AP / Reinhold Matay
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 | 2 a.m.
A communication strain infected Miesha Tate’s fight camp last week.
The locally based UFC women’s bantamweight veteran could barely speak to her coaches during training last Monday. Her mute condition was a consequence of attending the NFC Championship Game, where Tate’s beloved Seattle Seahawks knocked off the Green Bay Packers, the day before.
“I was screaming my head off the entire game,” Tate reflected. “I couldn’t really talk the next day but it was totally worth it.”
Tate, a Tacoma, Wash. native, spent less than 36 hours in Seattle crammed between preparations for a bout with Sara McMann, whom she faces on the UFC 183 preliminary card Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Tate went seeking respite from an arduous camp, but returned with motivation from witnessing one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.
Watching the Seahawks rally back from a 12-point deficit with less than three minutes remaining to win in overtime jolted renewed energy into Tate.
“It inspired me and reinvigorated me to keep that mentality in my fights from bell to bell,” Tate said. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve been beaten on for three rounds and there are 10 seconds left in the last round. I’m still going to look for that submission, look for that KO. I’m going to find a way to win. That’s what they did. It was very strong.”
Tate (15-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) doesn’t envision putting herself in that precarious of a position against McMann (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). An unsuccessful performance would temper her big after-party plans.
Tate plans to pile into her car Sunday morning and make the 4.5-hour drive to Glendale, Ariz., to watch her Seahawks play the Patriots in the Super Bowl. One of Tate’s biggest sponsors, Budweiser, had secured her tickets even before Seattle advanced.
“I was going to go either way but I was like, ‘it would be life-changing and more memorable if my team was there,’” Tate said. “That was a pivotal, emotional moment for me when they won.”
The Seahawks’ win expectancy dipped to less than 1 percent late in the fourth quarter against the Packers. Some would give Tate about the same probability of ever beating nemesis Ronda Rousey.
But Tate is fighting toward a trilogy matchup undeterred. She’s won two fights since her second of two defeats to Rousey, and thinks she’s another pair of victories away from a title shot.
Tate won’t be content with her career unless she meets Rousey once more in the octagon. In her mind, the last encounter proved she could compete.
“I’m the only person to take Ronda down,” she said. “I’m the only person to take her out of round one, not only round one but into round three. With some small adjustments, I feel like I have the ability to beat Ronda.”
And she’s already implemented some of those adjustments. Tate beamed over advances in her technique and packing on extra muscle to make her weight class more comfortable.
She also noted that the last loss to Rousey was her first fight training out of Las Vegas, where she’s since settled.
Tate doesn’t devote any attention to those unconvinced. She saw the value of cynics up close at the NFC Championship, becoming disgusted with fans filing out of CenturyLink Field while she was still immersed in the game.
“Then they were crying when they couldn’t get back in,” Tate said. “(Seahawks) score a touchdown, they hear a roar and they’re outside of the gate. They wouldn’t let them back in so they were very upset with that. But I was like, ‘That’s your own fault. You shouldn’t have left and given up on your team.’”
Tate can’t fathom giving up that easily. Seattle's win reinforced that, no matter what, she believes.
“I never lost hope in the team,” Tate said. “I have to admit, obviously, I thought with five minutes left if the game keeps going like this, chances are we’re probably going to lose. But I thought if anybody could pull it off, it’s the Seahawks.”