UFC president Dana White had to step in to prevent the animosity between Team Rousey and Team Tate’s coaching staffs from escalating out of control in the seventh episode of The Ultimate Fighter 18.
Dana White Plays Peacemaker
The bitter rivalry between UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and former Strikeforce titleholder Miesha Tate has been a major focus on this season of The Ultimate Fighter. The rivalry isn’t isolated to the two athletes. Their coaching staffs can’t stand each other either.
During previous episodes, Team Rousey striking coach Edmond Tarverdyan has been in verbal altercations with Tate’s boyfriend and jiu-jitsu coach Bryan Caraway and guest coach and former UFC fighter Dennis Hallman.
Tarverdyan and his unibrow has been a target of Team Tate. Team Tate placed a Dracula figurine in Team Rousey’s locker room with a coupon for a local hair waxing salon. Coach Rousey opted to not show Tarverdyan because she promised UFC president Dana White following the altercation with Hallman that there wouldn’t be another incident.
Team Tate continued to antagonize Team Rousey by placing photos of a female movie character with a unibrow all over the UFC gym with “Edmond Rousey” written across the bottom.
“Last night there was a movie playing and there was a character in it that’s like the perfect cross between Ronda and Edmond,” said Coach Tate. “It’s got the buns on the side of the head like she does and it has the unibrow like he does.”
White attempted to remove the photos before Team Rousey arrived to prevent another clash between the coaching staffs.
“I caught wind that Team Tate was putting these pictures up all over the gym and I came down here to get rid of this (expletive) so another war doesn’t erupt down here,” said the UFC president.
“Those two are going to fight at the end of the season. They’ll have plenty of time to talk smack, hang pictures and do whatever they want. I want them focused on – we’ve got some talented people here. We’ve had some great fights already and I want to make sure these kids get every opportunity to win. They’re trying to pick another fight and then blame it on Ronda’s team,” added White.
White efforts to remove the photos failed when he didn’t check the sauna. Team Rousey’s Anthony Gutierrez found the photo and showed it to Tarverdyan.
“Edmond’s been very disrespected, but we gave our word that we wouldn’t let it escalate any more but the other team didn’t do that,” said Coach Rousey. “We gave our word and when we give our word it means something.”
The Fight: Michael Wooten vs. Josh Hill
Hill is an accomplished wrestler who takes his opponents down and controls them. Wooten has trained in traditional jiu-jitsu since a child, but prefers to keep fights standing.
Hill quickly closed the distance in the opening round and slammed Wooten to the canvas. He mounted Wooten and then took his back. Hill worked for a rear naked choke, but Wooten defended the submission attempt. Hill worked his way back to his feet, but the round clearly went to Hill.
Wooten landed a knee in the opening seconds of the second round and secured a takedown. Hill scrambled back to his feet and applied a guillotine choke and pulled guard to tighten it down. Wooten escaped and delivered elbows and punches. Hill gained top position in the final minute of the frame, but Wooten had done enough to force a “sudden victory” round.
Wooten shook off Hill’s takedown attempts in the final frame and the two battled for position inside the clinch. They separated and Hill missed with a spinning back fist. Wooten changed levels and secured a takedown. From there, Wooten delivered shots to the body and head of Hill for the remainder of the round.
The judges scored the round 10-9 for Wooten, giving him the unanimous decision win.
“I’ve never lost a fight in my life. It’s new to me. It’s tough,” said Hill in defeat. “It sucks and I’ll be back.”
Rousey Shuns Tate Again
Following the fight, Rousey again flipped Tate off when Tate attempted to congratulate them on the victory.
“Every single day that they try to smile in my face and shake my hand and insult me behind my back it just shows me the kind of people that they really are,” said Coach Rousey. “Miesha might be a good athlete, but she’s a terrible person and she surrounds herself with like people. It’s team fake-nice vs. team real me. I’d rather be real.”
With the technical knockout win, Team Rousey regained matchmaking control and reserved the right to pick the final preliminary match-ups. With only two male and female fighters left to compete, the match-ups were obvious. Peggy Morgan will take on Team Tate’s Sarah Moras, while Cody Bollinger and Team Rousey’s Anthony Gutierrez will face off.