It comes as no surprise Miesha Tate and UFC bantamweight women's champion Ronda Rousey don't like each other. And from what's been made available to the public to tease their coaching stint on the upcoming season of 'The Ultimate Fighter' (TUF), the rivalry between the top women's seems to have picked up where it, well, it never really left off.
But to hear Tate tell it, as she did in a Google Hangout on FoxSports.com on Friday, their rivalry isn't just more intense than ever; it's also different. It's now worse, more aggressive, and unrelenting. Tate believes that change came out of nowhere only because it was Rousey and only Rousey who escalated everything.
"I've had people I've worked with before that I didn't get along with or whatever, but never to this extent. I don't know what her reasoning was for it, but at one point she just flipped a switch and she just became this mega b---h," Tate said. "For the rest of the season, it was just horrible having to deal with her."
According to Tate, after "probably about a week in" Rousey and the dynamic between the two coaches changed without explanation, event or incident. It "was all a downhill slope from there," she claimed.
Due to contractual demands, Tate could not provide specific example of Rousey's alleged rage, but she did speculate about the cause of it all. In Tate's mind, it's because she changed herself. Where she was once filled with jealousy and petty hate for Rousey, she's now content and fulfilled. Tate says she chose to let that go and believes Rousey picked up on the difference, which ultimately drove her insane.
"I'm not going to lie," Tate confessed, "I was jealous and I was like, 'You know what? She's this and that and didn't deserve a title shot.' That was an immature stance at that time in my life, but after the loss it forced me to grow up and be like 'Hey, you know what? She did deserve that title shot. She won and she's a talented athlete and look where she's taken women's MMA.' That's the reality of it. I just had to accept that and try to be appreciative so I can continue being a happy person that I would rather be."
"I kind of let that be known and I think that she caught wind of it," Tate continued. "I think when I walked in the door, we had a different kind of vibe."
Tate believes Rousey's apparently heightened aggression stems from the fact that an insecure Tate could be emotionally manipulated. Now that she no longer holds jealousy for Rousey, Tate believes Rousey's inability to control her drives the champion crazy.
"She puts on this tough girl act. She flips me off, she cusses me out, she does all these things I really think deep down inside because she respects me a lot. She is realizing the first time [we fought] that she was able to get away with that and it bothered me and she was able to emotionally manipulate me. This time it's not. I think she's even more aggravated about it and that's why she's really escalated," Tate said.
Tate was ultimately asked during the Hangout about a recent media screening of the first episode of the new TUF where she, Rousey and UFC President Dana White attended. While Tate seemed to be enjoyed the moment, most accounts of Rousey were that she was miserable and didn't want to be there. When asked why there was a disparity in responses, Tate believes it's because Rousey is ashamed of how she's presented. Worse, Tate also argues the audience is being treated to the 'true' Rousey, one that's been disguised with clever marketing up until now.
"Ronda has been the 'cool girl'. A lot of times the bully in school is the 'cool person', but when you grow up and start to realize that's not cool, people will see the truth. They'll see why it's been impossible for me to like Ronda.
"There's no way I could possibly like her," Tate claimed. "She's been incredibly rude to me from the very beginning. That's how our rivalry got started. It's not going to change with her attitude. She was very disrespectful on the show. I think that's what she's more worried because honestly, her true colors came out in that six weeks."
Tate went as far to suggest fame and attention has made Rousey a different person. The title challenger claimed Rousey was hard to work with for production staff behind the scenes, intentionally and flagrantly broke the rules and treated people poorly simply because she could.
Whether any of this is true is impossible to tell from this distance, but one thing is for sure: even if Rousey and Tate are different people, their rivalry and the emotions they provoke and basically intact. The more things change between Rousey and Tate, the more they stay the same.
"[Rousey]'s happy and laughing when she's making jokes at someone else's expense," said Tate. "Other than that, she's a pretty rude person."