Last week, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate was the third ex-fighter to move to Southeast Asia and work for ONE Championship. But unlike Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson, “Cupcake” will take on a corporate function as Vice President, along with both a commentary and brand ambassador role for the Singapore-based promotion company.
During Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, Tate discussed this career move in detail with Luke Thomas. According to her, it was mainly rooted to the drastic change of the UFC’s promotional style, which she no longer identifies with.
“I think the promotion has gone so far one way, that I don’t really identify with it anymore,” Tate said (via MMA Fighting). “I love martial arts and I always will, but I prefer it to be promoted in a more true fashion, that it’s more about the fighting than it is about the trash talking that you do outside of the cage, the ring, the Octagon.
“I really think it’s important to hold those values, and I feel like in the western promotion of it all, it’s become much more of a circus. It’s really become watered down in a sense, and I feel like the core fan base that used to be there — more early on in my career or even midway through my career — was more about the fights, and I feel like that’s gotten pushed away.
“We’ve gotten to a fan base that’s a lot more about what people can do and say outside of the Octagon, people flying outside of the cage and attacking people, or the trash talk from Conor McGregor or even Ronda (Rousey),” she continued. “I feel like it’s different than the way that I would choose to approach or be a part of the sport.”
Tate feels that many noteworthy UFC fights go unnoticed because it lacks the entertainment value and theatrics that a Conor McGregor fight brings to the table.
“I think that people are losing the value of the sport, so they don’t care so much about fighting,” she said. They want to see the entertainment aspect, but for the worse. And if it’s not there, then I feel like the sport itself is not drawing anymore. You see these free FOX cards that are incredible fights and nobody’s watching them. The numbers are down because they want to see more than just fighting, and I feel like the value is just being lost.”
Ultimately, Tate believes that it is part of a fighter’s responsibility to act accordingly, since many look up to them as role models.
“I think that as a fighter, as an athlete, as a role model, that we have not only a duty, but an opportunity to influence a younger generation and potentially change people’s lives,” Tate said. “And I think with that, that we should do good. I think that we should the best role models that we can be, and I think that we should teach humility and I think that we should teach integrity, and that’s important to being a martial artist.
Tate also mentioned that she intends to go back to the United States, given that her commitment with ONE Championship is a “loose two-year plan.”