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Bum Rush Rant: Cole Miller Lashes Out at Fighters Who Do Just Enough to Get By, Calls Cecil Peoples the ‘Antichrist of Judging’


("Wrestling should be a means to an end…You should be taking guys down so you can ground-and-pound the living piss out of them." Photo courtesy of the UFN 22 Weigh In Pics gallery on CombatLifestyle.com.)

If Cole Miller‘s match against Ross Pearson at tonight’s UFC Fight Night 22 event is boring, it won’t be Cole’s fault. The lightweight standout prides himself on being an exciting fight-finisher, and has stopped three of his last four opponents by submission. Miller was a guest on the latest installment of CagePotato’s Bum Rush Radio Show, and gave us an earful about the growing trend of point-fighting "underachievers" in MMA and why judging in the sport sucks so badly. Check out an excerpt from Miller’s segment below, and please subscribe to The Bum Rush Show on iTunes!

CAGEPOTATO.COM: I just saw your interview with BJPenn.com, where you referred to Frankie Edgar as a "bouncy wrestler type" who doesn’t try to finish, and is content to just stick and move and score the occasional takedown for points. Was Frankie dominating BJ Penn really not that impressive to you?
COLE MILLER: No, I thought it was very impressive. I don’t think you can say anything about his skill set. It’s just more like, I look back at his past fights — and it’s not so much Frankie Edgar, it’s just a trend with all weight classes and all these fighters — and it’s becoming more like boxing where these guys are just trying to do enough to win the round. "Let’s do just enough to get by. Let’s get that 10 points. And then let’s get that 10 points again. Oh, I’m up two rounds to none? Man, let’s just ride this out. Let’s just survive and do enough to just stay competitive, and man, I got that 29-28 at the very least."

It’s like, that’s really what you came here to do? And I’m not talking so much about Frankie [in] this second BJ fight. I’m just using him as an example because it was a recent fight and he’s a guy that has a lot of decisions on his record. Man the guy can really box, the guy’s got awesome boxing, he’s got good footwork, he definitely comes in shape, and he didn’t look like a slouch on the ground, he’s very well rounded, so to say that you’re not impressed with somebody, especially a champion, I think that’s kind of silly…it’s more like the mental approach to fighting. I just think that guys should have more of a finishing outlook on fights. Doing enough to just get by, that’s not something that’s looked well upon.

You look at boxing, why is MMA outdoing it on pay-per-view for the most part? It’s not because people can appreciate the takedowns and the ground game all that much more, even though the general population is becoming more and more educated, it’s because people like to see fights finished. Boxing was not getting the knockouts and you weren’t seeing these devastating knockouts like you used to, and people stopped buying the pay per views because the general public doesn’t want to see 36 minutes of two guys both trying to do enough to win the rounds and get that 10, and get that 10, and get that 10….


And you see this as a growing trend in MMA?
Yeah, for sure, don’t you? … I don’t deny that it takes a certain amount of smarts and intelligence and strategy and things like that, but this is fighting. This is not "avoid the fighting." This is fighting. So when you hit the ground, let’s just say wrestler vs. striker, alright? If a wrestler takes a striker down but doesn’t have him down all the way, why would the striker spend 15 minutes trying to get up, when he just keeps getting taken back down on his hip? Clearly you know you’re not winning if this wrestler’s holding you down and all you’re trying to do is get back up. It’s called "mixed martial arts." Well start mixing some of the martial arts instead of just doing your one thing. Like, do some standup and do some ground. You don’t gotta train gi, but do your sambo, or your judo, or your catch, or your submission wrestling, or your instructor’s personal style, like a 10th Planet Eddie Bravo jiu-jitsu. You need to train some ground, and you need to do your striking, like your savate, or your tae kwon do, or your boxing, or your Muay Thai.

