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Will good ratings save Mayhem Miller?

At a time where the UFC’s metrics haven’t exactly been hot, this is a pleasant surprise:

Putting a top-10 middleweight against a TV show personality helped The Ultimate Fighter draw its biggest season-ending audience in two years.

Saturday’s live finale for the reality show’s Season 14 averaged 2.5 million viewers, Spike TV said Tuesday. The program peaked at 3.4 million viewers for the start of the main event between consensus No. 7 middleweight Michael “The Count” Bisping and Bully Beatdown host Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who were engaged in a heated war of words throughout the season as opposing coaches.

The program was the most-watched TUF finale since Season 10’s Dec. 5, 2009 broadcast. It also led basic cable channels on Saturday for viewership in mixed martial arts’ core demographic groups of men ages 18-to-34 and 18-to-49, Spike said.

So good numbers. Good. Not great. But definitely good. Good enough to keep Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller from losing his job? We’ll have to see. Gassing after the first round in a big fight like this isn’t just akin to going soft while banging the prom queen, it’s like accidentally spraying diarrhea all over the bed to boot. And Dana White isn’t done talking about how much he thinks Mayhem sucks:

“I still don’t know,” White said of Miller’s performance. “It was bad. To be honest, believe me, my Twitter has been blowing up with all the Mayhem fans blasting me, but facts are facts. It was the worst standup I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen worse standup. The guy’s been in the business for over 10 years. It looked like it was his first fight ever. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.”

White said Miller’s issues in his third-round technical knockout loss go beyond ring rust or nerves and seem much more fundamental.

“Some of the punches that were thrown by Mayhem Miller in this fight, you could go to a girls’ Tae Bo class and see better form, better stand-up. It was embarrassing,” White said.

And Dana should know since he taught those Tae Bo classes.

Maybe this is the Mayhem Monkey in me talking, but it seemed to me like Miller was going for the big looping overhand shots – you know, the ones that worked so well for Dan Henderson? Yeah they looked awkward as he lunged in and threw them, but Bisping was having some trouble with them in the first, so who am I to criticize what works?

One thing that doesn’t seem to work is getting 5 minutes of actual fighting in over the past two years. Like many MMA ronin, Mayhem has suffered from an inconsistent fighting schedule that has led to the kind of rust you’d expect to see on shacks in Somalia. Whether he gets a chance to shake it off and show what he can really do is up to the UFC.

  • CAP

    NEWSFLASH: Relevant fights draw viewers! Who knew?

  • Mixed Martial Adam

    Mayhem’s resume and his popularity should warrant him one more shot.

    If you want to see where his skill level is at – throw him in there with Tim Credeur or CB Dollaway.

    BUT, if you want to use his star power to sell some fights – put him in with Wanderlei Silva and see what happens. Wandy needs a name fighter who won’t put him to sleep. Miller fits that category perfectly.

  • glassjawsh

    “Gassing after the first round in a big fight like this isn’t just akin to going soft while banging the prom queen, it’s like accidentally spraying diarrhea all over the bed to boot.”

    this literally happened to me.

    except it was her diarrhea

  • agentsmith

    Yeah they looked awkward as he lunged in and threw them, but Bisping was having some trouble with them in the first, so who am I to criticize what works?

    Yeah, I’m not sure which was funnier… Miller’s ridiculously bad-looking striking, or the fact that his punches were LANDING.  I’m not sure if it was the worst stand-up I’ve EVER seen, but definitely the worst I can remember off the top of my head.  Or maybe it was just UNORTHODOX™.

  • fightlinker

    ahahha

    UNORTHODOX™

  • Billytk

    I’d like to see Miller get at least one more shot just because of 1) his personality and 2) Dana always makes such a HUGE fuss about the adrenaline dump in your 1st UFC (big) fight when his favorites lose that he should give the same chance to those he doesn’t like (although I have no idea why he hates Miller since he’s so good for ratings)

  • KeyboardWarrior

    I also tried to convince myself that millers punches were modified to suit Bispings style after a few of them landed. I then realized Miller wouldn’t be capable of modifying something he wasn’t good at to begin with, which made it awkward. The room then went silent for the rest of the fight. Millers chin was the only thing keeping him from losing in the first.

  • fightlinker

    i dunno, Miller did good enough striking with Jacare and others. I rewatched some old fights, he doesn’t suck at standup like is being made out with this last fight. Narratives are powerful things…..

  • frickshun

    Not cool for Dana to take it so far.

  • P W

    Worst striking in (my) recent memory: Rolles Gracie’s debut in the UFC. At one point he throws a punch but misses so badly his momentum carries him forward and he ends up HITTING THE FLOOR. I repeat: His fist literally connects with THE MAT. It was so fucking embarrassing to watch I thought I’d give up MMA right there and then. Apparently the UFC was of a different opinion, since they purposely decided to show this particular prelim fight as part of the PPV (!). 

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    That was hilarious, but Rolles wasn’t competing and training MMA since the Superbrawl days.  Doesn’t necessitate a one-and-done deal IMO though.

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