mma / Columns

Miesha Tate Says Ronda Rousey Was Not Gracious in Defeat, Discusses Her Executive Role With One Championship, and Retiring From Active Competition

February 28, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Miesha Tate

In case you’ve been wondering about the current status of former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Miesha Tate, she is now the Vice President of ONE Championship. After retiring from active MMA competition in 2016, Tate joined ONE Championship in a new executive role. Recently, 411 got the chance to speak with Miesha in a one-on-one interview at this week’s ONE Championship Open Workout session in Los Angeles.

Miesha Tate finished her MMA career with an 18-7 record. She went on to hold the bantamweight title in Strikeforce and eventually the title in the same division in the UFC. In March 2016 at UFC 196, Tate submitted then-undefeated Holly Holm in the fifth round to capture the belt in a massive upset and come-from-behind victory.

Recently, Miesha Tate became a mother, giving birth to her first child, daughter Amaia Nevaeh Nuñez, last June. Also, she currently cohosts her own radio for Sirius XM, MMA tonight. Tate was gracious enough to speak with 411 regarding her current work as Vice President for ONE Championship, her historic career, her epic rivalry with Ronda Rousey, and more.

Jeffrey Harris: How did this journey of joining ONE Championship start for you?

Miesha Tate: Actually, believe it or not, it started when I was still under the UFC banner. They had brought me to Singapore to raise some awareness for the UFC. And [ONE Championship CEO and Founder] Chatri Sityodtong hosted this seminar(?) at their gym. We just developed a relationship, and I kept it in the back of my mind. If you go back and look at my interviews then, you’ll see me saying, “I think I can live here someday.” It took quite a few years, but after I had my daughter, and I have a wonderful man by my side Johnny [Nunez], it just dawned me one day that I wanted to do something bigger than what I was doing. I called up Chatri, and I said, “What do you think about us coming over there? What do you think about me coming over there and working for ONE Championship or Evolve.” He’s like, “Done. Let’s do it. I thought you’d never ask.”

Jeffrey Harris: When If first met you, it was the night of Cyborg vs. Carano almost 10 years ago. Since that time, you became Strikeforce champion and later UFC champion, and now, you’re an MMA executive. So, what’s this journey been like for the last 10 years for you?

Miesha Tate: It’s wild. When you put it in perspective like that, it really is humbling to me because I started in a place that was so different from where I am today. Not different in a bad way, it’s just that I didn’t have the opportunity when I first started. So, it’s kind of crazy to me that I did end up in such a great place, but it really does speak to if you are passionately ambitious and you follow your heart and your dreams, that’s basically what’s going to happen.

Jeffrey Harris: At the time, you were hoping to get a fight with Kim Couture that fell through, and in the last decade women’s MMA has really blown up and become one of the biggest things in the sport. And I hope you feel proud because I believe that doesn’t really happen without you.

Miesha Tate: Thank you. I do. I’m happy that I could be a part of it, and I definitely feel a sense of pride to know that I helped shape the landscape of where women’s MMA is today. And I’m not done. I’m just getting started. That’s just 10-12 years that I competed, and now onto I’m helping the athletes develop in ONE Championship.

Jeffrey Harris: When you retired from competition, did having held the UFC title before make it easier for you to make the decision to retire from active competition?

Miesha Tate: That’s a good question. I guess I can’t look at it any other way to be honest. I’m not sure if I would’ve still been as motivated to keep going had I not captured that UFC World Championship at one point. But I guess I can say that look at it now, I did everything that I wanted to do.

Jeffrey Harris: I guess an easier way to put it would be did it help complete your story for your fight career?

Miesha Tate: Yes. I think that the storyline of how I became a world champion and it was nearly 10 years to the day that I turned professional to when I actually captured the world title. So, it was a tremendous amount of work, and it’s an interesting storyline for myself.

Jeffrey Harris: What is your vision for what you want to bring to ONE Championship?

Miesha Tate: I would really like to head some new charity projects. I know that Chatri has been pretty open that he wants to end severe world poverty. So, anyone that is severely poor, like they don’t have clean water and the basic necessities, and I think that’s a huge goal. But I love that, and I love the idea of taking on a challenge. So I think for me, that would be something that I would love to head with ONE Championship.

Jeffrey Harris: What are the broadcasting plans for ONE Championship? Will fans in the US be able to watch it?

Miesha Tate: Yes, absolutely. Bleacher Report Live, you’ll be able to watch all the shows aired live, and there will be 12 one-hour cards that will be on Trigger Sports that will often times re-air the same day later, since due to the time difference. But yes, you’ll be able to catch a lot more ONE Championship action, and it will be much more readily available.

Jeffrey Harris: When I see the lineup that was here at the open workouts, it looks like ONE Championship is making power moves in terms of signings with fighters such as Demetrious Johnson, Sage Northcutt, and Eddie Alvarez. What do you think of all this great talent that’s now part of the ONE Championship banner?

Miesha Tate: Well, it’s pretty incredible to think where ONE Championship started and where ONE Championship is now and how short of a time that is. Even Rich Franklin was saying, “Just five years ago, there was only 15 employees.” Now look. They went from 700 viewers per show to over 20 million currently. That’s a huge number. When you put that into perspective, one million pay-per-view buys is considered a success for the UFC. ONE Championship is currently averaging 20 million viewers per card. The marketing is brilliant, and I’m very excited to put my name behind it.

Jeffrey Harris: Not to bring up any bad blood, but when you see Ronda Rousey’s transition from MMA to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), do you have any thoughts on that?

Miesha Tate: Not really, no. I’m happy for her. She’s doing what makes her happy, and I’m doing what makes me happy. And we’re on totally different paths as we always were really. I mean we had paths that intersected twice, and unfortunately, that didn’t go my way. But we will probably always remain rivals.

Jeffrey Harris: I think the reason the feud between you two was so lucrative is that people really believed you didn’t like each other, and the truth is —

Miesha Tate: We didn’t really like each other.

Jeffrey Harris: Right. It felt real.

Miesha Tate: Yeah, it is.

Jeffrey Harris: But if you were to meet her again, do you think you could be civil with each other?

Miesha Tate: We’d just ignore each other. I don’t think there’s a need to be civil. You know, I tried to one time to be civil to her, and —

Jeffrey Harries: You tried to shake hands with her.

Miesha Tate: — Tried to shake hands with her, you know, to just be the bigger woman in a moment of defeat. But I respect Ronda tremendously as an athlete. I just don’t appreciate her as a person.

Jeffrey Harris: In terms of her having to deal with losing, do you think she did not handle defeat very well? Do you think she was gracious in defeat when it finally happened to her?

Miesha Tate: I can’t say that I felt she was gracious in defeat. I think that she handled it pretty poorly. She left a lot of her fans kind of hanging out to dry. And I know that there was a lot of little girls that really looked up to Ronda, and she was such an inspiration to so many. And for that, I’m thankful, but I’m disheartened to think of how many people were just kind of left in the dark knowing she never still really officially announced a retirement or anything like that.

Jeffrey Harris: Last question, is there any message you’d like to send regarding ONE Championship or anyone you’d like to thank or give a shoutout to?

Miesha Tate: I would just like to give a big thank you to ONE Championship for not only bringing myself on, but bring on such great people to work with. The lineup, as you mentioned, it’s just exciting to see the talent and for us continuing to grow. I’m very excited for the product to continue to grow.

Thank you to Miesha Tate for taking the time to speak with us.

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