LAS VEGAS – Filming began Tuesday for Season 18 of the UFC's reality series, "The Ultimate Fighter," with a gigantic and unexpected switch. 

Unbeaten Cat Zingano, who was slated to coach opposite women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, injured a knee and was replaced as coach by long-time Rousey rival Miesha Tate

Rousey did not know that Zingano was injured – UFC president Dana White said it had been a tightly kept company secret since Zingano injured her right knee during a May 16 workout – or that Tate had been brought in to replace her, until the opening scenes of the show were filmed on Tuesday.

When Tate came out, Rousey was clearly stunned and she stormed out of the UFC training center, searching for White. She later said she was angry because she thought Tate was replacing her.

Rousey, though, was pleased with the change.

"This is what we really wanted all along," Rousey told Yahoo! Sports. "Everyone said an Ultimate Fighter between me and Miesha would be the best. We have a personal history with each other and this is a personal show. For some reason, me and Miesha are intertwined in fate like Ali and Frazier or something like that.

"I think people will look back at this as one of the monumental rivalries and look back at this as one of those things that really cemented women's MMA."

Tate was disappointed that it took an injury to Zingano for her to get the spot on the show, but she said she felt it was fate. She said she felt she was winning the fight with Zingano when referee Kim Winslow stopped it.

But Tate was thrilled to not only get the gig and the title shot, but to see Rousey get visibly angry when she appeared.

"It was rewarding to see that," she said. "I was like, 'Yay! This is getting good.' I watched her go to her corner and her corner was up in arms. I was just sitting there in the doorway thinking, 'This is awesome.'

"I felt I was cheated a little in that fight with Cat. I had two solid rounds and one not-so-good round. Either way, I felt I was meant to be here and it's come full circle."

Season 18 of 'The Ultimate Fighter' will debut in September on the new all-sports channel, Fox Sports 1, and will, for the first time, include women as coaches and females as well as males among the contestants, all vying for a UFC contract.

Zingano stopped Tate in the third round of their April 13 fight to win the right to coach opposite Rousey and get the title shot. The coaching slot and title shot – tentatively slated to be on pay-per-view on Dec. 28 – now goes to Tate.

Rousey won the Strikeforce women's bantamweight title from Tate in 2011 when both were in the now-defunct promotion. It was that fight which piqued UFC president Dana White's interest in women's fighting. To that point, White had maintained that the UFC would be men-only.

Zingano underwent surgery on her right knee on Tuesday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, as well as to clean up other damage. She said she injured the knee as she came down after clearing a short hurdle. 

"I was doing my regular routine, my strength and conditioning," Zingano told Yahoo! Sports by telephone shortly before she was wheeled into surgery. "I was jumping over tunnels that were about 12 inches high. I'd jumped over them like 10 times already. This one time, I jumped up and my left knee came down right on track and my right knee bent outward. 

"Snap, crackle, pop, and I hit the floor. That was all she wrote. It was terrible. It hurt bad, but the thing that bothered me most was the sound. I never experienced anything like that."

Zingano said she will be able to resume training in six to nine months. She said the most crushing part of the injury is that she will lose the opportunity to fight Rousey for the belt. She said White promised her she would have the first shot at the Tate-Rousey winner.

White said it made the most sense to put Tate into the spot rather than one of the UFC's other women fighters.

"Miesha has the most experience," White said. "She'd probably won the first two rounds of that fight with Cat and if it had gone to the cards, she'd probably have won by decision. The nice thing having Cat in there coaching against Ronda is that Cat was undefeated, and so we had this whole thing of two undefeated fighters facing off.

"But with Miesha, she and Ronda already had a great fight and they have a history together. They don't like each other. We'll make it work. We always do. You know how I say every day when I wake up, I know some bad [expletive] is going to happen? Well, this was one of them, but we're doing the best we can here."

More popular UFC stories on Yahoo! Sports:
TJ Grant now $50K richer thanks to Mike Tyson
UFC fan uses guillotine choke to hold off attempted carjacking
Undefeated, one-armed Nick Newell signs with World Series of Fighting
Michael Bisping to Luke Rockhold: Win a fight and we'll talk about fighting

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC's Yair Rodriguez discusses knee injury, possible next opponents, U.S. recognition

  • 9 days ago
  • 7 views

Yair Rodriguez has no desire to name a specific opponent he’d like to fight next. Not because he doesn’t want to stir the pot, but because he said he’s reached a stage in his career where the competi read news >>

Sara McMann sad she may never get chance to rematch former UFC champs Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate

  • 4 days ago
  • 11 views

HALIFAX – Like most fighters, Sara McMann wants the opportunity to avenge her losses. But when it comes to rematches with Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, the chance may be gone forever.Filed under: Fea read news >>

Willis replaces Henrique, faces Tybura at UFC 208

  • 17 days ago
  • 2 views

Saturday's UFC 208 card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn is now complete, with the addition of a heavyweight fight between Poland's Marcin Tybura and Octagon newcomer Justin Willis. read news >>

Dana White Comments on Donald Trump, Ronda Rousey, UFC's Future and More

  • 15 days ago
  • 6 views

UFC President Dana White spoke about a number of topics with Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated in a lengthy interview published Wednesday, touching on President Donald Trump, Ronda Rousey and more. read news >>

Miesha Tate on Women’s 145-Pound Division: ‘Build It and They Will Come’ | MMAWeekly.com

  • 12 days ago
  • 7 views

Former UFC women's bantamweight champ Miesha Tate believes the creation of the women's featherweight division will be a magnet for 145-pound talent. read news >>

Holly Holm Feeling a Whole Different Set of Nerves than Ronda Rousey Fight (UFC 208 Video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 14 days ago
  • 8 views

Holly Holm talks about how different her nervousness is for UFC 208 as opposed to her fight with Ronda Rousey, and taking inspiration from the Super Bowl. read news >>

After hamstring injury, UFC Fight Night 105's Thiago Santos looks to bounce back

  • 5 days ago
  • 8 views

Two losses stick out on Thiago “Marreta” Santos’ recent resume, but according to the Brazilian UFC middleweight, the most recent one doesn’t tell the whole story.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET): Former UFC champ Miesha Tate in studio

  • 17 days ago
  • 7 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guest Miesha Tate in studio.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Holly Holm's Decision Win Over Marion Reneau (UFC 208 Free Fight) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 16 days ago
  • 20 views

Watch Holly Holm's last fight before her historic victory over Ronda Rousey, when she defeated Marion Reneau in July of 2015. Holm headlines UFC 208. read news >>

Watch UFC 208's Holly Holm in the fight that led to her historic upset of Ronda Rousey

  • 16 days ago
  • 13 views

Before Holly Holm could get her shot at history against then-champ Ronda Rousey, she had to go through a “Bruiser” on a hot streak.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>