Both Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate are strong competitors in the sport, and arguably have one of the best rivalries in MMA. However, what is it projecting about women in the sport?
Tate and Rousey have a long history, from their first Strikeforce fight to their recent history in the UFC. While both are making history as pioneers for women in the sport and its evolution, what is it turning into?
Rousey was the first to strike with social media jabs at Tate, wanting to fight her. Even then, in the beginning, they seemed to have a mutual respect for one another. The feud has escalated during this season’s TUF competition, where they served as opposing coaches.
During the course of the season, Rousey was often disrespectful when Tate would try to shake hands, and has given her the finger and sworn at her on several occasions.
The two have gone on talk shows to discuss the upcoming fight where Tate has always conducted herself in a respectable manner, which may be the fuel to Rousey’s fire and hatred, making her more impulsive. Rousey has been getting more and more belligerent with her mannerisms towards Tate, like at the recent TUF Finale when she was rolled her eyes and stood slouched in front of the cameras while Tate was commenting.
Does this take away from the sport? Her conduct is certainly helping with the UFC’s PR bid, but at this point, it’s borderline inappropriate.
Both these women are representing females in the sport. They are the first female coaches on the TUF competition and they represent women’s MMA at its highest level, so they need to be setting the best example possible for future athletes.
Miesha Tate has remained calm and cool throughout the bullying she has received and states she will take it out in the ring, whereas Rousey’s display of angry with every encounter has showcased her immaturity. Does women’s MMA want to be taken down to a level where the competitors seem like they are just in a simple cat fight? Or do we want to be perceived as athletes who can maintain composure in the face of our competitors?