Not many fighters have had a tougher 16-month stretch than UFC bantamweight top contender Cat Zingano (pictured). After beating Miesha Tata to score a coaching spot opposite champion Ronda Rousey on “The Ultimate Fighter 18,” with a crack at Rousey’s crown to follow, Zingano was forced to undergo knee surgery and hasn’t been seen since.
The added exposure the reality show would have offered Zingano would not only have helped build her brand, but it would have also boosted her sponsorship dollars significantly for a pay-per-view fight against arguably the UFC’s biggest superstar.
Speaking of PPV money, depending upon how her contract is worded, Zingano could have also scored a piece of the buy rates for the show.
Worst of all, Zingano became the first mother to compete in the UFC when she made her debut in April 2013. Now she’s a single mother because her husband committed suicide in January, which is something that hits close to home for Rousey after her father committed suicide when she was just eight.
Because of their connection through unfortunate circumstances, Rousey has vowed that Zingano will get the opportunity and payday that she’s owed, even though bigger names like Gina Carano, Holly Holm and Cris “Cyborg” Justino constantly get attached to “Rowdy.”
“I talked to her personally and I promised her, ‘One day we are going to have the title fight you deserve. I’m going to beat you, but we’re going to have it,’” Rousey revealed over the weekend. “She’s had a very, very rough year, and I think that’s exactly what she would need. And I’m happy to provide that experience for her.”
Zingano returns to action against Amanda Nunes at UFC 178. If she leaves that scrap victorious and unscathed, she’ll be in line to challenge Rousey at UFC 182 on January 3, Rousey’s planned return date.