Morning Report: Bryan Caraway changing tune on Ronda Rousey

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After a very ugly, public feud with UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, fellow bantamweight Bryan Caraway is working to keep his nose clean when it comes to 'Rowdy.' Although some fans may be expecting fireworks between Caraway and Rousey on this season of The Ultimate Fighter, Caraway says he no longer bears any malice towards her.

"I don't have any ill thoughts or bad intentions toward Ronda. I don't hate her and I want her to know that," Caraway told SI.com this week. "She's a talented, world-class athlete. I think she's a stud fighter. I just don't agree with the way she approaches things and conducts herself. I don't feel like she's a role model and I think there's a lot better ways to go about it. Her, Miesha and I are just completely different types of people."

Caraway's presence as an assistant to TUF coach Miesha Tate brought a certain intrigue leading up to this season of as fans wait to see he and Rousey finally clash. Caraway, the long-time boyfriend of Tate, has a history with Rousey dating back to the Strikeforce women's bantamweight title bout last March. Responding to an antagonizing fan, Caraway tweeted "if [Rousey] wants to challenge a man I'll knock her teeth dwn (sic) her throat the (sic) break her arm!"

Even so, Tate credits Caraway's participation as giving her team an edge rather than be a distraction.

"He was instrumental in the whole process because he'd been on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter," Tate told SI.com this week. He was able to relate to the fighters in a way the rest of the staff just couldn't. We didn't have the experience of being locked up in a house for six weeks like he had."

Tate, who challenges Rousey for the women's bantamweight title at UFC 168 in December, assumed her role as coach after a knee injury to Cat Zingano forced her to withdraw. Zingano, who has her own history with Caraway, scored a TKO victory over Tate in April at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. The winner was to be assured a coaching spot opposite Rousey prior to an eventual title bout.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Alistair Overeem vs. Frank Mir set for UFC 167: Great fight, better card. The UFC is pulling out all the stops for its big 20th anniversary show.

FOX Sports 1 by the numbers. Dave Meltzer goes into amazing detail of the UFC's affect on ratings for the launch of FS1. UFC president Dana White responded to our Ariel Helwani.

Jacare wanted to make statement with Okami. "I came here to destroy my opponent, finish the fight quick," Souza said at the post-fight press-conference. "I wanted to shock the world."

Glover not enough for Jones. Luke Thomas makes the case as to why Glover Teixeira doesn't pose an overwhelming threat to Jon Jones' UFC light heavyweight crown.

Meet our TUF blogger, Julianna Pena. Set to face Shayna Baszler on next week's episode, Pena chats with our own Shaun Al-Shatti about last night's premier. "I was happy to see her, but at the same time, ‘No! Don't hug me! Ronda's going to see you hugging me and she's not going to pick me on her team!' (Laughs.) But at that point it was really too late."

TUF observations: Chuck Mindenhall breaks down exactly why the UFC needed to move away from its stale format to get people intrigued in TUF again. "Just like the very first TUF, when Forrest Griffin, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez were the players -- back when "spritzing" was all the rage -- the women on the show figure to factor into the UFC's landscape when all is said and done."

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MEDIA STEW

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Ronda says she'd be worried about being sued if she ever slapped Miesha Tate.

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An extended preview of UFC 165.

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UFC Ultimate Insider profiles Team Alpha Male head coach Duane Lugwig.

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A little early for hanging mistletoe, but to each his own. It's Nick Diaz, after all.

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Josh Thompson stars in the upcoming Fist of the Dragon, not to be confused with Fist of Dragon or Fist of the Red Dragon. Look for it in theaters this Christmas.

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TWEETS

The victory lap.

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Struve not giving up.

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A nearly beardless Hendricks just seems unnatural.

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Not sure if it's the angle, but Vitor looks massive.

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Dana defends TUF.

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The heart of a champion. I think Bart and I might be cut from the same cloth.

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Akira Corassani and Bryan Caraway patch things up.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced Yesterday (Sept. 5 2013)

Rafael 'Feijao' Cavalcante vs. Igor Pokrajac to UFC Fight Night 32

Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem added to UFC 167

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via MMA Fighting member Tkeaner.

Moneyweights: The Growing Abyss

There are currently 9 weight classes wherein the UFC employs a champion, none of which hold the title of the fastest growing division. That title, however dubious under these circumstances, belongs to the "Moneyweights"; or that abyss of fighters that seems to be forming between the 185lb and 205lb weight classes.

In years past, the UFC's moneyweight division once consisted of only a couple of fighters such as Rich Franklin or Wanderlei Silva. They have been joined in recent months, thanks to the sustained dominance of Jon Jones and Anderson Silva, by the likes of Chael Sonnen, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort. Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua and Dan Henderson seem destined to follow in the coming months. These fighters all have two things in common. They have lost to the current champion (in most cases rather convincingly) or a top contender and they are all still relevant, big names that the UFC can promote in big fights. The logic is simple; they no longer have a path to the title, so hey what not take some big fights? There is even more motivation to do so for fighters moving up in weight as they have much more to gain. For example, Chael Sonnen lost two fights to middleweight champion Anderson Silva. If he goes up to light heavyweight and wins a couple of fights, goes back down to middleweight and wins a fight, one could project that he would be right back at the front of the line for a title shot at 185lbs (most likely only if Weidman beats Silva in December but you never know with Chael). Sonnen has substantially more to gain, financially and otherwise, if he goes up in weight and fights some promotable names rather than stay and toil in the middleweight division as gatekeeper.

This is the reality facing all of these fighters mentioned; stay in their current division and become a gatekeeper as long as the current champion remains or become a moneyweight and hope one day you retain that contender status? The UFC certainly prefers the latter. It frees up matchmaking restrictions and creates fights with main event caliber fighters that would be otherwise unattainable. It is only a matter of time before each of these fighters settle into one division or the other so it is wise to capitalize when possible. But for as long as they are willing, the UFC seems to be more than happy to be in the Moneyweight business.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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