Miesha Tate has a championship belt. Now she wants higher pay and more sponsors.
The 29-year-old UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion who shocked the MMA world last weekend by choking out Holly Holm is already sponsored by everything from Budweiser to nutritional supplements, a gym, an ATV company and E-Z-GO golf carts.
But the fighter nicknamed "Cupcake" is not sponsored by a cupcake company, and Tate could also really use a hair-care sponsor. More on that in a minute.
Tate also thinks women UFC fighters should get paid the same as men if they deliver the same results. "Why not? Of course, if I put butts in seats," Tate said in an interview with CNBC. "It's just MMA. We're all going out there doing the same thing, and if I draw a crowd, then I draw a crowd, so I think the pay should be equal."
Selling tickets and filling seats is one way to look at equal pay for equal work.
Unlike last week's hilarious and disturbing interview with Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz before Diaz beat the odds and McGregor, Meisha Tate is very clear on what her pay goals are. "I'd like to see it just go up to what the championship pay is," she said. Tate reportedly made $92,000 for her fight — $46,000 for fighting, $46,000 for winning. Next fight she not only expects better pay but "hopefully getting a percentage of pay-per-views."
The fact that McGregor made $1 million for a fight he lost, plus a cut of pay-per-view revenues, while Tate made less than one-tenth of that, doesn't bother the fighter, but only inspires her to bring home the same paycheck.
"I think people relate to the person who gets knocked down or maybe has to come from behind and get that victory," said Tate. "I think a lot of the fans appreciate that aspect and want to watch me fight, so I do think that I will make that money."
As for sponsorships, "Cupcake" said she has not yet struck a deal with a cupcake company, like Sprinkles. "Obviously, I think cupcakes would make a lot of sense, maybe even opening my own bakery or something like that," she said.
But she's really focused on something else: her hair. "I've been wanting to be sponsored by some kind of hair product for a long time," Tate said. "I have a lot of hair and it goes through a lot in my training camps anyways, so having some kind of great hair sponsor would probably be awesome for me. I'm kind of hard on my hair, but I think I have nice hair." When pressed to name her current hair-care products, Tate demurred, other than a mention of Tresemme. "I would like to learn more about what I can do for my hair, because I think I don't really know; my poor hair is suffering because of my lack of knowledge."
As for her next fight, Tate said she has yet to decide whether it will be UFC 200 in July, or whether she would fight Holly Holm again, or finally try to beat Ronda Rousey (Rousey's beaten her twice). Tate said she has more confidence now, and if she faces Rousey, she'll do it with a new sense of protectiveness. "I guess you could describe it as like a 'mother bear and her cub.' I feel very territorial over the belt and that claim to being able to say I'm the champion."