MMA News

Miesha Tate details how ONE Championship role came about, excitement for vision

By

on


The announcement of Miesha Tate joining ONE Championship came after Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson were officially introduced as part of the promotion. But Tate, as it turns out, had had her sights on the promotion for quite some time.

Tate publicly was welcomed as part of ONE Championship’s executive team as vice president earlier this month and is set to relocate to Singapore – where she intends to stay for at least two years before reassessing. But the seeds of the idea, it turns out, were first planted years ago while she was still with the UFC.

During a visit to Singapore, Tate met ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong. Tate says she didn’t even know who he was at the time. She just thought he was a “really cool guy” with an inspiring life story. She went back after that, talked to Sityodtong some more, and the idea of living there landed in the back of her mind.

“Little did I know that I actually would some day, but I had the inkling then,” Tate told MMAjunkie. “This was probably every bit of four years ago. It was something that just kind of came to fruition. It was a thought that crossed my mind. I had been hearing a little bit about ONE Championship a little bit more in our Western media.

“But it was something that happened before ‘Mighty Mouse’ was signed. Before I even had any clue that ‘Mighty Mouse’ would be going over. Before I had any clue about Eddie Alvarez. I had already reached out to Chatri shortly after Amaia (Tate’s daughter) was born (in early June), maybe two months after.”

Tate said she asked if there was an opening, Sityodtong responded that they’d figure something out, and here we are. Her job description is bound to expand over time, but Tate already knows she will serve as a color commentator for the promotion twice a month, as well as an ambassador. She will also coach at Evolve MMA, which is separate from her executive role, and is interested in doing charity work.

Tate hasn’t started the job yet, but she’s already excited about her new home. She likes the way Sityodtong conducts his business in house, allowing employees to operate according to their own schedule and with concern for their general well being, which she believes makes for a great atmosphere and business model.

But, on a more macro level, the former UFC champion is fully on board with the vision that ONE Championship has for its athletes. Sityodtong, she says, wants to promote them as heroes, to an extent, as examples that inspire local youth – especially in more impoverished communities – to be the best versions of themselves.

“I feel it’s a great fit for fighters like Demetrious Johnson or Eddie Alvarez,” Tate said. “Or some of the more quiet fighters that kind of put their head down, do the work, and they have a different story to tell. They’re not so loud and boisterous in their promotion. They’re more about the martial artist and the story of where they came from, the struggle of how they got where they are.

“I think that’s what I really appreciated about ONE. It’s that they want to tell the stories. Everybody has a story. And I think a lot of fighters in particular, they have a story that’s great to tell, that people can relate to and be motivated by.”

Back in April, Sityodtong famously said he wouldn’t sign Conor McGregor even if if the former two-division UFC champion and sports superstar was a free agent. At the time, many scoffed at the notion, given the fact that McGregor has become synonymous with money in the MMA world.

Hypothetical free agencies aside, Tate does believe ONE has a system that’s been working – and that’s signing more “purist” athletes, who fall in line with the image that the promotion is working to promote and to the fanbase it has captured.

“I also think that, in the Asian culture, they’re very much about a long-term vision,” Tate said. “And they’re very much about honor. They’re very honorable people. So they have a lot of respect, I think, for people that come from a hardship or are inspiring in some way. It’s a different appeal in their culture than maybe it is in America or maybe some of the other countries that are more interested in the trash-talking.”

That said, Tate believes the way things are currently promoted in the West has shunned some of the American fan base, as well.

Although she understands the entertainment value of the drama and the ever-present trash talk, Tate believes the way that the media has been pushing and highlighting that aspect of things may have pushed away some of the “tried and true” MMA fans.

“We all get sucked into the drama at some point,” Tate said, but she worries about the sport that will be left behind once it wears off.

“I know, personally, myself, I’m more turned off to it when I’m like, I don’t even want to hear about it. I don’t want to hear another thing that Conor said. I’m over it. And I think that the more true fans, that really appreciate martial arts, are probably not as interested because we’re constantly inundated with the trash-talking. You see things like a dolly being thrown in a bus, you see (Khabib Nurmagomedov) flying out of the cage – you know, those things are not a good representation of what mixed martial arts is. Mixed martial arts should be promoted like a pure form of martial arts. Of the ultimate sacrifice.

“Every time that we go in there, we really are putting our lives on the line. And we train so hard. We work so hard for what we do. I think people have lost sight of respecting us as athletes, respecting us as the warriors that we are. The modern-day gladiators. People have forgot about that. They don’t care anymore. They just want to hear the one-liners, the headliners, the trash-talking, the drama. And I don’t think that’s sustainable. The reason I say that is because there aren’t very many Conor McGregors, and I don’t think there ever will be. So when Conor is done, what are we left with?”

Answering her own question, Tate believes the sport is left with a bit of an identity crisis – and fighters who want to be McGregor, but aren’t.

Tate isn’t faulting athletes who opt for this type of self-promotion, as she believes there is room for everything. She does think, though, that ONE Championship can not only cater to the fans who have been turned off by the other approaches, but also make a good home for fighters who identify more with the promotion’s way of doing business.

“I think it’s just a matter of assessing the kind of approach that you want to have about your career,” Tate said. “There’s no right and wrong. The UFC is not a terrible place. It’s a great fit for a lot of people. And that’s OK, too. There’s going to be multiple homes now, which is really good. I think what ONE Championship brings to the table is a great home for some of the under appreciated fighters by our Western culture standards of what people want to see, what they’re willing to drop pay-per-view dollars for. Some of those fighters, I’ll use Demetrious Johnson for an example, he just never really sold pay-per-views very well. He was always under appreciated, however great he was. And that will not be the case in ONE. He will be a star. A superstar. People will love him, it’s a totally different cultural approach.

“If you’re someone who’s more quiet, you don’t really want to engage in the trash talking, or you’re a great fighter, but you just feel a little under appreciated, ONE could probably be a great fit for you. But if you’re somebody who’s boisterous, or you want to engage in that, or you’re funny – there could be a great fit for you in the UFC. The great thing is that there’s more options for the fighters.”

For more on the ONE Championship schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.



Source link

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *