Jason "Mayhem" Miller might well be the most famous mixed martial artist not fighting in the UFC. As the host of MTV's Bully Beatdown, Mayhem won himself a whole new legion of mainstream fans and solved a few problems along the way.
On May 26 in Kanagawa, Japan, he goes back to his regular job: fighting. At DREAM 9, Miller (22-6) will take on Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (10-2) in a rematch of their June 2008 fight, which Jacare won by unanimous decision. But this time, it's for the middleweight title.
In an exclusive interview with FanHouse, Mayhem talks about hiding from unwanted attention, why he still thinks Jacare is overrated and if we'll ever see him back fighting for a major U.S. promotion.
Mike Chiappetta: What's it like going around town these days as the star of an MTV show? Is the attention crazy?
Jason "Mayhem" Miller: Yeah bro, everyone and their brother knows who I am. Even my mom gets assaulted for interviews because they want to know about the Bully Beatdown guy. It's pretty cool to be getting mainstream recognition, but it also means a lot of uncomfortable conversations where I have nothing to say to people who think they know me because they see me make wisecracks on television.
Will you have to abandon the red stripe in your hair to stop from being noticed?
I wear a baseball cap, even though I look like d*****bag in a baseball cap. And I shaved my head when I was training for this fight just so I wouldn't get recognized that much. It doesn't matter. I got fat ears and an ugly nose that everybody's looking at.
So have you had to go into hiding while preparing for this fight?
Pretty much. When I'm preparing for a fight I'm training for the fight and that's it. It would be fun to be out partying and taking advantage of the celebrity status I've got. I'm like Milli Vanilli; I got like 400 friends right now. Everyone and their brother wants to hang with MTV Mayhem. I don't care. I just kind of keep to myself. Despite my crazy demeanor, I'm kind of private.
So do you get to enjoy any part of fame while you're training?
Any part of it? I'm enjoying every part of it. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome. I always knew this stuff was going to happen eventually, but I just didn't figure it would be on a reality show. But it's no big deal. I'm enjoying it. I'm as big an attention whore as anyone. But right now I'm focused on the fight. I've got a big job in front of me.
Has Bully Beatdown been renewed for season two?
Not officially yet. There are talks of course. It's pretty much going to happen. It's all but a guarantee.
Have any other interesting entertainment projects been presented to you since the show started airing?
Yeah, this that and the other. There's a lot of people trying to get their hand on the Mayhem pie. I'm happy. It feels good to be wanted.
Anything up your alley? Maybe some acting?
Whatever dude, my fight career is old as hell but my Hollywood career is fledgling. It's brand new. I'm just kind of feeling my way around in the dark right now. I'm just seeing what direction it takes me and where I'm going to go. I'm open to everything. There are a million wannabe actors in this city. I'm a mixed martial arts fighter. That's my angle to be awesome.
Will you do an episode when you beat down the bully or would that be the jump the shark episode?
I haven't closed off the possibility.
You always do fun ring entrances. Can you give us a hint of what you're planning for the Jacare fight?
I never tell anyone anything. I never tell what I'm going to do. That would ruin the surprise for the entrance.
How do you come up with the ideas?
It just hits me in a wave, I think about it, and usually it's not too far out from fight when I come up with it.
Before the first time you fought Jacare, you said he's overhyped. Do you still feel that way?
He is overhyped. And I'm going to knock his a** out and show everybody he's overhyped. Listen, he's a one-dimensional fighter in a day and age you can't be one-dimensional. I'm going to show everybody you can't do that. It's not 1993. You can't do a front kick into a takedown with the gi on. It's not happening.
The first time around, he didn't exactly dominate action, it was more positional advantage that won him the fight. I'm sure you went in there with a plan. Did you just get pulled into his game?
Of course. I tried to pass his guard, I tried a guillotine on an Abu Dhabi champion. I'm an idiot, man. I deserved to lose that last fight. The next fight is going to be totally different.
Did you ask for a rematch?
I didn't ask for it specifically. I mean, I asked for it right when the fight was over. I thought I had a snowball's chance in hell for getting a rematch. But apparently they voted over there in Japan on exciting fights of last year and ours ranked up there, so here I am fighting him again this year for the title.
Do you care about being the DREAM champion? What would that mean to you?
It means everything man. It's the strap. It's for the strap like when it was 1987 and I was living Hulkamania.
How far ahead of time do you head to Japan to get used to the time change?
I'm leaving on the 19th.
You're better known in the States these days since hosting Bully Beatdown. Do you plan to capitalize on that and fight in the US for a major promotion anytime soon?
I don't care really. I mean, yeah I would like to but I'm not stressing about it. I want to, but I love fighting in Japan. Honestly, I would just keep fighting in Japan if I had my way, but I haven't closed off my mind to the opportunities of fighting here in the United States. I'd like to fight here in the States. That'd be cool.
How many fights do you have left on your DREAM contract?
A lot. There's a champion's clause. Once I'm a champion I have to stay and defend the belt.
Say you beat Jacare and you can book your own future. Who would your dream match be against?
I don't know? Royce Gracie? But Royce Gracie in the gi in 1993. I don't know. Dream match? How about Art Jimmerson, the guy who wore one glove? I don't have a dream match. I don't give a damn about that stuff.
I know you love video games. Would you sign with UFC to help get yourself into the next UFC video game?
Hell no, I ain't giving up my life for a video game. I want to make my own video game, the Mayhem video game. I think my video game would be way more kicka**. I'm an actual gamer. I heard the UFC video game is pretty good but that was from an idiot. I don't know if I trust him, I've got to try it myself. But my video game would be better.