Following a couple high profile, highly-criticized signings and the most epic press release of all time (not that we had anything invested in it), Italian promotion Venator FC held its third event over the weekend. It was a night of surprises, to say the least, with perhaps the most surprising thing being that the event didn’t end up being the absolute shitshow that it seemed primed to be.
In the main event of the evening, UFC veteran and contemptible asshole Rousimar Palhares was obliterated inside of a minute by heavy underdog Emil Meek. In a light heavyweight matchup, TUF 3 alum Matt Hamill faced off with Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and met a similarly brief/violent end, and even Cody McKenzie managed to secure his first victory in over two years via his signature guillotine.
But atop the shitshow mountain stood Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who was plucked from a 4 year absence (the majority of which he spent in the back seat of a squad car) to face fellow UFC vet Luke Barnatt in a middleweight title fight. Mayhem’s return seemed doomed from the beginning when he showed up to the scales a whopping 24 pounds overweight, but after being pulled from the fight and rebooked at light heavyweight against Mattia Schiavolin, the stage was finally set for what would surely be a disastrous performance.
Shockingly, however, Miller not only looked halfway decent in the cage, but appears as if he might actually be on the path to redemption.
Video after the jump.
Though Miller would ultimately succumb to a rear-naked choke midway through the second round, he had clearly taken the first round and appeared to be in control in the second until his cardio got the best of him. All things considered, it was a hell of a performance for the formerly prolific fighter, and one that Miller himself sees as, hopefully, the start of something new.
Speaking with MMANews.pl following the fight, Miller showed hints of the thoughtful, charismatic and above all else, coherent man we came to know before he began his downward spiral.
“If you don’t learn from an experience, that’s ’cause you haven’t thought about it long enough,” said Miller. “Look, it’s only been about an hour and I already thought a lot about this. I have an idea of where to start to change my whole life.”
While it’s still too early to tell whether or not Miller will fall back on old habits once he’s reentered the states, it’s hard not to feel genuine remorse for the guy. Not for what he’s done, mind you, but for what he could have been outside of the cage. Jason Miller is not the kind of guy whose career necessarily had to begin and end with fighting — his stint as the host of Bully Beatdown proved as much — but if it took getting his ass-kicked by someone who *wasn’t* a police officer to make him see the light, we sincerely hope that he can stay on the straight and narrow long enough to take back some of the things he’s lost. He may never be a UFC champion, sure, but there’s still promise there.
Anyways, that’s just a fellow lunatic’s thoughts on the matter. You can check out Miller’s fight against Schiavolin below.