As per UFC officials, undefeated women’s bantamweight Cat Zingano, who was on target to coach The Ultimate Fighter’s 18th season opposite Ronda Rousey and later challenge for the title, had to withdraw from the opportunity due to a knee injury. Replacing Zingano is Rousey’s arch-rival Miesha Tate.
Zingano defeated Tate in a Fight of the Night performance at the TUF 17 finale in April. Tate had the better of the exchanges in the early rounds, but Zingano battled back in the third round to TKO Tate and earn the title shot. According to a report by Kevin Iole on Yahoo! Zingano injured herself in mid-May and will require surgery for her right knee.
Rousey apparently found out about the switch as filming for this season’s Ultimate Fighter began on Tuesday. This season will debut on FOX Sports 1 on September 4 and is the first season to ever be coached by women. In addition, the cast will include 135-lb women and men living and training together.
Rousey and Tate first met in March 2012 when Miesha was the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion and Rousey was the challenger. It took all of 4:27 for Ronda to catch Tate in her signature armbar and capture the title.
During UFC 160’s media day, Dana White met with reporters and kept mum on the switch. However, he did say that Tate and Rousey have “about as bad of a relationship as you can get.”
Following their coaching stint on TUF 18, the two will meet in a rematch for the UFC women’s bantamweight championship.