UFC champ Ronda Rousey warns 'TUF 18' cast to avoid $100,000 sexual encounters


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ronda-rousey-cat-zingano.jpgLAS VEGAS – With men and women set to cohabitate “The Ultimate Fighter” house for the first time, several MMA observers have wondered what kind of hijinks will ensue. If UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is to be believed, there will be none.

“I think the series, itself, has kind of gone away from the attention-grabby reality TV-esque kind of genre and more into just a documentary series on the toughest, most competitive tournament in martial arts,” Rousey told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) following Saturday’s TUF 17 Finale event in Las Vegas. “I think that it’s going to be very similar in this season, at least on my team. I’m going to have to remind these girls that this is the first impression you’re setting for women MMA fighters because this is a lot of exposure that they’re going to be getting.

“If they’re the chick that was screwing around the house, for the rest of their career they’re going to be known as the chick that was screwing around the house. Sponsors are going to be looking at that. Everybody’s going to be looking at that.”

Rousey and undefeated bantamweight Cat Zingano (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) have been selected to head coach “TUF 18,” which will be the first season to include women contestants. They’ll compete alongside a group of 135-pound male fighters, as well, with all competing for a pair of six-figure UFC contracts.

Rousey knew prior to Saturday’s event that she would be facing the winner of the night’s Zingano vs. Miesha Tate contest. After dropping the opening two frames on two of the three judges’ cards, Zingano powered back in the final frame to score a somewhat-controversial TKO win, which some believe was halted a bit early.

Rousey, who attended the event and watched the fight from cageside, said she enjoyed the bout and looks forward to facing Zingano.

“It kind of went the way I expected,” Rousey said. “Cat looked a lot better at workouts. Miesha is usually the type that really fights above herself in competition, which is one of her better attributes. Miesha looked really good. I thought the fight was stopped maybe a little prematurely, but Cat looked amazing, too. I don’t want to take anything away from her. She was lighting her up.

“If Miesha wants to complain the fight should have been stopped, then she shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place. I was really impressed with Cat tonight. I saw a lot of things that were helpful, so I’m glad I came and saw it live. So yeah, I’m looking forward to ‘TUF.’ It’s going to be cool.”

It’s fair to think the show may end up with less hype than if Tate had served opposite Rousey, as the two have a longstanding rivalry that dates back to their time in Strikeforce. However, Rousey said she’s happier to be fighting another undefeated athlete and compared the booking to the 2009 bout between Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans.

“I always said the fight that I wanted the most was Cat, so I’m glad that we’re actually going to be fighting,” Rousey said. “On the show, you never know. I think I would have enjoyed tormenting Miesha, whereas Cat seems pretty cool. I don’t really know her at all, but she seems cool. It’s going to be cool regardless of who I’m coaching against. It’s such a unique and historical situation, which seems to be coming up a lot these days.

“Technically, Cat has a better record than I do right now. She’s 8-0. I’m 7-0. Who was it? Was it like Rashad and Lyoto who were the only two undefeated people fighting for a championship before? So this is something very uncommon and very special, and I’m happy to be a part of it. I always think of myself as the underdog regardless of what other people think.”

But Rousey doesn’t see her fight as the only important task on the horizon. She also wants to help groom the next crop of UFC fighters, even if they wind up being competition. And while two sexes will intermingle in the “TUF” house, Rousey isn’t expecting excessive copulation.

“If you think it’s $100,000 worth of that lay (in potential lost sponsorships), then go for it, but I’m just going to remind them that there’s a lot of very permanent consequences to how they carry themselves in the house,” Rousey said.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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