Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm: Unfair to Miesha Tate, and Unfair to Fans

This morning, I imagine Miesha Tate could have gone for a morning run around her Clark County, Nevada home – wondering when and where she will fight Ronda Rousey.

Why not? Last night, contender Tate went to sleep assured she was the UFC’s number one contender to Ronda Rousey’s UFC women’s bantamweight championship.

Plus, it’s a typically sunny day, and the temperature is right for a good long run. It’s still around the 80 degree range, but supposed to climb all the way into the 110’s this afternoon.

Tate, the fighter they affectionately call “Cupcake” offered Rousey her most difficult challenge in a 2013 bout. Now, she was to get another chance. She was next in line for a shot at the title.

UFC President Dana White made it clear last month:

“Yeah, she is (No. 1 contender),” White said at the UFC on FOX 16 post-fight press conference. “You know, Miesha is such a durable human being. She will stand in front of you and take what you’ve got. Because she was getting picked apart in that first round. She keeps coming forward to land what she has to land or get you to the ground or do what she has to do to win. She did it again tonight. She has worked her way back to Ronda Rousey.”

But, this morning, that all changed.

Today on Good Morning America, Ronda Rousey announced her next opponent: Holly Holm, who is listed as #9 in the UFC’s official rankings at women’s bantamweight.

RONDA ROUSEY at Good Morning America in New York

RONDA ROUSEY at Good Morning America in New York

 

There’s no word on Tate’s reaction yet. It’s possible she doesn’t even know.

Her manager, Josh Jones, spoke to MMAFighting.com this morning – and says he learned the news watching “Good Morning America” just like the rest of the world.

“I’m absolutely shocked,” Jones said, as quoted by Ariel Helwani. “I found out just like you did. Very disappointed to hear the news… I want to know the reasons behind [the decision]. 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.”

Holly Holm came to the promotion with an impressive boxing pedigree, but has looked unimpressive in her two UFC appearances – more or less squeaking by two unranked fighters.

Meanwhile Tate has won four UFC bouts in a row; with three of those wins against opponents who are among the division’s best. The streak includes victories against former UFC title challengers Sara McMann and Liz Carmouche; and her most recent Octagon appearance – a decision win over Jessica Eye, who is ranked #6.

But maybe Holm’s shortcomings are working in her favor. The UFC may want to “cash out” on the 33 year old ex-boxer before another lesser fighter exposes her. As it is, it’s possible to carve out a “dominant pro boxer with an undefeated MMA record” angle for her career as a selling point.

It’s nonsense, though. And, who does that benefit? The UFC. Who pays for it? The athletes — and the fans do.

The matter is clearly unfair, and if Tate’s management is to be believed, it’s being handled terribly. But this is what happens when all the boundaries of the fight game are crossed — as is the case with the current MMA climate. Who is in control? From the promoters to the ranking system to the sponsorships… it’s all run by the same people and they’re looking out for their own interests.

It’s a dirty business and sometimes it feels like the lunatics are running the asylum.

Sometimes, like this morning.

So, hope you enjoyed your run, Miesha. Your day is about to suck. And if you’re a fan of the sport, and appreciate fairness, your day kind of sucks too.