According to a report Tuesday on Pro MMA Insider, the UFC announced that the highly anticipated upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will be missing Cat Zingano.
Zingano, who beat Miesha Tate to earn the coveted starring role on the show was said to have injured her knee earlier in the month, forcing her to bow out of the show. In her place, Tate will step in and renew her heated rivalry with Ronda Rousey. Filming for the show began Tuesday in Las Vegas.
While Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey are no fans of each other, and their animosity is likely to make for thrilling television, many fans and pundits alike are wondering why Tate has been elevated to a title shot coming off a knockout loss. But considering the UFC has been giving title shots to fighters coming off losses regularly, as of late, it should really be no surprise. Especially when you consider that this is the matchup that they clearly coveted in the first place.
Apparently, Rousey was as surprised as anyone when she learned that Tate was now coaching opposite her. She only discovered the change when Tate actually walked out to begin the filming for the show. Angry, she stormed out of the training facility to seek clarification from Dana White.
“The Ultimate Fighter 18” will debut in September, and for the first time will feature both male and female fighters. Though the show has seen its ratings dip over the past several years, the inclusion of the females to the cast have created a buzz the show hasn’t had since Kimbo Slice appeared on the show.
Cat Zingano won the right to coach opposite the UFC women’s champion Ronda Rousey when she knocked out Miesha Tate at the finale of “The Ultimate Fighter 17.” Although Zingano is undefeated, it appeared that the UFC had been banking on a Tate victory that would set up a rematch of two of the most popular female fighters who also share a distinct dislike for one another.
On Tuesday Cat Zingano underwent surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, as well as doing some other cleanup on the knee which she injured during training. She said the injury will keep her from training for the next six to nine months.
Despite the heat he is receiving for granting Tate the spot, Dana White defended the decision.
“Miesha has the most experience,” White said. “She’d probably won the first two rounds of that fight with Cat and if it had gone to the cards, she’d probably have won by decision. The nice thing having Cat in there coaching against Ronda is that Cat was undefeated, and so we had this whole thing of two undefeated fighters facing off.
“But with Miesha, she and Ronda already had a great fight and they have a history together. They don’t like each other. We’ll make it work. We always do. You know how I say every day when I wake up, I know some bad [expletive] is going to happen? Well, this was one of them, but we’re doing the best we can here.”
While the new pairing may up the drama of the television show, time will tell if the UFC did so at the expense of legitimate competition. Tate will have a lot to prove considering she lost in such a violent manner her last time out.