Despite Jason Miller‘s basic-cable cred, Michael Bisping will be the biggest UFC star to compete at the TUF 14 Finale on Saturday night. He’s also one of the biggest villains on the UFC roster — a fighter who fans love to hate. To some extent, you can blame that on reality show editing, which Bisping in fact does, starting at the 10:18 mark of this video interview. But he’s also been responsible for some real-life behavior that’s just nasty and wrong. Like Josh Koscheck, the villain persona that has been hoisted on Bisping seems to be an exaggerated version of what’s already there.
In this 20-minute pre-fight chat, Ariel Helwani gets the Count’s thoughts on his fight with Mayhem Miller, and attempts to reconcile Michael Bisping the bully character with Michael Bisping the human being. Here’s a cheat sheet…
According to “The Gangster from America,” contrary to popular belief, he will not be squaring off with Mark Munoz at the planned UFC on Fox 2 broadcast. Although he wouldn’t say when his next fight is, Sonnen did infer that his opponent will be decided this weekend.
The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale is just two days away, and though the bookies haven’t given us much to work with, we decided to throw y’all some last minute betting advice come fight night in case you plan on bluffing the piss out of Johnny Chan in the Palms Casino afterward. Check out the betting lines, courtesy of BestFightOdds, along with the almighty wisdom of the Great Potato, below.
The Main Event: Let’s get right to it. Bisping has a lot of advantages going into this fight: he’s never been submitted, which is Miller’s bread and butter, he’s fought more in the past year, and he has considerably less pressure on him than Mayhem, who is out to prove to casual and hardcore fans alike that he is more than just a goofball TV personality. And we all know that Bisping will do anything, and I mean anything, to destroy those who slander him publicly, so Miller will most definitely be facing at a steep hill to climb for his first appearance in the octagon since 2005. But there are a couple crucial outside factors here. As Miller has stated, he is one hard headed son of a bitch, and despite what Bisping’s record says, have we ever seen him truly overwhelm an opponent as tough as Mayhem on the feet? You could argue Denis Kang, but I would respond to that argument with a pat on your head and a condescending chuckle.
But before we put this sumbitch to bed, we have two more semi-final fights to get through. John “The Snitchin’ Magician” Dodson is training for his bantamweight face-off with teammate Johnny Bedford, while Bedford blatantly creeps on him the whole time. Coach Mayhem decides he won’t corner either man, leaving that responsibility up to the assistant coaches.
Says Dodson: “I only got taken down once, by Prince [John Albert], and I’m never going to get taken down again.” But taking Lil’ John down is, in fact, Bedford’s gameplan. And he doesn’t think Dodson has the power to hurt him. Dodson giggles and poses in the face-off after weigh-ins. Once again, we marvel at how small this man is, and how he should really be competing at 125, if such a division existed in the UFC. And once again, his size disadvantage probably won’t matter one damn bit.
Though not much is revealed in the first installment (other than Miller admitting Nick Diaz to be one of his favorite fighters), we do get a sneak peak at Mayhem’s diet and weight cutting method from nutritionist and Team Mayhem assistant coach Ryan Parsons. Turns out, Parsons is a strong believer in the power of romance in a fighter’s life. Tom Lawlor concurs.
“I just want everyone to understand how fricken hard I am training. I have never trained this hard or smart for a fight in my life. In ironic twist news- I’m totally getting reimbursed for John Dodson’s insubordination. I’m not even asking about Michael’s training, but for some reason all the friends that I’ve had for years that are working with him seem to be inclined to tell me about his camp and what he’s doing. I don’t want or need this info, I’m going to beat him regardless, just found it interesting. Pretty karmic.”
Hmm. Michael Bisping’s TUF 14 assistant coaches Tiki Ghosn and Rob McCullough train in the same Huntington Beach circles as Miller — could they be moles infiltrating the Brit’s camp in the name of American patriotism? Or is Mayhem just trying to get in the Count’s head? Bisping is convinced that it’s the latter, telling InsideMMA:
With The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale just a couple weeks away, many of us have been wondering how prepared Jason Miller was for his return to the UFC, especially considering that he hasn’t truly faced legitimate competition since his unanimous decision loss to Jake Shields just over 2 years ago. Aaron Tru of TruMMA was able to catch up with the Team Mayhem coach recently, and aside from playing a good old fashioned game of “Sactap,” was able to achieve a rather serious conversation with Miller, at one point even discussing the WEC and Strikeforce veteran’s seriousness (or lack thereof) when it comes to training. And “Mayhem” was quick to set things straight for those doubters out there:
On his training camp: “[Training] is going fantastic. I’m really surprised. This is the first camp that I’ve got a super serious camp in my entire career, and I’m an old damn man by fighter’s standards. It feels awesome. I’ve never been in such good shape and I’ve never had such a good mental focus going into a fight. It’s really refreshing. I was like, ‘Oh, this is what training camp is supposed to be like.’”
On how serious he takes his training: “The reason I do this sport, the reason I got into this career, was because I enjoy going to a padded room where I can act as crazy as I want and it’s not an institution. I think you can train seriously and still have a lot of fun. Even on The Ultimate Fighter, here at Reign Training Center, even going back to high school wrestling, I was always like the funny guy on the team and I feel like it keeps morale up.”
“The Stoic Russian” is a hurtful stereotype, so we didn’t include it. The more you know…..
People complain about “pro-wrestling bullshit” invading MMA, but it’s been demonstrated over and over again: personality will get you places in the fight game. We’ve pointed this out before, like when we advised Jon Fitch on how to ensure a title shot. Some fighters are talked about incessantly on forums, at lunch tables, and in interviews because they’ve managed to capture the interest of fans, and many times it is because of things that they have done or said while not in the cage.
Come on in and let’s talk about archetypes, drama, and personality. Because there’s only so many technique videos out there.