Cat Zingano Injured, Miesha Tate Will Now Coach Opposite Ronda Rousey on TUF 18

McKinley Noble@KenTheGreat1Correspondent IMay 29, 2013

Photo Credit: Strikeforce
Photo Credit: Strikeforce

Miesha "Cupcake" Tate will get her second shot at Ronda Rousey after all.

According to UFC Tonight's official Twitter account and the UFC, Cat Zingano—the No. 1 contender to the UFC women's bantamweight title—has suffered an injury during training that will sideline her from coaching Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter.

#BREAKING: @catzingano has dropped out of TUF Season 18 due to knee injury. She'll be replaced by @mieshatate. Story developing... — UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) May 28, 2013

With Tate stepping in to fill the coaching gap, she will also get to challenge Rousey in a UFC title fight later this year.

Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole provided some additional context to the news, adding that Zingano's injury to her right knee had been kept a secret since May 16—necessitating a change in headliners that Rousey is clearly happy to see:

"This is what we really wanted all along," Rousey told Yahoo! Sports. "Everyone said an Ultimate Fighter between me and Miesha would be the best. We have a personal history with each other and this is a personal show. For some reason, me and Miesha are intertwined in fate like Ali and Frazier or something like that.

"I think people will look back at this as one of the monumental rivalries and look back at this as one of those things that really cemented women's MMA."

As Iole notes, Rousey was unaware of the change until the last minute.

Tate recounted her appearance on the set of TUF 18, stating that her rival had become "visibly angry" upon seeing her show up for filming at the TUF gym.

"It was rewarding to see that," she said. "I was like, 'Yay! This is getting good.' I watched her go to her corner and her corner was up in arms. I was just sitting there in the doorway thinking, 'This is awesome.'

"I felt I was cheated a little in that fight with Cat. I had two solid rounds and one not-so-good round. Either way, I felt I was meant to be here and it's come full circle

This change in headliners is unusual, especially since Tate is just coming off a hard-fought loss via TKO against Zingano last April.

Zingano maintained her undefeated record and pulled off a major upset against Tate in the UFC's second-ever women's bout, catching the former Strikeforce champion with a knee to the face midway into the third round of the title eliminator fight.

Both women won a "Fight of the Night" performance for their efforts, a notable achievement in a dense card full of promising TUF prospects headlined by Urijah Faber.

Despite some controversy over the stoppage, Zingano was confirmed as the opposing TUF 18 coach against Rousey, with both fighters to be the first-ever female coaches on the first-ever co-ed season of the long-running reality show.

But with Zingano out, Tate will finally have a chance to avenge her March 2012 defeat to Rousey, which kickstarted one of the biggest rivalries in MMA to date.

Tate had briefly ruled over the Strikeforce women's bantamweight division for just over seven months after taking the title away from Marloes Coenen, only to quickly lose it to Rousey by a first-round armbar submission defeat.

McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionPC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times.


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