Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate explain their chilly rivalry

Maggie Hendricks

CHICAGO -- After a week of doing media events together, UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Miesha Tate didn't acknowledge each other as they walked into the same room. They sat as far apart as possible during lunch, too.

Still, they couldn't find another subject but each other as they spoke to media at a restaurant here in Chicago last week. The rivalry that began before they fought last March was center stage. Nearly every question asked of Rousey and Tate was about Rousey and Tate.

They easily spoke about each other from 10 feet away without actually addressing each other. They shot several dirty looks across the table, but never quite exchanged glances. If the hate between them is an act, they should win an Oscar.

They were never friends, but at times, their rivalry took a backburner. How did it get so hot? Rousey said things got much worse because of how Tate treated her and her team during taping of "The Ultimate Fighter."

"I have an all-Armenian coaching team, and let's just say she won't have a single Armenian fan once the show airs," Rousey said to Cagewriter.

Tate couldn't pinpoint when their rivalry turned into all-out hatred, but knew that it happened on the TUF set.

"Surprisingly, when we first got on the show, we kinda got along. I thought it was really cool that she came up to me after the Cat Zingano loss. I could tell she was sincere, and she said, 'Hey, it was a really good fight.' I touched her and said, 'Thank you.' It was the first time we had really exchanged nice words. Then we went into the show, and we were on the same page for about two seconds. As the show got started and the first fight took place, that's when things really took a downward spiral again. I'm not really sure why, but we have a ton of history."

Something they agree on is that the rivalry had a good effect on women's role in MMA.

"It caused waves, and those waves caused us to get noticed. Our rivalry together that really grabbed the attention for women's MMA, and grabbed the attention of Dana White. It's a huge part of the reason why we're here today. If she would have had more of my type of personality, a little bit more respectful, a little bit more humble and meek outside of the cage, we probably wouldn't have caused the waves. We wouldn't have drawn the attention. She took a bold step, and it was risky to come out and be so different than any women's MMA fighter had been," Tate said.

"Hey, women fighters weren't getting anywhere acting like Miss America. I can't go around living my life like there's always a five-year-old in the room. I don't," Rousey said.

The other thing they agree on is that there conditions under which they could be friends. However, don't expect to see them hanging out and laughing about their old rivalry just yet.

"After I beat her [expletive] on Dec. 28 and after she breaks up with [longtime boyfriend and UFC fighter] Bryan Caraway, I will buy her some ice cream and wings and say, 'Let's talk.' But those two things have to happen first," Rousey said.

Tate said there is likely too much history to expect any kind of friendship.

"The last time we fought, I thought she had that time that moment of glory and she had that opportunity to say, 'Hey, I know I've been a little brash or rude, but hey. Good fight.' But she didn't. She was very clear and stuck to her guns. She kinda kicked me when I was down. She showed her true colors right then. That's going to be hard for me to let go of.

"She said she was raised that if you respect someone, you tell them how you feel to their face," Tate continued. "She's never really told me how she's felt about me to my face. She's only been insulting to me. Flipping me off, saying, '[Expletive] you, [expletive.]'That doesn't really qualify as, 'I don't like you, and here's why I don't like you."

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