Cole Miller was a cast member of The Ultimate Fighter 5, one of the most popular seasons of the sport-changing reality show. TUF 5 brought the UFC the likes of Nate Diaz, Joe Lauzon, Gray Maynard, Manny Gamburyan, along with Miller.
After the season wrapped in 2007, Miller said UFC president Dana White pulled him aside to say if Miller ever needed anything, just ask and he'd try to help in any way he could.
"I've always thought of Dana as a pretty reasonable dude, personally," Miller told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "You talk to him, he's pretty easy to talk to."
With that in mind, Miller asked his manager to set up a meeting with White or someone in the UFC hierarchy to discuss a recent grievance. Miller was upset that the UFC's card in Manila back in October was cancelled and he only learned about it while he was in the process of heading to the Philippines early due to a hurricane. Miller said he was paid just $10,000 when the entire event was scrapped, which is less than one-third of his show money.
Miller was hoping to "cash in that card" from nine years ago with White. It didn't seem to work out for him. Miller said he offered to fly to Las Vegas on his own dime and pay for his own hotel room to sit down with someone from the promotion about this issue. Miller said he was told not to come.
"They couldn't even give me a reason and then when I tried to fly out on my own dime, they were like, ‘Nope, not taking a meeting with you,'" Miller said.
Miller said that he reached out to White on Twitter and White said he'd call him last Monday, but he has not heard from White since.
Miller, 32, is already in Sacramento for his UFC on FOX 22 fight with Mizuto Hirota on Saturday. He said he has not spoken to anyone in the UFC yet while there and isn't sure what to expect during fight week.
"All that I needed them to do was just listen to me and I'd listen to them, you know the way it should be done," Miller said. "And I'll fly out on my own dime and get my own hotel and all that stuff."
A request for comment from the UFC was not answered Monday.
This is the last fight on Miller's contract, he said, and he does not plan on re-signing with the UFC afterward. The Georgia native said he needs a break from MMA after four months of training camp — half for the fight with Hirota that didn't happen in Manila and half for this current bout.
"It seems like they don't want me back by just the way they're treating me, ignoring me," Miller said. "If I win this fight and they send me a contract, I'm not signing that. Why would I want to fight for you when you didn't show any interest in me fighting for you? Just take that thing on back."
Miller (21-10, 1 NC) said he spoke with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby about the situation and Shelby told him to just beat Hirota and then re-negotiate with the UFC.
"None of that makes sense," Miller said. "Why would I want to re-negotiate with somebody that doesn't want to listen to my issues and my grievances. And what does winning one fight have to do with getting paid for a training camp you already did?"
When asked if he thought he might get the cold shoulder this week in Sacramento, Miller laughed.
"I've been getting the cold shoulder for what, 3 1/2 months now?" Miller said. "I've been getting the cold shoulder in other aspects when I'm trying to fight and Sean Shelby books me every 10 months. You think that's what I want to do? Fight every 10 months? C'mon, man."
"Magrinho" said he has been actively looking into the different groups attempting to organize fighters, including the recently launched MMA Athletes Association (MMAAA). Miller said he texted briefly with Tim Kennedy about it and also spoke on the phone for an hour with Bjorn Rebney. He said he has not officially joined any of the groups, though, and is still doing research.
The American Top Team product might have some time on his hands to figure things out following this bout.
"I'm tired of this fight, I'm tired of Hirota, I'm tired of the UFC right now," Miller said. "Seventeen weeks of training, that's over four months. I need a break. I need some rest."
If a call came in from White, though, and a meeting was planned, Miller said he would of course take it.
"I'm never past anything," he said. "If he wants to have a meeting or a discussion, that's exactly what I've been wanting for the last four months. I'd certainly be open to a discussion."