TUF 18: Surprise!

Boom! Just like that, Cat Zingano is out, and Miesha Tate is back in.7d807_miesha_tate_ronda_rousey_pics_6952921421_9eb7128194_z

UFC’s women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey will now coach against, and then fight, fellow 135er Miesha Tate in the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.

During taping of the first episode of TUF 18, Rousey was “clearly stunned” when Tate came in, and stormed off the set looking for UFC President Dana White. She thought initially that Tate was there to replace her. When she found out that Cat Zingano had in fact been replaced, she was “pleased”. Then she likened herself and Tate to Frazier and Ali. Which is a little weird.

For some reason, the UFC had been aware of Zingano injuring her knee during a workout on May 16, and opted to keep it secret. It will be interesting to see if it was to elicit a “golden tv moment” from Rousey.
The UFC reality series The Ultimate Fighter had already been shaken up for Season 18. This season it will be aired on a new channel (Fox Sports 1) and will include coed participants for the first time.

UFC women bantamweights Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano battled this past April at TUF Finale 17, in only the second women’s MMA bout under the UFC banner. They ended up getting Fight of the Night bonuses, and Zingano bested Tate and earned the additional prize of being one of the first women to coach a season of TUF.

Some fans were letdown when Zingano earned her TKO, since it would be more intriguing to watch Rousey and Tate interact since they have some bad blood. It seems that fate has stepped in and made the correction.

 

The Next Big MMA Thing?

A lot has happened in the last year in the world of mma. UFC got their Fox deal, injuries seemed to affect cards even more than the judges, and the sisters were doing it for themselves.

So with all that’s happened, I wonder what is the next big thing? I’m glad you asked, because of course I have an opinion on it.

The obvious 800 pound gorilla of mma is still the UFC. Some of you will argue with me about that, but for the sake of this article, let’s assume that I’m right. (Cuz I am). All things mma still rotate around this Zuffa Sun.

The 3rd biggest thing, or at least having that potential is Strikeforce. What’s going to happen to this promotion? Will it be absorbed into the UFC? (Both are owned by the same parent company Zuffa) Will it be developed into a sort of minor league brand that develops exciting young fighters into Ultimate Fighters? ¬†Will it be where old legends ride off to at the tail end of their careers? Or will it transition into the premier brand of women mma action?

Strikeforce still has more questions than answers. We may look back next year and find the asian promotion Onefc in this Top 3 instead of Strikeforce.

Number 2 with a bullet is Bellator. As they wind down their deal with the UFC, Spike TV inked a deal to carry Bellator content including a reality series. We will soon see who built who. Did TUF build Spike, or did Spike build TUF? Will the tournament style business model of Bellator survive?

Or will Bellator simply just be content with feeding the UFC?

To me the next big thing is women’s mma, and more specifically, Invicta’s brand of women’s mma. Last weekend, Invicta streamed their 3rd event on the web freely for all new and seasoned women’s mma fans. And it delivered the goods.

Strikeforce and early fighters like Gina Carano may have laid the groundwork, but it appears that Invicta is ready to build the house. The job Shannon Knapp has done in a relatively short time is amazing. The production last Saturday was stellar and the action was non friggin’ stop.

Zuffa still owns the hottest properties (no pun intended) in Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg Santos, Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman, and on and on. But Invicta has straight up killer female fighters and are not afraid to graduate them to Zuffa.

At last week’s Invicta 3, they crowned their first champion at 105 pounds or as it termed, Atomweight. How player is that?