By Elias Cepeda
In addition to being a StrikeForce middleweight, Jason "Mayhem" Miller hosts an MTV reality show called "Bully Beatdown," and Saturday night he seemed to mistake a real-life situation for his scripted side-project.
Miller fought on the undercard of the CBS/StrikeForce Saturday night fights event in Nashville Tenn, winning in the first round against an overmatched Tim Stout. It was a showcase fight for Miller - an experienced and extremely skilled Brazilian Jiu Jitsu based fighter - as close to a "gimme" as can exist in a sport where your opponent is trying to knock you out or break a limb.
After beating Stout inside five minutes, Miller had a couple hours to rest before the man who he last faced, Jake Shields, defended his middleweight title against Dan Henderson. Whereas Miller's elaborate dancing ring entrance that night probably took more planning and energy than his fight, Shields was a huge underdog, fighting fifteen pounds above his natural weight class against one of the most feared and accomplished MMA fighters in history.
Despite the odds, and getting beat up badly in the first round, Shields managed to route
Shields and Miller engaged in an under appreciated back-and-forth grappling war last November and Shields walked away with a close decision win. Miller, who for some reason was allowed in the cage at this time, walked up behind and then in front of Shield's sponsor banner (which, savvy readers know is the way that these fighters get almost half or more of their money) and then got in the champion's face, asking for a rematch.
Never mind that Shields was literally in mid-sentence during his interview as Miller shoved his way through his teammates, coaches and into the camera frame and the champ's face, Shields still simply smiled and put a hand out to shake. Instead of shaking, Miller then got even closer - right in Shield's face while "mean mugging" him, and appeared to bump his chest.
At that point Melendez, standing next to Shields, rightly decided that Miller was not just being incredibly disrespectful, but was also simply too close, and shoved "Mayhem," away. So, Miller interrupted Shields during his moment, got in his face, demanded something of him, rejected a hand shake and kind words only to get even more in Shields face and bump him and then a teammate of Shields shoved him away. For those keeping score that's - Miller: Jackass interruption on national TV, shouting, invasion of special "me" space and then bumping with a staredown. Team Shields: Push the offender away.
Team Shields' reaction seems perfectly reasonable at that point. Unfortunately things didn't end there, and that was Miller's fault.
After getting his face on camera again and making his point that he wanted a rematch (a very sensible and warranted idea), and bumping the champion, he could not deal with the offense of simply getting pushed back.
When he regained his balance after falling backwards into the sponsor banner, Mayhem put up his dukes and barged towards Melendez. Yes, Melendez is thirty pounds lighter than Miller, had fought about five times the amount Miller had that night and was simply and rightfully standing up for his teammate in a proportional way when he pushed Miller away. But "Mayhem," still decided he should go after him with his fists.
If Miller didn't think he was walking onto the set of his MTV show when he decided to crash Team Shields' party, he sure wished he had soon afterwards. You see, for some astounding reason, the rest of Shields' team, including welterweight champ Nick Diaz and UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, didn't think it was right that Miller had pushed their friend Shields and then went after the much smaller Melendez and they decided to jump in and defend them as well.
As Miller got pummeled, pounded, dragged to the ground and stomped on in the moments that followed, you could only imagine him wondering how his cute little attention-mongering idea went wrong, wishing his MTV producers were there to protect him and yelling out "cut, cut!"
He couldn't, or it wouldn't have mattered. Miller wanted to start some "Mayhem," and got it. Unfortunately for him, it came in the form of a angry blows raining down from above onto his dyed head.
Let's leave the excessive moralizing behind for a moment. When you look at the plain and simple sequence of events that were caught on tape, "Mayhem" started something he couldn't finish.
Miller started it, he escalated it, he got beaten down. I'm not saying I love the site of five-seven guys beating up one, but in this instance, I can certainly understand how it happened.
Perhaps hoping that "Mayhem" won't act like a buffoon in the future is overly optimistic. But for his sake, he should at least keep it to his easy opponents and the chubby kids that appear on his MTV show.