The injury bug has stuck a future Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title bout as well as the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show.
Cat Zingano, who was scheduled to coach opposite UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey on TUF 18, has suffered a knee injury and will no longer be able to coach on the show or challenge "Rowdy" for her belt at a December pay-per-view (PPV).
Replacing Zingano will be Rousey's longtime rival and former Strikeforce champion Meisha Tate, who was scheduled to fight Liz Carmouche at UFC on FOX 8 in July but instead jumped on the opportunity to coach against Rousey and fight her for a second time.
The "UFC Tonight" official Twitter feed broke the news on Tuesday (May 28, 2013) evening and Yahoo!Sports.com was able to fill-in several important details.
It is a stunning twist to a season of TUF that features the first-ever cast of both male and female fighters that began production today. In fact, according to the Yahoo!Sports article, Rousey was surprised with the shake up on set during the first day of filming and was described by Tate as "visibly angry."
Rousey appeared more level-headed in the interview a bit later:
"This is what we really wanted all along. 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."
Zingano had earned her chance to coach TUF and fight Rousey for the belt by defeating Tate via third-round (technical) knockout at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in April.
With the sudden turn of events, Tate will now become the fourth UFC fighter this year to challenge for a title coming off a loss.
UFC President Dana White, unsurprisingly, is taking the news all in stride:
"Miesha has the most experience. 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 ... 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."
Rousey and Tate first met at a March 2012 Strikeforce event in one of the most anticipated women's mixed martial arts (MMA) fights of all time. "Cupcake" was the titleholder at the time, and Rousey entered as the undefeated challenger who took the gold by first-round submission.
Since then, the feud between the two feisty females has grown even more and at one point Rousey said she would actually prefer to coach against Tate on the reality show.
Zingano, who shredded her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), underwent surgery this afternoon to repair the damage and will be out of action for up to nine months, according to the Yahoo!Sports report. The good news is that White assured Zingano that she will receive the next women's 135-pound title shot as soon as she is healthy enough to return to action.
A replacement for Tate against Carmouche at UFC on FOX 8 is unknown at this time.