Miesha Tate's Body Issue Appearance Will Help UFC Star Regain Popularity

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2013

Photo courtesy of Ben Watts of ESPN The Magazine
Photo courtesy of Ben Watts of ESPN The Magazine

The past year has seen Miesha Tate fall from one of the top female stars in MMA to a star relatively forgotten. However, she has bounced back in a big way.

In 2012, she held the Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Championship for one match before losing to Ronda Rousey with a first-round submission.

Since then, her opponent has gone on to become the first UFC women's champion as well as one of the more popular competitors in the sport.

Meanwhile, Tate lost in her UFC debut against Cat Zingano with a third-round knockout. This was the second loss in three matches after losing only two in her first 14 appearances.

However, some luck has now fallen her way, as Zingano was forced to withdraw from a potential title fight against Rousey. Instead, Tate will now take her place and will fight the champion in December as part of UFC 168, according to Franklin McNeil of ESPN.

From a fighting perspective, this does not make a lot of sense. Tate lost her chance to contend for a title by failing to win her last match and she is now only the No. 6 competitor in her division, according to MMARising.com's unified rankings.

Still, UFC is all about drawing a crowd, and the 26-year-old star can do that. This has never been truer than after the release of the 2013 "Body Issue" by ESPN The Magazine.

This annual issue is about showcasing the impressive physical form of the top athletes in various sports. The fact that Tate was chosen to be a part of this year's issue shows her appeal.

In fact, her popularity is only likely to increase after baring all in a magazine seen by a wide range of fans. Those who did not know about a middling contender before now are certain to remember the name going forward.

Considering that Rousey posed in the issue last year, a battle between the two attractive women is only set to bring in a bigger crowd, many of whom have never watched an MMA match in their lives.

When Tate was asked about why she did the shoot, she said she wanted to end stereotypes, according to Ethan Sacks of the New York Daily News:

One of the biggest common misperceptions about women’s mixed martial arts is that we’re not feminine,” she says. “So for me it’s important to show that women in this sport are comfortable about their bodies, that we’re pretty and carry ourselves as women — and we can also turn it up a notch in the cage.

The feminine side is the one that most readers will like to see. While it is a sad truth, more people are likely to tune in to watch female UFC fighters if they are more attractive.

With a couple of pictures, Tate introduced herself to the world and showcased her looks to a wide audience of people. This will pay off huge dividends for her career going forward.

Now if she can find a way to beat Rousey in December, it will truly give her new fans something to cheer about.


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