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Cat Zingano says Amanda Nunes came off like a ‘blatantly disrespectful a**hole’ after TKO of Ronda Rousey

UFC 184 Workout Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Heading into UFC 207, one particular spectator with inside knowledge of both Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey didn’t have a clue as to how it would go. Yet Cat Zingano — the last fighter to defeat Nunes, and one of Rousey’s victims during her four-year tirade in the division — watched with what she called genuine curiosity as to who would show up, and in which form.

Zingano said she felt a wave of emotion roll through her as Nunes pieced Rousey up for the 48 seconds the fight lasted. And her initial reaction was that Nunes, who became the first to defend the women’s bantamweight title since Rousey defended against Bethe Correia, couldn’t have come off better.

Then, in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Zingano said she felt the tide turn as Nunes essentially began desecrating a historic landmark.

“Amanda was great, she went out there and beat her decisively, quickly,” Zingano told MMA Fighting. “Immediately when the fight was stopped I was like, damn, good show. Props. And then, within two minutes, my entire impression and everything changed. Because as soon as they handed Amanda the microphone she just started going off, and being completely disrespectful and being an asshole, being like, ‘forget Ronda, forget Ronda.’

“It’s like, first of all, if there was no Ronda there would be no Amanda. No one would know who the hell you are, and we wouldn’t be here today. And on top of that, Ronda as an athlete, she found a way. She found a way to get us in, and it was by being an asshole. And it was by being entertaining, whether it was positive or negative, she gave everybody what they wanted to see, which was either to hate to love her, or love to hate her. She gave that to people.”

Compounding matters further in Zingano’s mind was a tweet that Nunes sent out hours after the victory, which depicted Nunes with a belt pushing Rousey in a stroller.

Zingano voiced her displeasure with the display a few days later with a tweet directed at Nunes, that read, “I’m not petitioning a rematch yet @Amanda_Leoa I’ll earn it. You’re disrespectful of @RondaRousey & I detest you for being ungrateful @UFC.”

Zingano was offended by Nunes’ disregard for Rousey, and felt compelled to stand by her.

“Every time I’ve been around Ronda, every time I’ve talked to people we have in common, which is a lot, we’re cool, and I respect her,” she said. “I respect her to a level where I can’t get close to her and she can’t get close to me, because one day I still want to beat her ass.

“But, I do respect her. We have a lot of unfortunate things in common, which takes us to a whole different level and a whole different club. I do respect her, and I do honor what she’s done for me in my life, and what she represents for my family and my son. And when Amanda just comes out being a blatantly disrespectful asshole, I’m going to treat her like she’s a disrespectful asshole. That’s why she’s getting what she’s getting from me.”

One thing that Zingano, who lost a decision to Julianna Pena at UFC 200, wanted to make clear was that she wasn’t angling for an automatic fight with Nunes by voicing her opinion on the matter. She insists she wants to earn her way back to the belt, regardless if Nunes is holding it by the time she gets there or not.

“I’m not trying to hype a fight,” she said. “I’m not trying to get my title shot right away, I want to earn it. I have gotten what I needed to out of my losses, which was that I hate to fucking lose. I didn’t lose to get a title shot. I didn’t lose to boast of how good I am. I lost so I could learn what I needed to learn, and make the changes necessary to get to where I am today.

“It’s not about Amanda and who Amanda is and that I beat Amanda. She’s sitting here saying that she’s evolved since then, that she wasn’t doing good then, she wasn’t as good as she is now. Okay, fine, but mind you, [for that fight] I’m coming off an 18-month layoff with complete ACL replacement, and my meniscus in my other knee being torn, my husband committed suicide, and my coach with my husband died. So, you can’t imagine that I’m on top of my game either. So if that’s what I did to her when I was feeling like shit, then she got lucky. Because it could have been a lot worse.”

The 34-year old Zingano, a Colorado native who now trains at Alliance MMA in San Diego, said this can be an unforgiving sport from the fans alone, without the aid of the fighters themselves exacerbating the situation.

“The thing to me about this sport, all the fans, everyone that watches, everyone that has a career has had a bad day at work,” she said. “If you have a project, you have a quota that you have to meet, you can screw up at it. At the end of the day you get to go home to your family, you can bring your work home with you not. You can dwell on it, you can be pissed, you can get over it, whatever. Everybody had a bad day. It’s possible to have two bad days in a row. And in this sport it’s so unforgiving.

“It’s like, if I went to somebody at their accounting job, and they were crunching some numbers for a home evaluation or whatever, and that person wasn’t happy or was kind of down and it affected their work output, if they had a bad day I wouldn’t sit right outside their office window and be like, ‘haha, you piece of shit! You suck! You’re horrible at crunching numbers. You should just quit and go away and never do that shit again.’ No one is sitting there judging them on their jobs.”

Zingano said that part of what makes women’s MMA fun heading into 2017 is that it’s still unpredictable, and it’s still in its relative infancy. That’s what made the Rousey-Nunes fight compelling heading in.

“With us women, it’s still very juvenile with us,” she said. “Like with the men back in the day, it’s feisty. You don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s aggressive and crazy, and I think those things are still a huge component in women’s MMA at this level at this time. It’s hard to know what to expect, and that’s what makes it so interesting right now.”

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