Former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate speaks up about Bellator, criticizing the company for putting champion Zoila Gurgel in the prelims.
Miesha Tate is definitely not shy about speaking her mind. The former Strikeforce champion is an outspoken figure, wearing her emotions on her sleeve in interviews. Her latest target is Bellator, who has drawn Tate's ire for their handling of Bellator champion Zoila Gurgel.
The 11-1 Gurgel (whose lone loss came against Tate in 2010) is scheduled to fight at Bellator 78 this weekend. This is her return fight after an ACL injury forced her to the sidelines since March 2011. The fight is a non-title fight, and is taking place in front of a hometown crowd for Gurgel in Ohio.
Tate's issue? The fight is a prelim, and will not air on MTV2. Tate has taken to twitter, calling the move both "stupid" and "absurd."
She's also retweeted a lot of responses, some of which are now being incorrectly attributed directly to Tate herself.
In a lot of ways, I can see where Tate is coming from. If you want your champions to be something special, they need to be presented as special, and unaired prelim doesn't give the feeling of special. Women's MMA is still at a point where it is struggling to gain acceptance, and Tate is fighting for that acceptance here, which I can appreciate.
On the other hand, Bellator is making a business decision here. They only have room for four fights on the card. Two are taken by the Welterweight tournament semi-finals. Plus, with a heavy layoff, Gurgel may be rusty and a lower profile return could be advantageous.
The other issue at play here is the way Bellator uses their prelims. While not true of every prelim fight, many Bellator prelims make use of local talent with a large following in the area - a wise way to get local fans in the door and expose them to the live product. That's definitely the play with Gurgel here, and it's a smart one.
So it's a tough issue. I see Tate's frustration, but at the same time, I see Bellator's position.
What say you Bloody Elbow readers - is Tate right here, or is Bellator justified?