It was this past November when Miesha Tate suddenly hung up her gloves after losing to Raquel Pennington. One of only two women to hold both the UFC and Strikeforce titles, Tate had a hall of fame worthy 9 year run in MMA.
Seven months after the announcement, I sat down with Tate at one of her favorite restaurants Pot Liquor in Las Vegas for a three part interview.
In the first part of our interview, we discuss what she is doing now in the sport, her receiving the “Inspirational Fighter of the Year” Award from the WMMA Press Association earlier this year and the possibility of a comeback.
Parts 2 and 3 will be punished on the next two Tuesdays, June 27 and July 4th.
MarQ Piocos: The most asked questions I get from fans is what are you doing now and what is paying the bills. How has life been post fighting?
Miesha Tate: Definitely doing a lot of things. It’s been a very, very busy life, which has not slow down a bit for me. Part of it is being in an ambassador type role for the UFC, where they know they can call on me for just about anything and be there and help. An example would be going to Perth, Australia to help get the ban lifted on the use of a cage. MMA was legal but the use of a cage was not. The UFC was not able to go there until the band was lifted. I did a demonstration video that explained why it was there for the safety of the athletes; to not have a ring and have an actual enclosure.
I also help with athlete development and help opening UFC gyms. I will be a special guest when they have the grand openings to try to get for traffic in there.
I’m also working with the UFC and Fox sports as an analyst. I recently tried out for a live commentary position with the UFC but I’m not exactly sure what that means I’m not sure if it’s for the upcoming contender series or for actual fight events.; but either way hopefully I can get the position . Other people tried out so I do have some stiff competition, but it’s something I really really enjoy.
Piocos: We have seen you on the analyst set on the Fox Sports studio. What has gotten you interested in commentating?
Tate: I love it because I get to be a part of the action in a different way. I love to be able to explain to people what’s going on especially being such a ground expert. I have a love of mixed martial arts as far as the grappling goes, so I can really explain to people very well what’s going on so they understand when there’s a submission attempt. I really enjoy that.
For instance, in Nashville, OSP finished his opponent in a Von Flue choke. I was watching from the audience and I knew he was going for it and the audience didn’t know. Neither did the ref or the judges. That is something if I was at cage side commentating I would be explaining to people. “Wow he’s really in danger here.” A lot of people think when a fighter grabs the head that the person on the bottom is trying to go for a guillotine. My knowledge on the ground would translate well in cageside commentating.
M.P.: Besides your UFC duties, you have been coaching the women’s team at Xtreme Couture, and have been for the past few years. Can you tell me a little about the team, developing it, and what you are getting out of it?
M.T.: We have about five girls that are training not including myself; a couple are pro and a couple are amateurs and up-and-coming. For me, it’s just really fun to be able to help these girls because I remember when I was at that spot in my career. I see their passion. I see the fire in their eyes and is in their hearts. It’s just really awesome to help them because they want to learn. They are truly very fortunate you have so many great tools and they’re definitely making the most of it. They know that too. They’ve talk to me and they know that it was like back in the day. It was more difficult. Now, the world has opened up a little bit and they’re just ready to hit the ground running.
I definitely want more girls over at Xtreme Couture. I think it’s very valuable for females to have male and female training partners. I would like to expand upon that. We recently had Destiny Quinones just move out here. Emily Whitmire is from Portland, Oregon. She’s 2-1 as a pro and she’s aiming at the Ultimate Fighter. She tried out for that, so we don’t know yet. Hopefully, she’ll end up on that. She’s been doing very well. Nicdali Colonac, who just retired from MMA, she moved out here to be part of the team. I’ve been recruiting girls essentially to try to build the women’s team.
M.P.: How has it been being a coach and rebuilding this team? Have you learned anything during this process?
M.T.: I did a lot of transitioning since I started this whole (combat sports career). Coming from wrestling to mix martial arts, then my own (fight) career. Now I have transition more to mentor and coach/teacher. I basically help the girls have tools I didn’t have when I started and help them to get where they want to go.
I think for me I learn a lot when I coach. It’s not one thing necessarily. I do enjoy it and I learn a lot myself when I teach the girls and some of the guys as well.
M.P.: This past January, the WMMA Press Associations honored you with the “Mighty Mia” Inspirational Fighter of the Year. Among the things you have done includes helpling a little girl with a broken arm down a mountain and helping save Bryan Caraway’s mother’s life. Can you talk about getting the award and trying to be an inspiration to people.
M.T.: Those awards really mean more to me then the fighting ones do; even though I’m honored either way. I really appreciate the awards that are a testament to my character. Fighting is a part of me and being good at it was always goal, but it’s not at the end of the day who I am. I feel I am more than just a woman who steps in a cage and punches people. I feel I have a kind heart and I like to find ways to help people. It makes me feel fulfilled.
Sometimes I will randomly make sandwiches with my friends and grab waters and take them to the homeless – just because it makes me feel better. It makes you feel like you’re doing something good to give back. With everything I’ve been blessed with it’s really important for me to give back. Even if it’s just 50 sandwiches and some water and an hour of my time it feels good to do that.
Getting an inspirational fighter award; I’d rather have that then the Fighter of the Year or anything else, because it hopefully means that I’m inspiring people in someway; which is the best compliment anyone can give me.
Such a crazy labor day weekend for our family but ended in such an amazing and beautiful way. My poor Kai broke her arm at the top of the Mary Jane Falls hike at Mt Charleston. So @mommapook and I basically had to carry her down miles ahead. To our rescue and assistance came the amazing @mieshatate the UFC fighter. She offered to help us carry her down the mountain. Such an amazing and humble person to have met. Our family cant thank you enough for all the help. You saved us easily hours of hiking and helped us get her to the hospital sooner. Thank you again 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼 #mieshatate
MP: Fans have also asked if you will ever consider get back into fighting.
M.T.: Right now, I am completely satisfied without fighting. I feel very fulfilled and I felt I got everything I wanted out of fighting.
Competing for 11 years it’s a lot of work and a lot of determination and you have to want that more than anything else in your life. You just reach a point where that fighting is not the most important thing in your life; then it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing. It has to be the number one priority. You have to be willing to miss birthdays. You have to be willing to miss family reunions. You have to be willing to miss holidays; Christmases, thanksgivings, weddings, funerals; all of it. That was the past 11 years for me. I sacrificed everything. I just reached a point where it’s not everything to me anymore. I did all that. I made the sacrifices and I loved it, but now I want to transition into other things that are going to allow me to become more of a complete person. Not just a fighter but who I am.
Part 2 “Rivals and Retirement” will be posted on Tuesday June 27th.