Ronda Rousey nearly kicked off TUF 18 following contract dispute with UFC President Dana White

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Would TUF 18 be the hit that it is without “Rowdy’s” presence?

It didn't take long for the drama to start on season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), which features current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and UFC 168 opponent Miesha Tate as opposing coaches.

In the opening moments of the season premiere, Tate pranced into the gym -- much to the chagrin of Rousey -- as "Rowdy" was awaiting the arrival of Cat Zingano. Surprisingly, the unexpected encounter led to a rare handshake between the two bitter rivals.

That's as far as the pleasantries went.

Tate chose to play coy and refused to divulge any information as to what exactly she was doing there when asked by Rousey. Immediately, Ronda assumed the worst and stormed out of the gym in search of company president Dana White.

Soon thereafter, White sat both women down and explained that Zingano -- the person who was originally supposed to coach opposite Rousey -- had suffered a knee injury that required immediate surgery forcing UFC officials to peg "Cupcake" as her replacement.

Upon hearing the news, Ronda breathed a visible sigh of relief. And during a recap of the first half of the show last Wednesday night (Oct. 23, 2013), White explained why Ronda feared the worst upon Tate's arrival.

He explains:

"What a lot of people don't understand is I had a huge blowout with her attorney the Sunday before everybody was supposed to come here. I think Ronda thought I was doing something to her. Like I was going to bring Miesha in and kick Ronda off the show."

Rousey gives her side of the story:

"We were having contractual disputes about the show and Dana said that he was considering throwing me off the show and replacing me. We all ended up reaching an agreement at the very end, but the last thing Dana ever said to me is, ‘I don't know what we're going to do.' How would I have known that Cat Zingano blew her knee out? Miesha even said that she was supposed to be purposely vague and let me reach my own conclusions about it. And it wasn't very nice."

What White and Rousey's lawyer were bickering about is anybody's guess.

Perhaps the fact the Ronda presence is in such high demand now -- seeing as how she landed roles in "The Expendables 3" and "Fast and Furious 7" -- it's safe to assume "Rowdy's" lawyers may have been fighting for some extra coin.

But, that's just my guess.

Nevertheless, all parties reached a mutual agreement and the show did indeed go on. And based on what we've seen so far, it really wouldn't be the same without Ronda and Tate's rivalry -- which seems to be getting more and more bitter by the day -- on the set.

The two will lock horns once again at the conclusion of the show at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the meantime, it would behoove fight fans to soak all the drama that remains to be seen between Rousey and Tate because "Rowdy" has proclaimed she will never coach a season of TUF again.

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