UFC Fighter Miesha Tate Possibly Retiring Is Justified — This Is Why ‘Cupcake’ Has Every Right To Walk Away From MMA

Over the past two weeks, the MMA community was abuzz with news Miesha Tate considered retiring from competition. Given the career “Cupcake” has, it made sense such a consideration would be considered big news. Starting her professional career on November 24, 2007, Tate has worked hard to get where she is today and even won championships in both Freestyle Cage Fighting (FCF) and Strikeforce. Her record of 17-5-0 over eight years is a testament on why she is considered a cornerstone in establishing women’s MMA.

As for more current career endeavors, Tate defeated her last four opponents within the past two years. Needless to say, Miesha Tate has earned her chance to fight current UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Unfortunately, her chance was taken away when UFC announced Rousey’s next opponent would be Holly Holm at UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm. This did not go over well with Miesha Tate which resulted, as mentioned earlier, consideration for retirement. Some say Tate is just jealous. But if one were to analyze her reasons, such a move seems justified.

To start, Dana White did promise Miesha Tate another crack at Ronda Rousey, as reported by MMA Junkie. Apparently, such a fight would be delivered if Tate were to defeat Jessica Eye at UFC on Fox: Dillashaw vs. Barão 2. Tate was successful in which White said she was the No. 1 contender. For some reason, however, Tate was suddenly passed over in which Rousey would fight Holly Holm instead.

Despite the broken promise, it is possible that Tate would have understood why she was passed over if she was given a valid reason from UFC or Dana White. Both have failed to even deliver that which was a slap in the face of Tate. As a result, Tate said UFC would no longer push her around, but that soon changed to possibilities of retirement during a phone interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour(podcast that is a part of MMA Fighting). Tate not only expressed her disdain for the situation, but she brought up discrepancies between her and Ronda Rousey in terms of their careers. Tate utilized Joe Rogan’s comments on a previous episode to push her point.

“He [Joe Rogan] said, ‘You know, I get it. I completely sympathize with Miesha.’ He’s like, ‘I don’t understand why there is such a big discrepancy between number one and number two.’ And he said Ronda made over $6 million according to Forbes just off of her fighting last year. And I’ll tell you I made nowhere near, not even close to that, and yet they want me to fight higher-ranked and much better skilled opponents than Ronda is fighting? And she gets paid millions and I get paid pennies on the dollar?”

UFC 183: Tate vs McMann
Miesha Tate defeated Sara McMann at "UFC 183: Tate vs. McMann." McMann was ranked in the top five at the time of their fight (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images).

It wasn’t revealed just how much Miesha Tate is making for her UFC career, but if her payout of $5,000 for defeating Jessica Eye is any indication, then she is surely underpaid for being the No. 1 ranked contender. Yet, Tate does have a point that White and UFC are setting her up with much tougher opponents than they are for Ronda Rousey. Comparing their fights, Tate fought Sara McMann and Jessica Eye, who are both top five contenders. On the other hand, Rousey fought Bethe Correia and Holly Holm, who are ranked No. 8 and 9, respectively, at their fight’s announcements. If makes absolutely no sense in terms of how ranking works. Shouldn’t it be Rousey fighting fighters in the top five contendership, while Tate fights those underneath them?

And if that wasn’t degrading enough to Miesha Tate, UFC and Dana White offered her Amanda Nunes on a Fight Pass match. No disrespect to Nunes and the growing-in-popularity Fight Pass, but that move expressed hallmarks of Tate’s last two fights: fighting a top five competitor in a venue that pays less.

“Because again, Amanda is ranked fourth or fifth, and Holly is ranked ninth or something like that. Like I said, this is dumb. I’m not the champion, so why am I fighting girls tougher than Ronda for pennies on the dollar? Period. It’s a matter of making a statement and just saying to the UFC, I’m not going to be pushed around into this so it’s not going to happen unless you guys make some serious changes.”

Miesha Tate concluded her interview indicating the possibility of retirement, something she is justified to do because of how UFC and Dana White are treating her. It is up to them to make changes in the UFC women’s bantamweight division (or all the divisions, to be fair). If not, “Cupcake” may soon join the likes of Gina Carano in becoming a memory.

[Photo by Atsushi Tomura / Getty Images]