Someone said it well on one of those forums, that wrestling should be a means to an end. It should just be enough to control the fight where you want it to be, not to control the fight. You should be taking guys down so you can ground-and-pound the living piss out of them and make them bleed all over the place to a finish, or enough for you to once you take them down, pass their guard, or sit back on a footlock or do whatever it is that you do in order to finish the fight…

I think that finishing is what is good for the sport. And I think the UFC stands behind that too. Why do you think the UFC gives out Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night, and Knockout of the Night honors and bonuses? They want you to finish. That’s what you call overachieving. Doing enough to get by? Doing enough to secure the rounds? That’s underachieving. So people are saying "you little bastard, Frankie Edgar will kick your ass." And I’m like, look, that’s not what I’m saying. That’s not the point, if he’ll kick my ass or not. It’s not the point if Mark Coleman can kick my ass, or Tito Ortiz can kick my ass. I’m talking from a fan’s perspective, and as someone who doesn’t want to see the sport go down the way boxing is starting to plummet.

Do you think the rules and the scoring need to be edited or revisited, as far as stalling and those sorts of things go?
Yeah, but it’s going to take a while. The judging has to change, and the outlook on mixed martial arts has to change. And we’re dealing with mostly older people now [as judges], not this generation of mixed martial artists. Once this generation, the people from 1993 until now, the people who have really fought mixed martial arts, once these people can become judges — people who have really trained and really know what’s going on — that’s when the fights are going to start to change. Because what do we have now? We got guys like Cecil Peoples judging the fights. And this guy’s the antichrist of judging. It’s like, I’ll see his scores and I’m just like "man, what is going on here?"

People can relate to impact. Because when you get pushed on a playground and you fall down as a child, what do you feel? That impact, it hurts. When you’re playing in the woods — kids don’t play in the woods anymore, when I was growing up, kids played in the woods — you’d fall and you’d cut yourself on a rock. You see a street-fight and someone — boom! — dumps the guy, what do you hear? Ooooooh! So it’s like, when people get punched in the face, and people get slammed, and cut from impact, this kind of stuff is always gonna weigh more because the judges of this era can relate more to impact. They don’t know what it’s like to have a guy like Marcelo Garcia or Roger Gracie just put simple shoulder pressure on your face. They don’t know what it’s like to have somebody like Marcelo sweep you with such ease, like you’re nothing. Or a guy grab a hold of your arm to fully, I mean, they’re gonna try to rip it off. Or a guy like Minotauro grab a triangle choke. They can’t relate to this. So even though they might know "oh, this is activity, and a triangle choke is aggressively trying to finish," these people can’t relate to the sense of urgency and fear that someone can have of being finished. But they know what it’s like to get hit in the face, and they know what it’s like to get slammed, because they might have wrestled in high school. People can relate to that, but they can’t relate to the jiu-jitsu aspect.

I think a failed submission attempt should be the same thing as when someone lands a good jab. A solid submission attempt, where it’s a near-finish and something happens and they slip out, that should be like landing a right hand that drops somebody. But this is not the way that it’s scored.

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Liitle danny slapnuts- September 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm
im with bob.i went from hating this guy to liking him.great finish last night too.
HeavyHandedHawaiian- September 16, 2010 at 5:55 am
I completely agree with Cole as he brings up a lot of good points about fighters just trying to get by as opposed to trying to finish. I also agree with his opinions on MMA judging, and how uneducated they are about Jiu Jitsu. Y'know, I wasn't really a fan of his at first but he has grown on me.
Dagnut- September 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm
How can a submission "attempt" be worth points? by the very definition its a failure because its an attempt..your getting into a very grey area there..I'm fan of BJJ have rolled a few times, have no wrestling knowledge or background btw.
I think it would be fair to score the take down as a series of events. Bare with me here, so if the take down sticks and the fighter controls the other fighter on the ground successfully well then that's showing initiative and dominance they should be scored accordingly.
If how ever take down is just simply dumping a guy on the canvas and not controlling the action that shouldn't count, basically whoever controls the exchange on the ground , even be it from their back, with good guard and then sud attempts they get the point.
There's obviously room for expansion on this and still a lot of grey areas but just throwing in a submission attempt shouldn't get you a point either should a simple takedown. It takes skilled judging as cole says, but for example Sliva tried to catch sonnen a number of times in that triangle should he have scored for that?
MediumRare- September 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm
Is everyone ready for the definitive opinion? All, right. Buckle up.

The existing ten-point-must system is a boxing system. It needs to be completely revamped for MMA.

Takedowns shouldn't count unless they are a slam that does damage to the opponent. The GnP that a fighter lays on after taking a guy down is what should score with the judges. Not the takedown.

