Photo: Holly Holm/Instagram.com
Two days after Holly Holm learned that she would be the next woman to challenge for Ronda Rousey’s bantamweight title, the former world champion boxer flew to Philadelphia and got into a fight with spurned contender Miesha Tate.
OK, so the scuffle was choreographed, but the timing was almost too perfect. Holm didn’t expect to face Rousey until sometime in late 2016, at the earliest, and Tate didn’t expect to be bypassed for a third shot at “Rowdy” after UFC President Dana White practically guaranteed the matchup in late July.
Suddenly, the two women found themselves on set together for action drama “Fight Valley,” which focuses on an underground women’s fighting circuit and is slated for a Fall 2015 release. According to the movie’s website, Tate plays a featured character known as “Jabs,” while Holm plays Payton Walsh, a legitimate champion who teaches Jabs how to fight by the rules.
“We just have one fight scene. I’m a professional fighter in the movie, and she’s kind of a street fighter wanting to be pro. It’s kind of a scuffle in the ring,” Holm said during a recent media event at Jackson-Wink MMA. “It was really fun to do.”
Off camera, there were no altercations between the two bantamweight contenders. But, as one might expect, there was a little bit of tension at first. After all, Holm had received what Tate rightfully believed to be hers.
“I think going out [there] her and I both knew, ‘This might be a little awkward at first.’ Big change of events, it’s announced Friday and I’m meeting her Sunday morning to choreograph a fight scene,” Holm said. “Is it gonna be a little awkward? Absolutely. But I know she’s a professional, I’m a professional, and it was gonna be fine. I wasn’t worried about it. After we did choreography the first morning, after the fight [scene], we talked about it.”
Holm said that Tate was understanding of the situation and wished her good luck against Rousey. There would be no exchanging of trade secrets, however. Holm and Tate are simply too close to the same summit to be willingly swapping game plans. That was just fine with Holm, who has already gotten her fill of Rousey talk in recent days.
“I feel like we talked about it for a moment because it was the big elephant in the room. We weren’t going to go four days of being together, physically doing a fight scene and not talk about it,” Holm said. “The first day we talked about it. Boom. Done. That was it.
“We didn’t get into game planning, we didn’t get into anything like that. Honestly, I could be fighting her [Tate] anytime soon. “I was like, let’s let this be what it is, let’s film this movie and let’s not let it get too worked up.”
Holm and Tate were joined on set by Cristiane Justino, someone who is all too familiar with the endless Rousey discussion. Holm said “Cyborg” was encouraged after taking a picture with the Jackson-Wink MMA product.
“We took a picture and she looked at the picture and said, ‘You’re the same height as me, how tall are you?” I said ‘I’m 5-8.’ She said, ‘I’m 5-8. There’s hope I can do this,’” Holm recalled
Of course, the “this” to which Justino refers is making the bantamweight limit for an eventual showdown with Rousey. The Brazilian has long questioned whether making the cut from 145 pounds will adversely affect her health. In the meantime, Justino and Rousey have spewed venom back-and-forth in the media over the course of the past few years, but during filming Holm said “Cyborg” spent much of the time emphasizing one key point.
“She kept telling us the whole time, “I’m not a mean person.’ I knew she would be really nice. She was actually really funny and really personable. I had a really good time with her,” Holm said.
“She’s got a good lighthearted personality about just everything. I want her to do well,” Holm continued. “She’s a very strong girl, a very big girl. I know that she’s trying very hard. She really wants to come down to the division.”
Overall, Holm views the “Fight Valley” experience as a positive. She got to try something new and met a couple of the sport’s top female fighters in the process.
“I’m telling you, the three of us actually had a really good time on set,” Holm said. “We all went and ran the Rocky steps [in Philadelphia] together.”