Last night and for all that watched the final episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 18, you know that the show closed with a stare-down between the two coaches, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, and as a pre-cursor to their upcoming December 28th, UFC 168 bout.
Also and again, if you’ve been following the show or even the entire pre-show saga between these two fighters, then you know Ronda Rousey loves “flipping off” Miesha Tate. To the point, Rousey’s extended middle finger, sometimes fired as a matched set when she elects to raise both hands, have become for all intents-and-purposes, her trademark calling card; particularly where Miesha Tate is concerned. As Tate herself notes in the video, she’s become “notorious” for doing it to her “all season”.
In reflection upon their relationship, and yes, it’s a relationship, one based on mutual animosity, most fans would probably agree that Rousey has egged it on or never let it go; pick your choice. That regardless of how it all started, Rousey has been confrontational and angry, when it comes to all things Miesha Tate; fair enough, it is the fight game, after all.
That said, Tate’s fans, whose ranks have swelled this TUF season with Rousey haters, have yet to see Tate actually get up in Rousey’s face. To be honest, it’s seemed that ever since they first clashed back in March of last year and even in lead-up to their fight, Rousey always got the better of Tate. It was quite literally as if she was in her head and more specifically, it seemed as if Tate was intimidated by Rousey.
Perhaps the best way to describe it is by comparing their cage monikers, “Rowdy” vs. “Cupcake”. In a nutshell, that probably sums it up. The one, Rousey, has been a Rowdy, combative, never let you up fighter, that is competitive at everything she does. Further, she’s not only competitive, but she’s constantly trying to be the best at everything and anything she does; she’s super-competitive. Simply put, the woman doesn’t like to lose at anything. Given the business she’s in it’s not a bad mindset to have, actually.
On the other hand, Cupcake Tate is just that, a Cupcake; sweet and nice. Although she might be capable of pulling the occasional prank, she has, up until last night, shown no real spunk or willingness to engage / challenge her arch rival. However, last night that might have changed.
In their stand-off, fans saw a different Miesha Tate and one that was not only no longer afraid of Rousey, but apparently proactively willing to start pushing her buttons while standing face-to-face.
First, Tate gave Rousey a pair of socks and while smiling, she held them up to Ronda, displaying to her the "universal signal" embroidered on them; an extended middle finger. With that, Rousey snatched the socks out of Cupcake's hands, swiped at Miesha's face with them, and then glared the angriest fight face she could muster at Tate; riveting stuff.
To that, Tate simply looked at her, a big smile on her face, and blew Ronda a kiss. At that point, UFC President Dana White stepped in and separated the two fighters. An angry Rousey, subsequently left the Octagon. All this, while Miesha looked on smiling and laughing at her.
On the face of it, Tate seemed to have gotten the better of the confrontation and for the first time that fans have seen, Miesha seemed to have a different vibe about her. She no longer seemed to be intimidated by Rousey. To the point, and as the pair was set to leave the gym, Rousey went up to Tate and stated the following:
“Get used to wiping your *** with the other hand, you f**king b***h.”
To that Tate just started laughing.
For Tate’s fans, it was a glorious moment. Finally, it was if she had found not only her nerve, but at the same time, had found a way to start playing with Rousey’s overly emotional psyche; if so, good for Tate.
However and before Tate’s fans go running off the deep end with joy that their fighter seems to have grown mentally, she still has to actually beat Rousey in the cage, and that’s not going to be easy. Yes, pushing Rousey’s buttons might be a good thing and even give her an advantage going into the fight. Perhaps it will even be enough to cause Ronda to fight with emotion and make a mistake, during their fight. However, it could also have the opposite affect and do nothing more than further motivate and already motivated champion. Odds would be good that Rousey fans would pick the later scenario over the former, as being the one that will ring true.
The great thing for fans is that they’ll get to find out the truth of it all in less than a month.