The relationship between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate has never been a good one. On season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter we got to see that having to spend more time together did not help in the least, as was expected.
Ronda has never shied away when asked to express how she feels about Miesha, whether she’s around to hear it or not. Now most of the comments in MMA forums and the twittersphere are about how she should be nicer or be a better representation of what it means to be a champion. I wholeheartedly disagree with everyone saying this. If you want Ronda to be a GSP type champion you are out of luck, it isn’t happening. She speaks her mind, doesn’t hide her feelings and is a blunt (ok, extremely blunt) representation of what it means to be honest in an age where everyone is worried about PR and building their “personal brand”. How many Jon Jones interviews have we seen where it sounds like he wants to say something about how his opponent isn’t on his level, however he decides to go the PC route and basically say (what amounts to be) an almost prepared statement.
I respect Ronda even more after seeing this season of The Ultimate Fighter. I’d rather have someone tell me they don’t like me for whatever reason and just admit they’d rather not talk to me, instead of acting like they don’t have an issue with me. Miesha Tate spent the season saying over and over how she didn’t understand why Ronda was angry or didn’t like her. She said all the right things, but often sounded disingenuous, at times taking backhanded shots at Ronda.
I believe Miesha is one of the most talented fighters in the world and has represented women’s MMA in a great way throughout her career. As a fighter and competitor, I have nothing but respect for her. However as a human being, she seems to be working overtime on trying to look good while making Ronda Rousey look bad. If Miesha just focused on herself and nothing else (as she often says she does) she would be more likable to me and I’m sure to other MMA fans. Or if she just admitted her true feelings for Rousey and left it at that, I would respect her more. However, throughout the season Miesha showed some character flaws that said more about her than she probably wanted us to know. Sure, Ronda was angry, upset, disrespectful at times, especially when her team lost fights, but it was clear that she does not hide her feelings and she wasn’t going to change who she was just because there were cameras around. Miesha on the other hand looked like she never wanted to let you know who she really is or how she really feels at any given time. On top of that we saw how she picked favorites from her own team, to who she devoted more one on one training and time game planning. When someone from her team lost, it looked like she was faking empathy, trying to figure out what would be the right words to make her sound and look better.
While Miesha came out the big winner from the show, having won both final fights, I do keep wondering how no one saw through the veil of made up emotions, through the prepared statements she managed to speak as though they were random thoughts. I understand people not liking Ronda for being too raw, for being perceived as rude or as being childish when she lost. Not everyone likes that type of attitude, but if you look throughout sports, specifically the most competitive athletes in the world, you’d find out that a lot of them aren’t the most gracious people after a loss. What I don’t understand is how people have embraced Miesha as their preferred pick for a perceived graciousness that was obviously being faked. On top of everything we have to give props to the UFC marketing machine, because everyone that is clamoring for Miesha to beat Ronda seems to have forgotten that Miesha not only lost her title to Rousey, but that she also lost her status as the number one contender to relative newcomer Cat Zingano, and was only put in the title bout after Zingano got hurt.
Truth is everyone is entitled to their opinion and like who you want, The Ultimate Fighter doesn’t decide who’s champion. If Miesha believes she’s better than Ronda, December 28th she’ll get her chance to prove it.
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