When it was announced that Miesha Tate would be stepping up as coach opposite Ronda Rousey on The Ultimate Fighter 18 to fill in for an injured Cat Zingano, there were those who felt the UFC missed a big opportunity to bring in Sara McMann to fill the spot. McMann, undefeated at 7-0 in her pro MMA career, is a 2004 Olympic silver medalist in wrestling. Rousey is a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo. Two Olympic medalists going head to head in the first-ever Ultimate Fighter not only featuring females, but being coached by females, that just makes too much sense apparently.
Nothing against Tate mind you. It’s just that she and Rousey have already fought once and Tate lost. On top of that, she is coming off a loss to Zingano in her UFC debut in April. At the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter, as is the custom, the coaches will fight one another — but this one will be for Rousey’s UFC women’s bantamweight title. So, it’s not often we see a fighter coming off a loss getting a title shot. Chael Sonnen did it. Now Tate will do it.
Asked her opinion on the UFC’s decision to go with Tate, McMann told ProMMAnow.com’s Daniel Theodore, “I’m not actually that surprised because those girls were fighting for the title shot, so anybody else that would have been scheduled to fight were regular fights, not exactly title contention. It’s very unfortunate for Cat [Zingago]. I’m sure that she’s very bummed about missing this opportunity but I kind of would have expected Miesha would be the replacement if you had asked me before.”
McMann was asked if she was disappointed she didn’t get the call to coach on TUF 18 when Zingano was injured. “If they already knew who they had in mind and who they wanted to put on the show, it doesn’t really make sense to call and offer an opportunity you don’t really want to give to somebody,” McMann stated. “I think that being on a TV show rather than just fighting for a title shot, that’s a different kind of beast. And I think that someone like Miesha really wants that opportunity and really is more geared for that.”
As someone who has competed at the highest levels, McMann still appears to be driven by her competitive spirit. The bright lights of television seem to have little to no appeal. “Personally, I would rather just have the title shot rather than going through The Ultimate Fighter,” McMann said. “I thought that maybe I would have wanted it, but once I heard that Cat was out it did solidify that I don’t really want to be on The Ultimate Fighter. That might be bad, people might think I’m ridiculous to pass up an opportunity like that if it was presented but some things are for some people and not for everybody.”
The Ultimate Fighter season 18 is currently under production in Las Vegas. The UFC reality show showcasing male and female bantamweights is scheduled to premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 4, on Fox Sports 1.