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Interview: “Mayhem” Miller Talks Jake Shields, CBS, and Spark Notes

Mayhem Miller

On Saturday night Jason “Mayhem” Miller will get his chance to fight for a title on network TV in front of an American audience that might only recognize him as the “Bully Beatdown” guy.  He’s just fine with that, but damn if he can figure out why Jake Shields is the betting favorite in this fight.  I spoke with Miller for an SI.com feature earlier this week, and, as usual, he was at no loss for words.  On every topic from Shields’ stand-up game to medication and cliff notes, “Mayhem” has an opinion.  He’d like to go ahead and share them with you, if you don’t mind.

BF: First off, I have a bone to pick with you.

JM: What did you just call me?

We met this summer at UFC 100 when the whole Fight Magazine crew was hanging out in Vegas, and you and I had what I thought was a pleasant conversation.  Then I read your column in Fight the next month and you referred to that specific conversation while referring to me as a “chisel-faced zombie.”

Well, are you?

I guess I have kind of a square head, but zombie?

Hell man, I don’t know.  Maybe.  If the shoe fits.

Okay, fair enough.  Let’s talk about your fight.  Last time I checked, Shields was a pretty heavy favorite against you.   

Yeah, I know.  I’m shocked.  I really am.  But he’s on a pretty good streak, so I guess I understand.


  

Obviously that’s because people think his ground game is just that good.  Are you banking on your takedown defense being strong enough to negate that?

That, and I’m good enough on the ground to not only survive, but to turn the tables and submit him.  I’m good enough, but people have yet to see it.

People have yet to see it because you haven’t fought much in front of an American audience.  How big an opportunity is it for you to fight on CBS?

Obviously, it’s massive.  Any time you get to fight in front of a boatload of people, it’s huge for your fight career.  I just want to make the most of the opportunity that I’m getting here.

CBS doesn’t really seem to be advertising or pushing anything  but the Fedor/Rogers fight, though.

I know!  You’re telling me, man.  I don’t know if they see my value yet.  I don’t know if they realize that a lot of people watch “Bully Beatdown” and that would be great for them to grab that younger audience and say, ‘Hey, you know that funny guy from “Bully Beatdown”?  He’s fighting this other guy from “Bully Beatdown.”’  But they’re not doing it for whatever reason.  You know, I don’t sit around in the marketing room, so they’re not listening to me.  But I think they should be doing it.

Do you think the network just doesn’t see that angle somehow, or do they not care?

I’m not sure if the network is actually paying that much attention to this.  I think that maybe they just said, ‘Here’s a little bit of money, and if it does well then we’ll pay attention.’  Maybe it’s one of those things.  But I don’t understand the logic of only pushing the Fedor fight.  Maybe they’re banking on the strength of being able to say they have the number one heavyweight in the world.  I don’t know.  I’m just a monkey.  They throw peanuts at me and I dance.

Do you think there are more people now who just know you as the host of “Bully Beatdown” instead of as an actual fighter?

Maybe, but that’s fine.  I don’t have an ego about that.  I’m not going to get hurt if everyone just thinks I’m the “Bully Beatdown” guy.  That’s just how it is.  If you go and hop on a project like that and you get a lot of fame for it, that’s part of the package.  But that doesn’t matter to me what people think.  If they actually watch me fight they’ll see that not only can I crack people up, I can crack somebody’s head open.

Do you think your future as a fighter is in the U.S., or will you keep going back to Japan?

We’ll see after Saturday, but I definitely have a love for Japan.  I love fighting there.  It’s really cool.  They have a different respect for the sport there.

You don’t think Americans have a respect for it?

The fanbase that’s here, yeah, they understand the sport and love it.  But the general public, I don’t know what they understand.  When I’m in the cheap seats at the UFC I still hear guys shouting, ‘Poke ‘em in the eye!’

But “Bully Beatdown” must be helping to teach something about MMA to a broader audience.

Yeah, absolutely.  “Bully Beatdown” is helping to build a new MMA audience.  Young kids are learning about the sport through “Bully Beatdown.”  And of course the UFC has exerted an influence on the culture now.  It’s become a part of the culture.  But in Japan, fighting has been on network TV there for the last ten years.  Here, it’s only been on cable TV for what, the last five years?

Fighting on network TV, for a championship, do you think you’ll have more nerves for this fight ?

Nerves?  Man, I don’t get nerves.  I get excited, yeah, but why get nervous?  I live for this.  I love to do this job.  I see other fighters and they get scared.  I don’t understand that.

Well, you seem pretty different from other fighters in general.  It seems like you’re always doing something crazy.  Is that how you always are, or is that when the cameras come on?

That’s just how I am.

How do you do normal things, like go to the bank?

That’s me.  I do everything, but in a more exciting manner than you do.  It’s not like I can’t get stuff done.

Has anyone ever suggested medication?

What the fuck?  How do you know I’m not on meds right now?  I might need medication just to keep me from biting your face.

Then by all means, take the medication.  I don’t want you biting my face.

Fair enough.

Even though you’re a little crazy, you’re also a pretty cerebral guy, which some people might not expect.   

Well, I am.  Just because somebody talks really fast doesn’t mean they’re stupid.  I might be crazy, but I’m not stupid.  If people want to dig down the rabbit hole, there’s more to me than just some wacky crazy guy.  Just because most of what I say and do is comedic, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing under there.  There is.  There’s a lot of layers to this onion.

What have you been reading lately?

Most recently the heavy book I read was “The God Delusion.”  It broke down why there’s most likely not a God.  It was a good book and pretty easy to digest, even for somebody who gets punched in the head for a living.  I like to read a lot of books about psychology.  I read this book, “Without Conscience” about psychopaths.  I just found a new website called Spark Notes.  Man, I’m addicted to that.  It’s just cliff notes online.  I just bought 1984 and then realized the cliff notes are online for free.

