Miesha Tate Coaching ‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Something Stinks [Op-Ed]

Miesha Tate Handed The Ultimate Fighter 18 Opportunity

Miesha Tate has agreed to step in as coach on The Ultimate Fighter 18following an injury to Cat Zingano, who knocked her out on April 13.

As a coach, Tate will join unbeaten Ronda Rousey in an attempt at finding the next “Ultimate Fighter.” She’ll also get a chance at the end of the season to have her elbow dislocated for a second time if their prior engagement is any indication.

(It is.)

If you notice any snark with those statements, that’s because I’m layering it on pretty thick. And why shouldn’t I be?

Miesha Tate is the Chael Sonnen of women fighters. She somehow manages to stumble into title fights without doing anything to earn them. She may very well be a fine coach — Sonnen was — but anyone who knows anything about MMA knows to expect a similar outcome to what happened when Sonnen faced light heavyweight champion and fellow TUF 17 coach Jon Jones.

Jones got Sonnen out of there in the first round of a lopsided fight. The same way Rousey did Miesha Tate in their first fight. And unfortunately, the same way she will now be forced to do so again.

To her credit, Rousey’s behaving like a champ over the news in spite of an early on-camera meltdown, which is likely more indicative of how she truly feels.

Rousey told Yahoo! Sports — after getting very pissed off, you’ll have to see the reaction when TUF premieres in September — that “This is what we really wanted all along … Everyone said an Ultimate Fighter between me and Miesha would be the best. We have a personal history with each other and this is a personal show. For some reason, me and Miesha are intertwined in fate like Ali and Frazier or something like that.”

(Good job overselling it there, Ronda.)

Rousey continued: “I think people will look back at this as one of the monumental rivalries and look back at this as one of those things that really cemented women’s MMA.”

Nope. It’s a WWE-styled joke. In fact, the UFC has out-McMahoned Vince McMahon with this little stunt, and that’s exactly what it is, regardless of whether Cat Zingano’s injury is legitimate.

For the record, Zingano has said that it is. “I was jumping over tunnels that were about 12 inches high. I’d jumped over them like 10 times already. This one time, I jumped up and my left knee came down right on track and my right knee bent outward. Snap, crackle, pop, and I hit the floor. That was all she wrote. It was terrible. It hurt bad, but the thing that bothered me most was the sound. I never experienced anything like that,” Zingano said.

Even allowing for the injury, however, something stinks with this whole situation. The fight between Rousey and (now) Miesha Tate will take place at The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale later this year. While that isn’t enough time for Zingano to heal, it is enough time to stick a competitor like Sara McMann into the show.

McMann recently dispatched Sheila Gaff at UFC 159 and holds an unbeaten record. From a merit standpoint, she deserves a shot at Ronda Rousey at this very moment. Instead White has chosen to go with Tate, whose true talents lay in the art of smack talk. Like Sonnen, she is being given another big payday and a shot at a world title for nothing. Unlike Sonnen, she’s not even gracious when she loses.

Case in point, the “rip her face off” in a rematch remark, directed at Rousey, who, let’s face it, dominated her in the first fight. Couple that with the cry-baby reaction at the Tate-Zingano post-fight press conference, and you’ve got a fighter in Miesha Tate, who hasn’t beaten anyone to deserve a shot at a number one contender’s match, let alone another title fight or main event.

And whoever wrote the “Ali-Frazier” comparison line for Rousey to feed the press could have a nice future in writing stand-up comedy. The first time Ali and Frazier fought, Joe Frazier won. The next two went to Ali, but both fights were always competitive.

Miesha Tate hasn’t done one thing inside a cage to prove she belongs in the UFC. Not if the UFC wants legitimacy for its women’s division anyway.

She belongs in Invicta FC with the rest of the women, who are fighting for their chance. If she proves herself there, then maybe she gets a shot at a number one contender’s match in UFC. But until then, it’s Invicta or WWE (for the mike skills).

And while mike skills are admirable — Rousey’s got ’em — it helps if you can back it up:

White should have known better. His matchmaking skills as of late have been abysmal. By all accounts, subscribers to UFC 160 deserve a portion of their money back for the main event mismatch between Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva.

(The rest of the card turned out decent.)

But what’s really insulting is how the UFC boss tried to sell this garbage. “Miesha has the most experience,” White said. “She’d probably won the first two rounds of that fight with Cat and if it had gone to the cards, she’d probably have won by decision.”

(Oh, so now “probably” and “would have” are benchmarks for whether you get a shot. Got it!)

White continued: “The nice thing having Cat in there coaching against Ronda is that Cat was undefeated, and so we had this whole thing of two undefeated fighters facing off. But with Miesha, she and Ronda already had a great fight and they have a history together. They don’t like each other. We’ll make it work. We always do. You know how I say every day when I wake up, I know some bad [expletive] is going to happen? Well, this was one of them, but we’re doing the best we can here.”

The fact McMann would be fresh and have plenty of time to prep for Rousey nullifies any legitimacy in White’s last remark about “doing the best we can here.”

Either White has manufactured this whole thing because he thinks ratings will be higher with a TUF 18 between Rousey and Miesha Tate, or fate smiled on him with the Zingano injury and gave him an opportunity to put the person in there he wanted all along, who also happens to deserve it the least.

(Have we established that?)

Either way, it stinks, and it’s no way to run a business.

What are your thoughts on putting Miesha Tate in The Ultimate Fighter 18?