"All I knew is that I sat on the bench for a year," the Bully Beatdown host told MMA Fighting. "That's all I knew."
Only once his Strikeforce contract expired and he signed with the UFC did Miller finally learn why he'd spent the past year of his life waiting for a fight offer that never came. According to UFC president Dana White, he'd been banned from Showtime and CBS – Strikeforce's TV partners – for his role in the post-fight melee that erupted live on CBS in Nashville, Tenn. last April.
Showtime representatives declined to comment on the situation, but the UFC president told MMA Weekly that the MTV star had been "banished from CBS for life."
Since CBS also owns Showtime – Strikeforce's primary TV outlet – that reportedly made Miller unwelcome in just about any televised Strikeforce fight, though Miller said no one in Strikeforce or Showtime let him know what his situation was.
"I asked, and guess what? Nobody would tell me," Miller said. "This is a political environment. Nobody's going to tell you. They're just going to be cowards about it. That's the way of the world. Nobody's going to tell the crazy ultimate fighter guy to his face, 'Hey, screw you.' They're not going to do that."
But even if Miller didn't know for sure, he obviously suspected. He was the one who worked his way into the cage to ask then Strikeforce middleweight champ Jake Shields for a rematch, and for his trouble he was mobbed by Shields' teammates.
Miller was one of five fighters to be fined and suspended for his role in the fracas. Several other Strikeforce fighters were also put on ice, but when their suspensions were up they went right back to work.
Miller was permitted to take one fight in Japan, where he won a submission victory over MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba, but Strikeforce declined to offer him any more fights. He was left to wait out the end of his contract, and once that had expired, he quickly signed with the UFC.
"Up until the last minute – up until it was apparent that they had no intention of fulfilling the contract – I was like, hey, I'm ready to fight. Let's fight," Miller said. "At the last moment, it looks as if, okay, they can't fulfill the contract. Now I fight in the UFC. ...I have no ill will towards anyone. If that's how they saw it, then that's how they saw it. If that's the case that I was really banned [from Showtime], then hey, it's not the first place I've been 86'd from."
Just a little over a year from the date of the brawl in Nashville, Miller signed on to return to the Octagon for the first time since his decision loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 52 in 2005. The UFC wasted no time in giving him a fight, slotting him against Aaron Simpson at UFC 132 in July.
The situation ultimately worked out well in the end for him, Miller said, but not without taking a toll on his career and his finances first.
"Here I've been sitting on the bench. I've been training. I've been working hard and improving, but do you guys think I get some sort of severance package? Do you think I have Bully Beatdown billions? I don't, trust me. I sat around and wasted a good chunk of my career that I could have been making income and capitalizing on the fact that my body is great and I know how to fight."
To Miller, the truly vexing part is that while he was one of several fighters involved in the incident – not to mention the one who ended up outnumbered and at the bottom of a dogpile by the end – he was the only one to be denied any further Strikeforce fights because of it.
"Maybe it was because I was the only guy who apologized and accepted the blame," he said. "I was the only guy who really apologized for it, and not this half-hearted thing where my manager's making me say I'm sorry. I was truly apologetic. That whole incident, I never expected anything like that to happen."