Am I the only long term MMA fan, who actually found the antics of Jason Miller on the weekend, to be funny? I find the whole scenario funny, including the rotten smell of it all.
This was what they call in the pro wrestling business, a "work". This was pre planned, and, while not everyone, a few people were involved, to make it happen. The idea behind a work, is to inflame the viewership, in order to get them to angrily tune in, and watch whatever bad guy, or "heel", get taught a lesson in the future, for his despicable actions, by the "face", or the good guy. I am talking more about pro wrestling 30 years ago, before the WWE told everyone the big secret, of pre-determined endings, and fixed matches.
This truly was a case of "life imitating art", provided one thinks of pro wrestling as an art, and the players on it, as actors. 30 years ago people believed that to some degree, they were watching a real match, with real rules. The organizations, at that time, worked behind the scenes secretly with the wrestlers, to come up with way to get people to pay attention, using little hooks, just like this one. This was how main event matches were determined.
And in that vain, Mayhem actually deserves an acadamy award.
I mean, after sitting through yet another title fight, turned collegiate wrestling match, in which a veteran grappler, Hendo, was thoroughly dominated on the ground by Jake Shields, we get treated to Mayhem, standing looking like a high school kid, with a big goofy smile, and staring at the camera, in the background, while they try to interview the victor. Shields fighting, to a real MMA fan, was brilliant. Shields survived almost being KO'ed in the first, only to come back, and completely smother Hendo. It was a great victory for him, done over a veteran fighter, in a completely dominating way, on a National Stage. I take nothing away from Shields, except that his style is actually not what I like to see, either. (I have an appreciation for it, but prefer a good donnybrook)
From there, somebody let Miller into the cage. Miller had to have expert timing, and get through several ringside officials, tv personnel, and security, to even get into the cage, to make his nonsensical statement.
"Where's my rematch Buddy??"
And, the TNA typical, "We are out of time", run of the mill, pier 6 brawl erupts. Crowd going mad, bodies flying, punches, shoves, swears, and general upheaval. Testosterone so thick, it could literally be scooped up with your hands.
And the commentators are disgraced, and in an uproar. (Mauro Renallo shocked sounding like Jim Ross, ten years ago was almost comical. I was waiting for him to start yelling "Mayhem, Mayhem, Mayhem!!! Damn you Mayhem!") The in house fans are cheering like mad, and the real MMA fans worldwide, are turning away, from the debacle, in disgrace.
Mayhems antics, made Strikeforce front page news. The bouts on the card, might not have even been mentioned otherwise. I mean, Strikeforce, MMA and CBS was the top story, nationwide.
This was a "work", designed to get viewers inflamed enough to tune in to watch both the rematch, and the subsequent beating of the overmatched bad guy, by the hero of the day. (gosh, that sure sounds like faces against heels, doesnt it?) But, it was also so that we will all tune in, next time, to see Strikeforce on CBS. ("In the meantime, and in between time, thats it, for another edition of Strikeforce!" says Ed Whalen)
But the casual fan, and you know who I mean when I say the "uneducated masses", cheer, talk about it around the water cooler, and go to many of the news, and sports sites and stations, where this was front page news. In droves actually.
The publicity was negative. Don't get me personally wrong. I thought the antics were low brow, and foolish. But, I get it. This was about scoring points, with "NEW" MMA fans, and getting them to come back. And lets face it. The lay and pray, is not going to bring them out. This was a bit of clever marketing, mixed with outside of the box thinking, and a very bold, albeit desperate bad guy.
Today, Mayhem Miller has taken enough criticism, that even he has come out and issued a public apology. Dana White, and all of the UFC are talking about it. Here on Bleacher Report, non casual and long term MMA fans are talking about it. The general news media, is still talking about it. CBS execs, and Strikeforce powers that be, are talking about it. You came here, to read about it.
And all free press, is good press, particularly when you consider the somewhat shaky footing, with this particular MMA organization. People are clamoring now, for a Shields/Miller rematch, even though the first one, was actually a snoozer, imo, easily won by Jake. CBS wants and needs ratings, and sadly, wrestling matches is not going to get them.
Animosity is. Villiany and Showmanship are. "Heat" between fighters is. Controversy sells.
But, while most blame Miller, for being a knucklehead, I would say to you that this occured because there are no published and sanctioned rankings in MMA. The UFC does not publish them, nor does Strikeforce.
The facts are that, both organizations, make matchups, based on popularity, using the probablity of high ratings, and ppv buys. I would throw out there, that Miller was trying to remain relevant, by taking the road that the matchmakers use to decide who will fight who. It's them that created this situation, and Miller is just smart, and outlandish enough to spot it. I submit, that he is simply trying to work within the framework created by the powers that be.
I loved hearing Scott Coker say that "we will not reward that type of behavior." I loved it because, some high level, CBS exec somewhere, is going to notice that there is a lot of buzz about the network, and that people either love or hate Miller, and want to see him go Shields again. Somebody, somewhere, in the upper echelon, who probably knows little about MMA, and cares little about its growth, is going to spot the fact that CBS, Strikeforce, a world class Wrestler in Sheilds, and a career minor leaguer in Miller, are all household names, in areas outside of the typical MMA demographic, as of today. These people do not know of "Jacare", nor do they care. They want violence, brawls, and a show. This is KJ Noons/Nick Diaz on speed.
If Strikeforce plans on staying in business, they will do what they are told to do by CBS. Somewhere today, in the Ivory CBS Tower, somebody, is demanding the "fans", get what they want to see.
And I would say to you, that Mayhem Miller didn't invent the game. He is simply playing it under the existing rules.