You're welcome.
disastras- September 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm
Most educated fans understand the skill of a good wrestler but it is as boring as watching paint dry (or Jake Shields fight). The ten point system NEEDS to change.
831 Father- September 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm
I always thought this dude was an asshat who was always overaggressive and douchey at weigh-ins and the post-fight. After reading this, I'm a fan.

The guy speaks his mind and can articulate his thoughts, unlike most of the MMA internet community, who cried to high-heaven that he sucks because he dared to insult Frankie and wrestling. Good interview.
superflat- September 15, 2010 at 12:47 pm
Completely agree that fighters need to look to finish and judges/refs need to start penalizing stalling. For those who claim wrestling is simply superior, or being able to control someone makes you the better athlete, you have to remind yourself that MMA is not pure fighting, as it might occur in the real world, but artificial, out of necessity. The point isn't and can't be to prove which style is truly the "best," and now that fighters are starting to come from actualy MMA backgrounds, as opposed to individual disciplines, it's absurd to keep this as the stated goal (as it was in the early Gracie years). In short, the sport can't demonstrate that striking is better than wrestling or whatever, and shouldn't be trying to preserve distinctions among fighter but to create athletes competing withing the sport of MMA (we call football players football players, not "wrestling" football players or whatever).

Accordingly, the rules need to be tweaked to prevent tactics that merely capitalize on existing rules without enhancing the fight. For example, if fighters were penalized for exposing the back of their heads with sloppy takedowns, they should be penalized points, as the purpose of the back of the head rule is to protect fighters, not give the exposed fighter an advantage. If they could be kneed on the ground, takedowns would be riskier propositions.

I know Ben has taken the position that fighters like Hardy should become better wrestlers rather than whine, and I agree there was some whining, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a newish sport and the existing rules clearly have some flaws.
Mr_Misanthropy- September 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm
Martial artists fight to finish fights either through damage or submission because in a real fight there is no winner from points. Combat sports athletes fight to win fights by points. In my opinion a real fighter and true martial artist will always be looking to finish any fight as fast as possible.
Kicktothegroin- September 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm
I'd like to see Dana fire a boring wrestler coming off a Lay and Pray win. That might shake things up more than any rule change would.
omunto- September 15, 2010 at 10:51 am
I dunno. I like what he's saying but I still believe that rather then complain about wrestling fighters need to just get better at wrestling themselves in order to negate the advantage their opponent has. Also he talked about Marcelo's sweeps being so fluid and unstoppable, well then to me you have your answer to a guy that lays on top of you. Submit or sweep him. A good wrestling base and slick bjj should allow you overcome a stagnant wrestler.
thenutman69321- September 15, 2010 at 10:38 am
Agree 100% with everything said by Cole. A take down in and of itself should be worth absolutely nothing in the eyes of the judges, just sitting on a guy and throwing a punch now and then should be worth absolutely nothing. Rashad, Maynard, Koshcheck and all you other non fighters are turning fans away en mass every time you fight and are even making huge MMA fans such as myself hate American MMA more and more every day.
RwilsonR- September 15, 2010 at 10:24 am
Well... I agree with you that penalizing for stalling doesn't happen, but maybe it would with better refs and judges, and better defined criteria for both. I honestly don't know an easy solution, because for every idea that I can think of to help solve it, or that others think of, I can usually come up with equally good reasons why it wouldn't work, or would damage the sport more than doing nothing.
Videodrome_NOW- September 15, 2010 at 10:18 am
@RwilsonR

Good points. Obviously my reasoning for eliminating rounds is connected to eliminating judges and I realize that will have consequences. Maybe a better idea would be to have one 10-15 min round and if no one finishes, then neither guy wins. As far as penalizing someone for stalling goes,...when does that ever happen? If it did happen, Nick Lentz would have lost all his points. You can still have a ref with no judges, and that ref can have a huge influence to keep the action going. Having no judges and no rounds might lead to longer fights and essentially more fatigue, but I think it might push some fighters to finish fights faster rather than pacing themselves for fear of exhaustion later.
k-onda- September 15, 2010 at 9:46 am
Shit this guy sounds articulate and well reasoned. When most guys say what's on their mind some crazy things can happen, but this just makes complete sense. How can he be a professional fighter?
RwilsonR- September 15, 2010 at 9:25 am
I think some of the people calling for a removal of rounds aren't thinking of the unintended consequences of doing that. There would always have to be an ultimate end time for the match, and I think you would get for less dramatic stoppages due to the fighters being tired out and stalling without the rest in between rounds. How do you penalize them for stalling if there is no point deduction within a round?