You know that site is made for college students who don’t want to do the assigned reading, right?

That’s all right.  I’m a non-college student who doesn’t want to do the reading.  I feel like I should be up on some of this old literature, and if I had gone to college I probably would have read the damn book, but I didn’t. 

Why do you feel like you need to be up on this literature? 

I just feel like I need to learn more and more to increase my worldview.  I think every human being should be trying to learn new things and broaden their perspectives.  You don’t want to just live in your own little bubble.  I’m just amazed that I even get to be alive and be on this earth for a short period of time.  I want to learn and experience as much as I can.

What do you think of Jake Shields’ stand-up ability?

He’s an adept kickboxer, but I’m a lot better.  That is definitely going to take a heavy toll on him later in the fight.  He’s not going to have the punching power as the fight goes on and he’s not going to be able to keep up with me on the feet.  At the beginning of every round, he’s got to start there. 

A lot of guys, when they go up against a good grappler like him, find that they can’t let their feet and hands go because they’re so worried about getting taken down.

Yeah, but that’s the thing.  I’m not really afraid of getting taken down.  I’m just not.  Even if he takes me down, so what?  It’s still a fight after that.  It’s not like he’s going to smash me the way he does all the 170-pounders.

I saw the video where you said that this fight needs to be your masterpiece.  Did that make you prepare any differently?  Did you train harder?  Did you put more pressure on yourself?

Yeah, I trained harder.  I made adjustments inside the gym to make my techniques sharp.  But pressure?  No.  I don’t put pressure on myself.  I just let it come naturally.  I do what I like, and that’s what’s going to help me win this fight.  I really enjoy what I’m doing.

(BF)

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Bloodlust- November 7, 2009 at 6:24 pm
well said dong, i think you've got a read on him....the guy's a huge dbag, and is now where as good or as cool as he thinks he is. Shields isnt my fav fighter by any stretch but ill pull for him vs miller. Anything that ticks that 15 min of fame down quicker.
Griz8WhiteHYPE- November 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm
doesnt viacom own(or used to) both cbs and mtv? shouldn't get footage of mayhem be the easiest thing ever?
Jarekov The Great- November 6, 2009 at 5:17 pm
i love miller, awesome character. when he walked out in an old fight in japan wearing a dr. doom mask he immediately became my favorite fighter.
DeepFriedGSP- November 6, 2009 at 4:02 pm
JMM is quickly becoming my favorite fighter. I agree w what was said about him having an interesting and different personality than most fighters, and I think he really cares about putting on a show-while still really wanting the win. That's endearing and refreshing at the same time.
Shields reminds me of every other boring gifted jock fighter in the world, and I hope he dies in the cage or at least contracts Montaba from the Outbreak monkey one day.
Thankyou.
F GSP.
CodyV- November 6, 2009 at 1:47 pm
lol, I got the God Delusion just yesterday!
just some dong- November 6, 2009 at 11:30 am
I dunno about this guy. I just can't get a read on him. I'm sure that's the whole point, but he does seem to be pretty conflicted. Here he complains about crass UFC fans shouting stuff like "Poke him in the eye!" during fights, yet his antics fall right in line with that kind of schoolyard mentality. I could easily see him shouting the same kind of thing from the crowd himself. And if I'm mistaken about that, well, it's only because he gives off that sort of impression.

He talks a lot and there's definitely more to Miller than meets the eye. But so far I'm not convinced he's much more than a self-centered punk that knows how to fight.

KillDozer- November 6, 2009 at 11:12 am
I just hired UFC fag to be my marketing guy. Looks like he is doing a good job of promoting my name. Good job, bitch, pimp daddy is proud.
KidDinomite- November 6, 2009 at 10:57 am
The Keys to Victory will probably say that the only way Mayhem can take the fight is with a straight right punch. That is the lamest vignette in MMA period!
mthomas- November 6, 2009 at 10:36 am
BTW CP: Shitty font. Not as readable as your usual one.
caffn8d- November 6, 2009 at 10:35 am
Say what you want, but someone who reads philosophy, psychology, and catches up on literary classics in their spare time is more cerebral than 90% of this nation. If anything I think he downplays his intelligence by upping his antics and his continual self deprecation in that area.
Clyde- November 6, 2009 at 10:13 am
Who else wants to see one of Strikeforce's patented "keys to victory in the cage" videos where they anounce that Mayhem's key to victory is the face bite?
Remsaa- November 6, 2009 at 9:51 am
WAR MILLER

MyFightWiffaCheeto- November 6, 2009 at 9:47 am
People don't like Mayhem because of the goofy ass demeanor that he displays for the cameras.

Watch any video about him on AllElbows and you see a completely different side of the man. He's got a great and unique personality and I'm pulling for him in this fight. He comes off a lot better than some other fighters that always say the same redundant crap, i.e. "I'm gonna take his head off," "I'm gonna Knock him out," etc.
UFC fan- November 6, 2009 at 9:43 am
hey everyone killdozer is FIRST ( in dicksucking)


GO mayhem! Bite shields face.
VisitingDeadAncestors- November 6, 2009 at 9:39 am
i think he gives himself a little more "cerebral" credit than he deserves. but hey, he could pull this fight off...
K.E.G.- November 6, 2009 at 9:38 am
Lets just do this shit already. I'm looking forward to a good scrap here, but I was there live for Lawler Shield and thought the same thing. so what the fuck do I know? i just wish this would happen already I'm sick of hearing about it.
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