Mixed martial arts is a fickle sport, and today’s title contender can become tomorrow’s also-ran in the blink of an eye. Just ask Miesha Tate, who thought she was next in line to fight UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champ Ronda Rousey.
You can excuse her for assuming that — after all, she won a fight against Jessica Eye that was widely billed as a No. 1 contender fight. And then when rumors that Cris Cyborg might end up facing Ronda at Cowboys Stadium, UFC prez Dana White shot them down by declaring, “We already said that Ronda was fighting Miesha Tate next, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
That was last week. But, early Friday on Good Morning America, Ronda Rousey appeared and announced that she’d be fighting former boxing champ Holly Holm. Holm is a solid opponent with a 9-0 record, but, up until Rousey spoke her name on TV, no one was talking about her as a potential title contender. Maybe after another fight or three, but the whole thing seemed premature with only two decision wins under her belt in the UFC.
More shocking — or perhaps less, if you follow the UFC closely — was the fact that no one bothered to tell Miesha Tate she was out of the Rousey fight. Here’s what her manager Josh Jones told MMA Fighting:
“I’m absolutely shocked,” Josh Jones of KHI Management told MMAFighting.com. “I found out just like you did. Very disappointed to hear the news.”
“I want to know the reasons behind [the decision],” Jones said. “To not even be given a head’s up is very disappointing. She doesn’t even know yet. She is going to be absolutely shocked.”
Jones said Tate had already begun training for the Rousey trilogy fight, and her sponsors were already under the assumption she was fighting Rousey next.
This is gonna hit Tate hard right where it hurts — her wallet. Or her purse. Whatever. Factoring in bonuses, a small nibble of the pay-per-view pie, and sponsorship, Tate was looking at a million dollar fight with Ronda. That’s much better than the 75k she made getting her orbital bone broken in two places against Sara McMann earlier this year.
Like Tate’s manager, many people are asking “Why?” Why switch fighters last second like this? Why go from Tate, ranked No. 2, to Holm, ranked No. 9? There’s only two reasons that really makes sense: Someone thinks a Holm fight will make more money. Or Ronda just wanted to fight Holm more than Tate. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Maybe Rousey wants Holm now because she won’t be around to fight her later. Maybe she’ll fight Holm then Cyborg then leave the sport for Hollywood. Or maybe her home planet needs her and she must return from whence she came.
There’s so many maybes here that maybe it’s best not to speculate. One thing is for sure: Ronda Rousey is fighting Holly Holm on January 2 at UFC 195. There are ads for the fight already appearing across the internet, so you know it’s official. Unlike Miesha Tate, who just thought her fight was official.