Miesha Tate never once thought of giving up even when she faced an all-male wrestling team in high school and later the male-dominated MMA world. We love her tenacity and courage in doing what she feels passionate about. By CRYSTAL CHAN
A Seasoned Warrior
Miesha ‘Cupcake’ Tate may be a fierce scrapper in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) ring but violence is not part of her dictionary. In fact, the 32 year-old former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion highly regards values such as respect, humility and integrity.
Looking back, Miesha has battled a series of constant challenges that forged her into the warrior she is today. These include facing an all-male wrestling team and an excruciating 72 hours of labour to deliver her daughter, Amaia Nevaeh Nunez. Most recently, the family also moved halfway across the globe from America to Singapore for her new positions in ONE Championship and Evolve MMA.
Despite a life that resembles a roller coaster ride, there’s no stopping this woman from moving forward and getting what she wants.
A Life of Battles - Never Stop Believing
At 15, Miesha Tate joined an all-male wrestling team in her high school. Initially, her time on the team was tough.
“They aggressively wrestled me down and pushed me to ‘just give up’ – I didn’t give up though. I showed up every day and I worked harder than I ever had in my life,” she recounted. Hence, her teammates indirectly taught her perseverance and self-confidence that will stick with her throughout life.
“Soon enough, I gained their respect,” she continues, “They became like family to me.” From this, she learned to “never stop believing, no matter what people say or do to try to make you give up on yourself.”
After her university cancelled its wrestling programme, Miesha checked out a local MMA studio at her friend’s urging. She soon started participating in amateur MMA before professionally debuting in 2007.
This is (not) a Man's World
Being a female in the male-dominated world of MMA is no easy feat. However, we are seeing a greater inclusivity in the MMA world in recent years. Aside from Miesha, notable female players include Jessica Eye and Ronda Rousey. “It’s a huge accomplishment for women worldwide to be so highly competitive in a sport and realm many considered to be ‘only for the boys’,” she comments.
Yet, despite it being a male-dominated arena, it’s far from being an angry, closed-off, testerone-filled bull ring. “It’s not about violence and there are no victims,” Miesha defends the sport, “We do not feed off of anger in order to fight. Rather, we compete like any other athlete.” Thus, MMA is like any other sport – it requires speed, accuracy and strategy.
Honour and Respect in the Ring
In 2018, Miesha felt compelled to reach out to ONE Championship and Evolve MMA. She saw the potential with ONE Championship as it prioritise values such as honour and respect. Furthermore, ONE Championship’s partnership with charity organisation, Global Citizen, appeals to her personally. Joining them, she is part of a team who aims to influence the world for the better. Thus, she entered the organisation in 2018 and took on the role of ONE’s Vice President.
Multi-tasking as an instructor in Evolve MMA, Miesha treats and supports everyone equally. Don’t think she will cut you any slack during training, especially if you’re not pulling your weight. “I will put as much into you as you are willing to put into yourself,” she says.
A Perfect Blessing
Without a doubt, transitioning into motherhood is never easy, especially when your body feels completely different after giving birth. “I was so used to being independent and treating my body like a finely tuned race car but pregnancy and a baby turned my world upside down,” she laments. “It took away my outlet of training most forms of martial arts and I found myself craving a better outlet. My daughter is now one year old and I just stopped breastfeeding, I’m just starting to finally feel like I’m my own person again!”
Regardless, Miesha still looks forward to the journey ahead with her daughter. She says, “All the sacrifices are worth it, I love being a mummy. My daughter is the light of my life and I would walk through fire for her. She can make me laugh and smile on my worst days, she’s truly a blessing.”
Her Gifts to Her Daughter
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My perfect little girl! Yes she has a Hemangioma, which for those of you who don’t know it’s basically a cluster of blood vessels that group at the surface of the skin and cause this red “strawberry” birthmark. They tend to completely disappear with time but it does take time (can take years). Many people have inquired so here’s my PSA! I could put her on blood pressure medication to make it go down but why? She’s perfect the way she is, if there’s one thing I want my daughter to know it’s how much I believe in her. Without a safe alternative I would never jeopardize my daughters health so she can look a certain way. The downside is she must keep sunblock on and if she ever scraped it, it’ll bleed a ton plus it can continue to spread for up to the first 2 years of life. For those reasons I would consider safer alternatives to keep it from spreading to the point where it becomes an actual health issue and she’s forced to take medications. If anyone else has experience with hemangioma’s I’d love to hear what you know! #mydaughter #sheissmart #sheiscapable #sheisperfect
If you view Miesha’s Instagram posts, the love of a mother and her contentment certainly shines through. In one post, Miesha candidly talked about Amaia’s ‘strawberry birthmark’ on her nose. The ‘birthmark’ is caused by hemangioma – a benign growth of blood vessels that will eventually fade away.
Miesha refuses to let her daughter take medication for this unless it becomes a health issue. She does not want to jeopardise her daughter’s health just so she can ‘look a certain way’. Whether she has the ‘birthmark’ or not, she thinks Amaia is already perfect.
Miesha says she will support Amaia if she aspires to be an MMA athlete, albeit with a condition. She says that Amaia will have to “dedicate her whole existence to it because it is a tough sport and you have to be all in. The moment you are not 100% invested is the moment you should stop.”
Women - We Overcome Adversity
Miesha has a few tips for stress relief when trying to balance a new career and motherhood. Firstly, she recommmends exercise to balance out stress and hormone levels for better sleep. Other than that, she is also an audiobook and podcast enthusiast. “They take me away from reality for a bit even if it’s just on my 15-minute walk to work. It can be such a great reset!” she exclaims.
Struggling to continue your career after giving birth? Miesha advises, “Make the effort to have a good support system around you, ask for help and lead by example.” She continues, “It might be harder (than men) but I believe women were made to endure, I mean we create humans! What more can you say about the amazing ability we possess to adapt and overcome any adversity?”