If fan voting for the new EA Sports UFC video game is representative of the MMA populace, then Miesha Tate is apparently now a more popular fighter than UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
Tate edged Rousey out in fan voting to possibly join the cover of the game alongside UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. The development is surprising, considering Rousey’s mainstream popularity and appeal to media outlets beyond the traditional MMA press.
Tate has a theory.
“I think a lot of people have been turned off by Ronda’s poor sportsmanship and just the overall negative attitude on ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’” Tate told MMAjunkie. “I think she’s been kind of exposed.”
Tate, 13-4, never expected to win. She assumed that Rousey, 7-0, who has appeared on national magazine covers, would defeat her in fan votes.
“I was absolutely ecstatic,” Tate told MMAjunkie. “I didn’t expect to win, but I was full of hope. I knew that Ronda was in the lead, and I was just like, ‘Man, she has double the followers I do on Twitter. She’s probably going to win.’ But I didn’t want to give up hope … I couldn’t be more thankful. It felt really great, so I’m ecstatic.”
Rousey and Tate will collide on Dec. 28 at UFC 168, in a rematch from their epic Strikeforce war in 2012. In that fight, Rousey submitted Tate with a vicious armbar. Fueled by her dislike of Rousey, Tate held on for as long as she could, refusing to submit to her hated foe, before she finally tapped at 4:27 of the first round, her arm contorted and ligaments strained.
After defeating women’s MMA pioneer Julie Kedzie, Tate lost to Cat Zingano in a No. 1 contender’s match, and a right to host “The Ultimate Fighter.” Tate lucked out when Zingano got injured. The UFC, in an attempt to make good television, didn’t tell Rousey that Zingano was injure and when Rousey showed up on the first day of taping, she was stunned to see Tate on the set. Rousey stormed away after their first meeting and locked herself behind closed doors.
The two have been featured weekly on the show, leading up to their rematch at UFC 168, headlined by Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva.