Miesha "Takedown" Tate has had a roller coaster 2011. Just ten days before her co-main event title fight against Marloes Coenen in Columbus, Ohio, she had to pull out of the fight after suffering a knee injury in training. Coenen would go on to defend the Strikeforce women's 135 lb title with a comeback submission victory and Tate was again waiting for her chance at Strikeforce gold.
That all changed Saturday afternoon when Dana White announced that Zuffa had purchased Strikeforce. Strikeforce's roster, both men and especially women, are in turmoil. White has said in the past that women will never fight on a UFC card but he at least said Zuffa will honor Strikeforce's current contracts. Tate spoke her mind about the purchase and the future of women's MMA in her appearance on The Verbal Submission Sunday night.
Brian Hemminger: The UFC’s purchase of Strikeforce is a huge factor for you because the UFC doesn’t really have a good stance on women’s fighting. I know Dana White said it’s "business as usual" but what’s your take on all of this?
Miesha Tate: I’m a little concerned because I honestly don’t know what is gonna be in our future. I have to admit I’m a little worried. I hope that maybe looking at the glass half full and being optimistic that this will be an opportunity for Dana to actually take a little more note of the women’s division. I still feel like he’s pretty ignorant when it comes to it. He’s just not informed. He doesn’t think there’s enough women out there and I have to disagree. Yeah, there’s not as many as the men but there’s a lot out there just waiting for that chance to showcase.
I think Liz Carmouche is the perfect example. She came out there and almost took out the champion yet nobody knew who she was. She was just waiting for an opportunity and there are so many girls just as capable or more capable who haven’t had a shot at the limelight so nobody knows about them and everybody assumes they don’t exist and that’s just not the case.
With the whole changeover, obviously it was a bit of a surprise. It sounds like everything is going to stay pretty much as is at least for now. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when the Showtime contracts run out for Strikeforce.
BH: Do you have any ideas to help make women’s MMA more relevant in the eyes of Dana White? What can be done to get you out there?
MT: I think we just need someone willing to give us a chance like Scott Coker has been. I think we’ve been relatively successful. I think for the most part we’ve put on exciting fights. I always feel that there’s a lot more weight on one fight because all that weight is on those two female’s shoulders because they’re the only women’s fight on the card and all of female MMA gets judged based on one fight.
We all know that with men’s MMA there are exciting fights and there are boring fights. It’s the same with women. Sometimes there’s gonna be a boring fight and it’s unfortunate to always be judged on that basis. It’s a little stressful with that high pressure and I think we’ve done a good job carrying that so far and putting on good performances. A lot of times we steal the show or are fight of the night so I think there’s a lot to be said there. We just need to continue to have the opportunity to show people that because I know there are a lot of people out there who doubt or are ignorant or don’t know any better.
BH: I 100% agree with you on that point. Look at former champ Sarah Kaufman. Think about how poorly she was judged on her fight with Hashi but then she goes out with this knockout of the year slam against Roxanne Modafari and it’s a complete 180 turnaround.
MT: Yeah there’s a lot of weight and a lot of judgment that is passed on one fight. I wouldn’t say by any means that Sarah Kaufman is a boring fighter. She just had a boring fight and sometimes the style matchups come out boring. It’s not something that the fighters can do. One person has a strength here and the other has a strength there and it doesn’t always make for the most exciting bout but that happens in the men’s divisions as well.
BH: Dana said that they would honor every contract that fighters had with Strikeforce. Do you still have a long term contract with Strikeforce? I don’t know the details of fighter contracts but do you still have multiple fights scheduled for them?
MT: Well my contracts are mostly on a year-term basis so I’m guaranteed a certain amount of fights and I can fight in as many fights as they can possibly give me. Usually I’m guaranteed three or more if possible. There’s no cap. I could fight as many times a year as I can squeeze in there but three is a pretty good number. I don’t know how that’ll work. I know Dana is saying "oh we’ll honor all the contracts" of course but what happens when renegotiations come around?
I don’t know how the pay is going to work or how he’s going to feel what women are worth, what we should get paid. Are we all going to have to take pay cuts or is all going to continue on as normal? I have no idea. I’ll have to wait and see. I have my fingers crossed.
One thing I’ll have to give the UFC over Strikeforce is their marketing capabilities. They seem like they really have their stuff together as far as publicizing things, getting names out there, getting faces out there and really building a fanbase around their key star fighters. If that’s the case and they adopt Strikeforce fighters in that same manor then I think it could do a lot of great things for the fighters particularly the women if he embraces them the same way. I know Strikeforce has done a lot to push us but I also know that there is a lot more they could do still. If Zuffa picks up the ball and keeps it rolling in the direction that the UFC has going then I think it could be a really good thing for the women.
For the rest of the interview where Miesha discusses Bellator, her recovery and a rematch with Sarah Kaufman, please check out the Toledo MMA Examiner.