How I Learned to Stop Caring and Love the Mayhem

“Bulletins are sexy. I like them like I like my women, long and whoring me out. Did that make any sense?”

– 000 Mayhem Himself

             It must have been sometime in ’03 when I first became aware of Jason Miller, and somewhere between his wins over BJJ and MMA standout Egan Inoue, and journeyman Ronald Jhun that I really began to take notice. He already had over a dozen bouts under his belt, including a submission win over Dennis Kang and losses to Tim Kennedy and Chael Sonnen, and within a year he would be catapulted to the big show. By the time the cage door closed, locking him in with the once and future king, Georges St-Pierre, he had a fully formed internet cult. I should know, my number was 138, and I liked the mayhem.

These were the days of the burgeoning supremacy of Myspace, and only two, well only two that were on my radar, fighters were taking it for all its worth. While Evan Tanner regaled us with tales of his colorful life and sordid past, Mayhem was building the solid foundation needed to be a, or the, professional MMA clown.

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In America anyway…

His interviews were humorous, his antics were childish, and his ring entrances were almost legendary, second only to theater of absurdity and prowess that was Genki Sudo. All of this landed directly in the hands of blossoming social media monster, and it welcomed his fiery appeal. Glittery layouts, questionable music, inflated sense of self-importance; these were the cornerstones of Myspace and foundation of Mayhem himself. With a strong presence on both the UnderGround and Sherdog forums, the Mayhem Monkeys were little more than a nuisance, steering conversations toward Mayhem, posting comedic nonsense, acting the fool, and posting videos of all of the above. The purpose of and link to the cult and Mayhem himself was simple, be seen, and be seen as a clown.

It was a mantle we wore well, and one we took to with varying degrees seriousness. Some simply thought he was entertaining and wanted to lend support, some were attempting to ride the coattails of this fireball of a personality, and some, many I would assume, just wanted to flesh out the character they had made for themselves. The thin veneer of the jester fits some well, and Mayhem wore it exceptionally well. Perhaps because it was closer to his real personality than most, all interactions with him, both public and private would certainly lead you to believe so. Perhaps only he himself knows the depths into Jason Miller that Mayhem extends, perhaps he simply fell too deep into the character he had built, and perhaps there was no character and Mayhem and Jason were one and the same. No matter the reason, the results were the same, Mayhem went a little too Mayhem.

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About to get some of that sweet,sweet attention

I guess that is probably where it all began, in the public eye anyway, as Mayhem had a run in with the law in 2005 but those charges were eventually dropped. It was April 17th, 2010 and Mayhem innocuously made his way into the cage intending to disrupt the post fight interview of Jake Shields with a small dose of his particular brand of drama.  Shields had beaten Mayhem the year prior in a controversial bout that saw Shields fall victim to a rear naked choke only to be saved by the bell as the round ended, and rally back to control and smother Mayhem enough to earn the win.  What followed was a lot of internet based squabbles between fans of both fighters and a little verbal sparring between the fighters themselves on Twitter. It was certainly neither an out of character, nor an unwarranted action, publicly calling for a rematch, but it seems either that Mayhem let his better judgment fall to the wayside or, and I feel that this is most probable, he didn’t mind taking a little heat in exchange for the exposure.

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Cesar Gracie’s “Skrap Pack” is world renowned for their even tempers

After Mayhem was pushed, punched, kicked, held down, and roughed up some more, the mess was broken up by officials and members from Dan Henderson’s team. While I admit that the incident was a black eye on MMA as it was breaking into mass markets, these sorts of shenanigans are certainly not unheard of in the realm of professional sports. In the end six participants, including Mayhem, were fined and handed suspensions for their efforts.

