparently the UFC offered Tate a fight with Amanda Nunes, who is 4-1 in the octagon – as an opponent. Tate turned down the fight because of still “being shell-shocked” about Rousey vs. Holm, according to the Okamoto interview.
I’m sure any MMA promotion would love to have Tate in their organization. She’s done apperances and commentating duties for Invicta Fighting Championships. Organizations like Bellator, ONE and World Series of MMA, which aren’t as big as the UFC, that could use Tate in different roles to increase their star power and possibly bring in talent.
There’s different avenues for Tate to take if she does hang up the gloves, including movies and philanthropic efforts. She’s created a strong foundation for her brand and she can build upon it as time goes on.
Since her debut in 2007, Tate (17-5) has earned many accolades, including two Strikeforce titles – one world and one tournament – and has fought some of the best in the world. She’s accomplished more than most female fighters who step into the cage and doesn’t really have anything else to prove.