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Pat Miletich Discusses 'Mixed Feelings' About Zuffa-Strikeforce Purchase

When former UFC champion Pat Miletich showed up to fulfill his duties as a Strikeforce commentator at last Friday's Challengers event in Stockton, Calif., he became part of a mini-reunion that he hadn't planned on when he first took the job, he told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

The event marked the first time a Strikeforce show had been run under the Zuffa banner since the organization was purchased by the UFC's parent company in March, and as a result Miletich was back in the same arena with his former employers, this time in a very different role.

Miletich said he had "conversations, but not meetings" with Zuffa officials before the event, and while he was pleased with how things went, he admitted that he was not without reservations when he first heard the news of the monumental sale.

"You've got mixed feelings," he told Helwani. "Obviously you wonder what's going to happen. Nobody's quite sure how things are going to go. The UFC obviously runs a very tight ship. They're going to do things better overall because of experience, and so that's a good thing. You worry for some of the athletes...if things don't go well and they're not able to keep Strikeforce going – Strikeforce, obviously, was purchased because they were hurting for money – so hopefully the UFC can turn that around and make it profitable. Then there'll be a lot of kids that still have jobs. But if they can't and they have to close the doors and take the fighters in that they think are very valuable assets to the rest of the organization, then they'll do that and the rest will have to look for jobs. So you worry for those folks."

But the good news, at least for Miletich, is that his once contentious relationship with UFC president Dana White has evolved into a more amicable one now that both men have agreed to bury the hatchet over past disputes.

"We have no problems," Miletich said of White. "It was just that he and I are both bull-headed and he's probably pretty stubborn, I guess, like me. Neither one of us will take any sh-t off anybody, and so we butt heads. My main thing was just to say, number one, I'm not going to say anything negative in the media about you, and he appreciated that and said he'd likewise do the same. That was the main thing. I don't like having enemies. I would rather get along with people and I guess that comes with age. You learn a little bit, not so ornery all the time, and just learn to get along with people."

Though Miletich was at the broadcast table for last weekend's Challengers event, he won't be on hand for Saturday night's Diaz vs. Daley broadcast – a fact that will no doubt upset some of Miletich's many ardent supporters in the MMA world.

Despite the fact that he's mostly been confined to the smaller Challengers broadcasts, Miletich has become a fan favorite as a color commentator, even if his attempts to put over some of the lesser-known fighters has resulted in some push-back from the media at times.

"My job, no matter what, is to sell to the fans the fighters that I think are very marketable and very good athletes and very good fighters," Miletich said. "It wouldn't matter what organization I'm doing commentary for – whether it was the UFC, Strikeforce, M-1, Dream – the guys that catch my attention, I'm going to sell to the public and help them to understand how good these kids are. That's really what it came down to is the kids that I believe in, that really could go to the top of the sport, were the guys that I was going to throw praise on and help market those kids so that their careers could be successful."

As for his own fighting career, well, it might not be completely over just yet. The 43-year-old Miletich last competed in a victorious effort over Thomas Denny in December of 2008, and said he wouldn't rule out a return to the cage, although talk of a fight with boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. was more of an April Fool's Day joke than anything else.

Miletich, who said he "had a little fun with the interviewer" when he implied in a recent video interview that he and Jones would square off soon, added that whether it's realistic or not, he wouldn't be opposed to a bout with the former boxing champ.

"Roy and I actually do talk, and it would be a fun fight and he and I had joked around about it, but he's got a fight coming up in Russia, a boxing match, so he's busy doing the boxing thing," said Miletich. "Would I fight him? Yeah, I'd love to. Would he fight me? That remains to be seen, but we've discussed it."

As for one more bout against an actual MMA fighter?

"You never know," Miletich said. "I'm not calling people out. I'm not looking for fights or anything like that. But if somebody offered something that was a marketable fight with a big name guy, I would certainly consider it."

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