Being the first couple in the UFC is a tough gig. UFC women's bantamweight star Miesha Tate has been dating her coach and fellow UFC bantamweight attraction Bryan Caraway for years, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's been an easy journey. Being under the magnifying glass has been quite an adjustment for the duo, but they're learning to cope with that aspect as they coast along.
In a recent interview with MMA Junkie's Ben Fowlkes, Caraway discussed how in the beginning, he gave Tate an ultimatum, him or MMA. He didn't think it was appropriate to be dating one of the members of a team he was currently the captain of.
"I thought she'd pick me," Caraway tells USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie. "I'm the cool senior guy at the college. Next thing you know, she shows up to practice. I'm like, what the heck?"
True to his word, Caraway ended their romantic involvement, but Tate kept coming to practices. Though she says now she was "pretty devastated" when Caraway ended things, she really did want to be a fighter, whether Caraway believed it or not.
"I think he wasn't sure whether I was just trying to follow him around more," Tate said. "Because I started going to the actual team practices, and that was not even at the college. It was like a half-hour drive away, so I was carpooling with all these guys, then training and getting beat up and then going home. He was like, ‘There's no way this girl likes this.'"
But when presented with a choice between a boy she wanted to date and a sport she wanted to compete in, Tate said, "I chose the latter, even though I wanted both."
When they decided to stop fighting the inevitable, and moved forward with their budding relationship, it left them wide open to fan scrutiny, and the response has not always been kind. Caraway gave his take on the subject:
"They want to see her with Brad Pitt or some god or something," Caraway said. "Nothing's good enough. I get the brunt of all these jokes or bashed on, because all these dudes wish they were with her. ...People are just so rough sometimes. They treat you like you're an item and not like a human being. It can be a little frustrating."
Miesha tries not to let fan opinion get to her, stating;
"I'm not asking for anyone's opinion," Tate said. "I really don't care what anyone has to say."