Ripped off. Cheated. Confused. Infuriated. Disappointed. Cheapened.
Following the announcement of Holly Holm being given the title shot against Ronda Rousey at UFC 195, who would you think these emotions would describe? The easy answer would be Miesha Tate, of course. However, these emotions were probably felt by a hefty portion of the UFC’s fans and the MMA media, myself included.
It takes a lot of effort to be a UFC fan. It really does. Let me be perfectly clear that I do believe that the UFC puts out a phenomenal product, but some of the things the company does over there makes it hard to feel good about the amount of time invested in covering the organization.
We can glance over the preferential treatment some fighters get compared to others when it comes to discipline. We can turn our head as the UFC continues to make decisions that appear to be in the best interest of the promotion’s bottom line and not the fighters. Now, we are also expected to ignore the fact that the UFC’s rankings system means absolutely nothing. Instead, the way the UFC promotes one fighter over another appears to be decided by UFC President Dana White throwing a dart.
Tate deserves the fight against Rousey. The only rebuttal you’ll hear from people is that she’s already lost twice to the champion. But shouldn’t Tate’s status as the No. 1 contender mean something? Not only does Tate stand atop the list of potential challengers in the rankings, but White also said himself that she was next for Rousey when he stated, “She has worked her way back to Ronda Rousey,” during the UFC on Fox 16 post-fight press conference. It’s hard to be a supporter of White when he has started to make a habit of contradicting himself. It’s a shame, too, because he really does make himself available to the media and often times during fight week he thanks the writers for the continued support and publicity we give to the organization. My encounters with him have been nothing but positive, but I’ve fallen into the boat with my colleagues and the fans who are fed up with the contradictions of the UFC.
It’s been established that Tate got screwed to the fullest extent of the context of that word in getting passed over for Holm. Is this the best move going forward? Absolutely not. Giving Holm the title shot further discredits the UFC ranking system and raises more eyebrows as to what’s really going on behind the scenes at the UFC. Holm has not looked great in her two UFC fights, and those two wins came against fighters with a combined 4-3 UFC record. Of course, the UFC is going to market Holm as a 9-0 fighter, but didn’t the company already do that with Bethe Correia? How’d that work out again? It’s a reach, but that’s what the organization has to run with in order to build up the interest in Holm.
The UFC is priming themselves for a Rousey showdown with Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino at UFC 200 in July 2016. That’s not official by any means, but it is ever so apparent that the promotion is throwing Rousey another opponent that has no shot of beating her. It appears the UFC wouldn’t want to risk Rousey losing and putting a dent in the big Rousey vs. Cyborg plans. That’s exactly what the UFC would be risking by giving Tate what she deserves.
I really don’t enjoy turning opinion pieces into rants, but I believe it was a truly pathetic move by the UFC to toss Tate aside and give Holm the title fight. It’s a terrible example of a fighter working her way back to the top and not being rewarded for it, and it makes a complete joke out of the UFC’s ranking system.
Maybe it’s time the UFC got rid of the rankings entirely. The rankings certainly don’t have any real substance, nor do they seem to correlate with determining the true No. 1 contender. Will Holm give Rousey a good fight? No, but it’ll do exactly what the UFC is setting out to do, which is to keep Rousey undefeated and match her up with Cyborg.