I agree that Cole makes good points, and as a fan I agree with him. I just don't know that there is a good solution without taking tools away from the fighters.

You can't say, "no points for takedowns," because what if it is a slam that does damage? Should it not count if a judo guy dumps you on your head? Also, if you have constant stand-ups, you may end up frustrating guys like Cole who are trying to work for submissions. In fact, one of the reasons a lot of wrestlers seem like they are stalling is because guys with decent BJJ tie them up, and they are the ones that are stalling. Yet BJJ guys only get crap when they butt flop and try to scoot into guard, but nobody says, "Damn, that BJJ asshole is just stalling from the bottom using hold-and-pray to stop that wrestler from passing guard and pounding his head." If BJJ guys argue that the guard is an equal position to the top, then they have an equal responsibility towards activity. Just as much as the wrestler should take chances with his GnP that might make him vulnerable to a submission, the BJJ guy has to take chances with submissions, and possibly open himself up to some bad positions and some GnP. The problem isn't just the wrestlers. It is that every fighter is more experienced at defending on the ground - from the top and the bottom.

I agree with GUI-uh-TEEN that there is a fine line between legit wrestling with GnP and those that use LnP. I think that honestly an improvement in both refs and judges would present the most dramatic change.

Also, I think it is unfair to say guys like GSP and Edgar use this. Edgar did not stall one bit during either fight with Penn. He was constantly trying to pound on Penn's head. Even when Penn took him down, he scrambled as quickly as possible to get back up. GSP injured himself against Alves trying to go for a submission that he did not need to do, and ended up putting him in a much more dangerous position. I agree that GSP should have been pounding Hardy's head instead of just trying to crank his arm the whole time, but he was going for something.

Bottom line, there is no perfect solution.
Kicktothegroin- September 15, 2010 at 8:57 am
Good Points Cole,

This makes up for making us watch you cry like a little girl after you Sub'd Monstah Lobstah on TUF 5.
J-Dog- September 15, 2010 at 8:46 am
Couldn't agree more. Well said.
knucklesamitch- September 15, 2010 at 8:43 am
what's wrong with a takedown winning a round...If all that has happened in said round is some back and forth boxing/kickboxing, and then all of a sudden someone gets a takedown...They win the round.

I get that wrestling can be boring...But it can also be a dominating game plan.

Say for example, if GSP gets a takedown, and without ever going for a sub or GnP, he lets the opponent up and takes him down again...and this happens 10-12 times in the fight. At the end of three rounds, the stand-up was back and forth, only GSP is 12-12 on takedowns...He wins. Is it exciting...Not always...but that's a dominant performance where GSP was essentially 1-dimensional and his opponent did zero to neutralize him.
bobzemuda- September 15, 2010 at 8:42 am
An I am now a Cole Miller fan. Who knew?
jimbonics- September 15, 2010 at 8:40 am
Bust out the Yellow Card and dock their purse!
GILL-uh-TEEN- September 15, 2010 at 8:32 am
There is a fine line between quality wrestling and lay-n-pray. When you see the latter, you'll know it. Obvious lay-n-pray should be punished somehow, but quality ground control along with ground-n-pound or submission attempts should be rewarded with higher scoring.

The problem is that it is very tough to tell the two apart without the proper training and experience.
Shifty-Eyed Dog- September 15, 2010 at 8:27 am
Wow. I already liked Cole Miller, but he's gained tons of respect from me on another whole level! Well spoken, sir!
ccman- September 15, 2010 at 8:19 am
What has two thumbs and been saying this for years?

I want to throw my tv out a window everytime I hear a takedown won the round.
Shane Darwin- September 15, 2010 at 7:59 am
MMA needs more frequent stand-ups if the leg humping wrassler in question does not go for submissions or otherwise look to inflict heavy damage. Jon Fitch and Jake Shieldzzzzzzzz, I'm talking to you.
Almost North- September 15, 2010 at 7:58 am
Well Cole got himself a new fan today.
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