Miesha Tate on upcoming free agency: 'I do want to get paid more'

MMA Fighting

NEW YORK -- Miesha Tate is rapidly approaching free agency, and she believes she's due for a raise.

The UFC bantamweight star was in New York City on Thursday for the promotion's public awareness campaign "Protect Yourself," aimed at spreading the word on the importance of HIV testing and safe sex, particularly for those under 30 years old. Tate and UFC featherweight contender Dennis Bermudez publicly took HIV tests in front of the press.

Following the press conference, Tate (pictured at Thursday's event) told MMAFighting.com that her next fight would be the last on her current four-fight contract, and she preferred to sign a new deal before she fought again.

"I do want to get paid more, of course," she said. "I think my stock's gone up a lot since fighting in the UFC. I think the contract that transpired when I was still in Strikeforce, transitioning to the UFC, doesn't reflect what I feel like I'm worth. So that's a whole process that has to happen."

Tate said she has yet to talk to the UFC about a contract extension. Typically, the organization doesn't like to book a fighter on the last fight of their contract without a new deal in place, however, it has happened recently with the likes of Roy Nelson and Gilbert Melendez, who eventually re-signed with the organization. Tate's situation is unique, though, since the UFC is the only major promotion in the world that features a women's 135-pound division, so she has less leverage.

Tate is 1-2 in the UFC. According to published reports, she made $28,000 to show and $28,000 to win when she picked up her first victory inside the Octagon last month against Liz Carmouche at UFC on FOX 11. Since then, she's expressed interest in welcoming Gina Carano to the UFC, while an old foe, Sarah Kaufman, who defeated Tate by unanimous decision in May 2009, has called her out.

"I haven't responded to it because I don't want to get involved with the childish cattiness of Twitter back-and-forth. I feel like she's trying to suck me into that.

"She's definitely someone that I'm interested in fighting because I did lose a 29-28 back in the day when women's MMA was still only allowed to fight three, three-minute rounds. Definitely, she's someone I have on my radar. I'm just not looking to make a quick turnaround and fight next month, for instance."

The former Strikeforce bantamweight champion said she hasn't put serious thought into when she would like to fight again but mentioned August as a possibility.

In the meantime, Tate continues to be a representative for the UFC, appearing at press conferences like the one in New York on Thursday, working on UFC FIT, and she'll be working as a FOX analyst at UFC 175.

"This is an important campaign and I’m proud to be part of it," Tate said of the "Protect Yourself" program. "Like all UFC athletes, I’ve taken an HIV test prior to every fight. It’s easy to do but it’s so important. Not just for athletes but for everyone -- for themselves and for their partners."

And needless to say, the 27-year-old Tate hopes a new and improved contract will lead to more opportunities in the near future.

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