Poor, poor Jason Miller.
The man held a special place in many MMA fans' hearts, simply because he actually seemed like he was having fun out there.
Make no mistake, he was a deceptively good fighter (this stayed under the radar for many years). His role on MTV's Bully Beatdown made him famous to all, but his actual skills went somewhat unnoticed.
He had one of the better ground games in the middleweight division and had solid stand-up. A short UFC career and a lack of respect from Strikeforce fans due to his feud with the ever-popular Cesar Gracie camp made it so his cage savvy consistently took his reputation's backseat.
Ultimately, though, the UFC (and basically any pro sport) asks “what have you done for me lately?”
So what has he done for them lately? He gave them a lukewarm season of The Ultimate Fighter. He gave one of the single worst performances in UFC history in his Coaches' Fight with Michael Bisping. He gave a less-than-awesome performance against CB Dollaway. He gave them a mysterious locker room incident.
That was enough for Dana White to give him a slip that matched his pink trunks, pink boa and pink boombox.
Even the most irrational of Miller-haters would say that his two most recent fights are not representative of his actual skills. White said the locker room incident was not physical, which automatically makes this incident more benign than almost anything Nick Diaz has done.
Ultimately, this seems to be building to a decree that has actually been years in the making.
The UFC brass wants the Octagon to be a fun-free zone. In an interview following UFC 146, Dana White said of Miller, “When you get embarrassed the way he did against Michael Bisping, then you show up in that pink whatever that thing was, I'm not into that stuff. It's not my thing...If you want to be a clown do that stuff on your reality show.”
This is far from the first time the UFC President has taken issue with somebody who has treated MMA as something other than a soul-numbing job. After all, he wagged a finger at Roy Nelson for his celebratory belly-rubbing and choice in walk-out music (he had Weird Al Yankovic's “Fat” for his first few fights).
Dennis Hallman is another example. Hallman, who allegedly lost a bet that resulted in him wearing some teeny-tiny trunks into the cage, “horrified” White to the point where he instituted a dress code. Seriously!
Though Miller certainly earned his way out of the UFC, many fighters have gained fans by reminding everyone that mixed martial arts is still fun.
This writer will admit it is a bit early to declare Dana White the disgruntled Dean of Students to Pat Barry and Tom Lawlor's “Animal House.” Still, it is a bit disappointing that the UFC is taking an increasingly hard stance on something that fans clearly enjoy.
Over the top walk-out entrances, unfortunately, seem to be going the way of the touchdown dance. While you may enjoy Tom Lawlor doing his impression of Apollo Creed, Dana White does not.
As has been illustrated many times now, Dana gets what Dana wants.
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