Morning Report: Jason 'Mayhem' Miller's act far more worrisome than condemnable

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Maybe Jason "Mayhem" Miller was in on the whole thing. Maybe he purposely pulled an Andy Kaufman, and he's sitting back chuckling to himself right now at the flood of incredulous responses he's inevitably receiving. I say maybe, because I don't actually think that's true. But, I guess, I'd like to believe it is. Because the alternative is tragic.

I don't pretend to have a degree in psychology. I won't act like I have a deep knowledge or understanding of mental illness. Like any medical layman, any sense I have on the subject is derived purely from life experiences. With that, all I can say is in watching Miller's bizarre, belligerent appearance on yesterday's episode of The MMA Hour, the uneasy pit in my stomach swelled larger and larger until it felt like it was going to burst.

Our world today is incomparably voyeuristic. We carry super-powered computers in our pockets, and the immediacy of everything tends to have a dehumanizing effect. Miller was widely chided for his lethargic UFC performances, gawked at after a stark retirement interview, and then giggled at when the words "Naked" and "Church" rolled through the headlines. Put everything together, and yesterday's show was going to be a telling moment in this man's life. And willingly or unwillingly, he chose to present himself in that way; to fly across the country, swear at an old, concerned friend and generally act like a very sick man.

The "Mayhem" personality has always seemed like an outlet for Miller's flamboyance, but lately it seems as if the gap between the two is eerily close. Like I said, I really do hope it was just a bad joke on Miller's part. I hope somebody close to him sits him down and explains how needlessly distant from reality it all was. Because if not, and it was a genuine cry for help, it doesn't seem as if we're headed towards a pleasant ending to this story.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Mayhem walks out. In his first interview in months, Jason "Mayhem" Miller engaged in an unsettling back-and-forth with Ariel Helwani as Lucky Patrick, Miller's character from the film Here Comes the Boom. Miller refused to break character numerous times throughout the interview, before eventually becoming belligerent, climbing on top of the desk, throwing objects and storming out of the studio shouting expletives.

The MMA hour. Ariel Helwani and The MMA Hour return with the aforementioned bizarre in-studio appearance from Jason "Mayhem" Miller, plus interviews with Sean McCorkle, CM Punk and Eric Albarracin.

Feijao's suspension upheld. The California State Athletic Commission yesterday unanimously voted to uphold the one-year suspension of former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante. Cavalcante will be sidelined until May 18, 2013 after testing positive for stanozolol metabolites in the aftermath of his first round submission victory over Mike Kyle.

Bellator, Spike TV announces casting call. Bellator Fighting Championships announced an open casting call for its upcoming Spike TV reality show, to be held on November 10 at the American Top Team Gym in Coconut Creek, FL. Lightweight and welterweight fighters over the age of 21, with at least three professional wins and a minimum of a .500 win percentage are invited to attend.

McMann injured. Strikeforce contender Sara McMann suffered an injury in training, leading her to withdraw from a scheduled bout against Liz Carmouche. This marks the third major fight on Strikeforce's November 3rd card to collapse under the weight of injuries, following Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir and Luke Rockhold vs. Lorenz Larkin.

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MEDIA STEW

I really don't know what else to say about this. I just hope Mayhem is alright.

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On a much lighter note, NickTheFace proves once again that he's the master of sending chills down our collective spines.

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Watching Shinya Aoki spin circles around out-classed opponents on the mat is stupidly entertaining.

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This commercial comes straight out of Brazil, and you might recognize a few of these guys.

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Another gem from the weekend: If there was a more fitting way for the Thiago Santos vs. Eric Prindle saga to end, I can't think of it.

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THE AFTERMATH

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REACTIONS

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ROLL ON

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INJURY UPDATE

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AND THE TWEET OF THE DAY GOES TO...

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Monday, October 8, 2012):

  • Strikeforce: Sara McMann (6-0) out with injury opposite Liz Carmouche (7-2)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from Michael Shulski, who offers a counterpoint with: I Can't Beat a Flyweight. I Still Don't Find Them as Entertaining

A recent fanpost entitled "You Can't Beat a Flyweight" introduced readers to the arrogance some fans hold toward the lighter weight classes. I have no delusion, despite the fact that I weigh 200 plus pounds, that I can beat a high level, professional fighter, at any weight class. In fact, I have less of a "punchers chance" when it comes to the lighter weight fighters. They are just that fast. I agree with the article that the delusion that larger, non-pro fighter "Joes" can beat smaller guys exists. However, there are other reasons why the lighter divisions aren't catching on with fans like they should be. I will explain this after the jump.

...

1) It's a blow to most guys' egos to admit they could be beaten by a man who could be all of half their size. This one goes without saying. The truth is that smaller fighters are really good at shooting takedowns on larger guys. The longer your legs, the more easy it is for a smaller guy to get in there and "dump you on your butt" so to speak. Most guys with longer legs don't have the sprawl of a Chuck Liddel or Anderson Silva. Likewise, we don't have the crazy trips of a Jon Jones.

2) Fighting styles in the lighter weight classes are more homogenized. So far, there have not been any really specialized fighters crossing over from disciplines other than freestyle wrestling. There aren't jiu-jitsu or submission grapplers specialized like a Demian Maia or a Paul Sass in these divisions as of yet. Let's hope that someone from boxing or high level jits crosses over to give diversity. So far, a majority of fighters in 125 and 135 are of the boxer-wrestler type. They also tend to point fight and not get as many subs or kos. Of course, there are fighters like Pickett and Barao who tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

3) The differences in body size, including height and muscularity, tend to be more homogenized in the lighter weight classes. We'll never see anything like Pat Barry vs. Stephan Struve in these divisions. Even the 155 division has guys more than half a foot taller than the other. Sean Sherk and Corey Hill come to mind. Many fans, myself included, like to see a shorter guy try to use footwork to beat a larger guy. It's part of what makes Jon Jones so interesting. The reach advantage. The lighter weight class are less likely to have discrepancies in reach advantages.

4) Finally, this has been touched on in other articles, the fact that these lighter weight fighters have yet to produce memorable fighters. Sure, Benavidez's and Johnson's similar life stories were compelling to me. Both could have turned to a life of crime. Unfortunately, for some odd reason, Johnson was relatively quiet and seemingly sedate at the press conference following his title win. Maybe it was fatigue. Ian McCall would have made a more colorful champion just because of his funky facial hair and nickname. Urishitani would have been the first full blooded Asian champ and an enigma to some. (Note: Machida, Penn and Benderson are half Asian). Maybe these guys can learn to market themselves like a Sonnen or Rampage?

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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