2011 seemed likely to change the momentum of his career though, in April it was announced that he had signed a multi-fight contract with the UFC and in May it was revealed that he was slated not only to fight, but to coach the Ultimate Fighter 14 opposite the king of almost great, Michael Bisping. By some form of divine intervention his vehicle for evening scores/pitting untrained kids against pro fighters “Bully Beatdown” was still going strong. If you look closely, you can see the barely contained cries of “WHIRRRLLLSTAR!” on the lips of all those lucky enough to be present. And though he lost the fight to Bisping due to a decidedly lackluster round two and three, he still had fights left on his contract and could pull himself out of the funk. Then he was trounced by perennial stepping stone C. B. Dollaway, after having publicly stating that he would retire if that happened. Luckily for him though, UFC President Dana White spared Miller the trouble and cut him from the roster citing “backstage antics” and general Mayhem-esque chicanery. And thus, he began his descent in earnest.

In August of 2012 a pastor found Mayhem sleeping naked on a couch in the church he has broken into and vandalized the night before. He tweeted about it, saying it was “not a cry for attention, personal glory, or monetary gain.” While appearing on the MMA Hour to support the release of “Here Comes the Boom”, or as host Ariel Helwani hoped, to use the show as a platform to discuss his recent behavior, Mayhem performed as the character he played in the movie. After roughly fourteen minutes of aggressive nonsense and Andy Kaufman impersonations, Mayhem stormed out of the studio.

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An accurate depiction of both Mayhem’s and Ariel’s attitude about the interview

The following year Mayhem was arrested twice within a month on charges of domestic violence. Mayhem claimed innocence and was released on bail.  Never one to color between the lines though, he sent a Snapchat message to the alleged victim in October, breaking the judge’s no contact order and incurring a warrant for his arrest and away he went to the stripy hole. Attempting to finish the year off strong, he instigated a scuffle with UFC up and comer Uriah Hall which led to Hall landing a glancing blow before it was broken up.

One year to the day after his arrest for illicit use of Snapchat, Mayhem was giving live updates via his Twitter account while a SWAT team surrounded his house after he fled Sheriff’s Deputies attempting to arrest him for his outstanding warrants. He surrendered after a five hour standoff when police remotely detonated explosives to disable the locks on his front door, and back he went. In both March and October (again with the October arrest, maybe there’s some conspiracy there…) of 2015 Miller found himself arrested again, both times for resisting arrest and battery of an officer.

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Pip and Zip remain at large

2016 brought with it an announcement of Mayhem’s glorious return to MMA to fight for the Italy based Venator FC, and an even more glorious moment when he realized his May 21st opponent would be UFC veteran Luke Barnatt and not MMA legend Josh Barnett as he thought. Early in Feb he was arrested on suspicion of DUI, but Venator president Frank Merenda defended his decision to keep Miller on the card in a scathing and hilarious press release. Unfortunately his past still had a few choice things to say and Mayhem was again arrested in March of 2016 for an act of vandalism which was alleged to have taken place in January. As of now, the fight is still scheduled and Mayhem has made statements alluding to bad press and his longstanding poor relationship with police as making him out to be far worse than he actually his. He also hasn’t shied away from his own involvement, and that his Mayhem act is like a magnet for bad press, saying “I ain’t no bad guy, but I didn’t do anything to stop everyone from thinking that.”

All of the spectacle and chaos that surrounds Mayhem makes it easy to forget why he got famous in the first place. It was undeniable, haole boy could scrap. His current record stands at 28-9-1, and he has only been finished three times. His losses included Tim Kennedy, Frank Trigg, BJJ superstar Ronaldo Souza, UFC Light Heavyweight title contender Chael Sonnen, and most importantly, he fought potential GOAT Georges St-Pierre for three rounds, losing a decision in the age where GSP was steamrolling through the division. He holds victories over the likes of Dennis Kang, Tim Kennedy, Falaniko Vitale, Kazushi Sakuraba, and current UFC 185 pound champion Robbie Lawler. So what does the future hold for the man we call Mayhem? It would be easy to write him off completely, most have. Ostensibly he is a wildcard of a human prone to acts of violence and his namesake, but he has also been convicted in the court of public appeal long before any of the actual courts have proven him guilty. I guess in May we will see what is left of his prowess in the cage, unless something pops up before then (but we still have five months until October…). In the end, as hard as it is, I will tentatively and timidly raise my flag. Number 138 still has your back, but I am not sure how long I can hold on.

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