The last time mixed martial arts was on CBS it beat Major League Baseball’s playoffs in the coveted 18-34-year-old male demographic. Back then, EliteXC relied on Kimbo Slice to deliver ratings. On Nov. 7, the network will pin its hopes on world-class middleweight and host of MTV’s “Bully Beatdown,” Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
“If they stick a microphone in my face then I’ll go rip on it. Let’s just do it. I want everyone to know about this fight,” said Miller during Strikeforce’s Wednesday conference call. “I want everyone to watch this fight. I think they’re missing out [on] the big time not only on a fantastic match—me against Jake Shields—but seeing arguably the best fighter in the world [Fedor Emelianenko] compete against an undefeated Brett Rogers.”
The former ICON middleweight king, and current DREAM contender/reality TV star insists there’s no reason fans should miss the fight either. It’s free, and he’s spending his time off from training blowing up Facebook, Myspace and Twitter reminding fans to save the date. He made sure to create some sound bites for fans during the call too.
When his opponent, Jake Shields stated that there’s no hard feelings between the two but its business and he’ll “have no problem punching him in the face,” Miller interrupted. “You’re breaking my heart. I thought we were best friends,” Mayhem
Miller wasn’t always so polished and media-savvy. He started in the sport during its darker days as a nerdy, overly energetic teenager looking to defend himself. He slept in a van outside of a Huntington Beach, Calif. gym and dedicated himself to fighting. Gaining recognition in Hawaii’s fight scene, Miller became a cult figure and dubbed his fervent fan base “Mayhem Monkeys” and assigning them numbers. He began hosting his own MTV show, “Bully Beatdown,” in March 2009 and started infiltrating the mainstream. The Strikeforce card on CBS represents a breakthrough opportunity for him. But Shields, a Cesar Gracie black belt and former Shooto and Rumble on the Rock champion, plans to spoil Miller’s coming out party.
“I think the middleweight division is the toughest division. That’s why I chose to move up [from 170-pounds]. I’m out here looking for competition,” said Shields. “This fight against ‘Mayhem’ is awesome. That’s why I’m taking this serious and training my ass off and I can’t wait for the 7th.”
Miller is 5-1 with no one contest in the past two years (22-6 overall). Shields (23-4-1) enters the fight as the favorite thanks to 12-fight win streak that’s approaching five years. Despite his underdog status, Miller remains confident.
“I don’t care. Whatever,” he said. “I’m gonna do everything better than Jake: I’m gonna be able to grapple, kick, punch, choke, do whatever I have to do to win the fight…I’m just gonna show everyone that I have the skills to beat Jake.
“I think I can drive up some ticket sales and some viewership here on TV in the United States for [Strikeforce owner] Scott [Coker] so I’d love to do that to have a good partnership here in the United States with Strikeforce,” said Miller before adding he still plans to fight in Japan. Should he defeat Shields, two challengers Miller has already faced, Tim Kennedy and Ronald “Jacare” Souza, await. Miller welcomes those bouts—even offering to fight both in one night—but isn’t looking past the San Franciscan.
Shields concluded, “I think its gonna be a good fight and we’ll probably beat the crap out of each other for the people at home.”
Not to be outdone, the Hollywood-based Miller rolled out his best sales pitch last.
“Let’s get it done folks. Let’s watch the damn fight. Let’s get excited because we finally get to see Fedor fight for free on television, which I’ve been waiting for forever. I’ll be excited to watch it in the front row with my brand new Strikeforce belt.”