Greg Bartram, US PRESSWIRE
No fighter plans on becoming a fixture on someone else's highlight reel, especially in the smoldering fog of a grudge match.
So when former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate found herself befalling the same fate as seven other women before her, trapped underneath Ronda Rousey with her left arm dangerously close to snapping in two, the thought of tapping seemed somewhat ludicrous. Only when there was no other option did finally she relent, handing Rousey the victory and the belt.
Tate's mangled limb was a shocking image for viewers witnessing from home -- the footage is so grisly, weeks later her family members still refuse to watch it -- but would "Takedown" have called it quits sooner if anyone else on the planet was the one wrenching her arm from its socket?
"It's possible," Tate admitted on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour.
"Obviously I knew (the risk) going into that. It didn't catch me by surprise. A lot of people like Bryan (Caraway) say, ‘you're crazy. How did you not tap to that?' I think because I was prepared for that mentally. Not that I was ever planning on being there, but I knew that if I got into that position, it was a realistic possibility, and so I was prepared.
"I felt my arm go in, and I was like, ‘you know, I don't want to tap,'" she continued. "And I didn't. So I felt my hand touch the back of her thigh and I knew everything was really bad. I just didn't know at that point. I didn't feel there was a way out of it. I had no idea how much longer there was on the clock and it just felt like things were getting worse and worse. And I was like, ‘I just don't know how much of this my arm can take.' I think that's when common sense started to settle in, rather than pure stubbornness."
Tate was lucky to have come to that realization when she did. The extent of the damage done to her is arm is still in question, but despite the gruesomeness of the contortion, x-rays have shown there to be no broken bones. The 25-year-old Tate is currently waiting on MRI results to determine if surgery is required, but she is "pretty sure" she has torn ligament towards the inner side of her elbow. Though if you saw her walking around, beside some slight swelling and bruising, it'd be hard to tell the difference.
As for the question of if the former champion would handle the finish differently in hindsight, Tate was noncommittal. However, she made it exceptionally clear that she wouldn't fall for the same trick twice if given the chance.
"I, personally, would love the opportunity to have a rematch," Tate protested. "I think at a high level, it takes one mistake. Anyone can make a mistake at any moment and someone's able to capitalize on that.
"I don't feel that Ronda proved anything other than what she's already (proved) -- that she has one thing that she's great at. Really phenomenal at. But everything else, I could beat her. Give me another shot. I think it was competitive. I think for the most part I was probably winning. And I think at a competitive high level, one day one person could beat the one person, and the other day the other person would beat the other person."
While the bad blood between both women clearly still lingers in the air, Tate did offer a salute of respect to her rival, acknowledging that what Rousey had done in a short amount of time was relatively remarkable. Surprisingly, Tate also picked Rousey to defeat Sarah Kaufman in her upcoming title defense, explaining that Kaufman's style plays right in Rousey's strengths.
Ultimately, however, Tate understands that despite their differences, both she and Rousey are in the same boat, fighting the frustrating uphill battle to gain respect for women's MMA. And in that regard, with reports of 506,000 viewers tuning in to watch the most heavily-hyped women's match since 2009, Tate believes they succeeded.
"I wanted to go out there and I wanted to make a very bold statement," she concluded. "I'm not just a cute girl. I'm not here to be cute for the camera. I wanted to show that women's MMA is legit. We come out there and we fight very, very hard.
"We can definitely carry the main event. We can definitely draw the numbers. We can definitely entertain, and we're also really skilled. And I think that, in the big picture, we accomplished that."
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