At 32-years-old, Cole Miller has been a fixture in the UFC roster for the better part of a decade now. He made his first splash on the scene in 2007, as a part of The Ultimate Fighter 5 roster. After fighting 19-times for the promotion, it seems like Miller has had enough.
He was expected to step inside the Octagon on October 15 in Manila, Philippines. That event was cancelled and the UFC rebooked his bout with Mizuto Hirota for December 17 at UFC on FOX 22. Last week an interview with Miller was released by Sherdog and it shed some light on his current mood. Not only towards fighting, but also towards the UFC as well. On Wednesday, Miller appeared on The Underground Podcast and made it clear he wasn’t trying to get anything across from that interview, in fact he didn’t think anybody was going to care–he was wrong.
“I wasn’t really trying to do anything,” Miller told the UG. “We were a few weeks removed from the incident and Dave Mandel [Sherdrog writer] was at the gym and asked me if I wanted to talk about my fight and I said sure. Honestly I didn’t think anybody was even going to care,” he said.
“When I got in this sport it was way different than what it is now, so when people use that argument, ‘you knew what you were getting into,’ it’s like, no we didn’t.” Miller said. “If anything, we’re super unprepared for what all ended up transpiring, with how big it ended up getting.”
Just a few days after the Sherdog interview aired, the American Top Team fighter appeared on Submission Radio and made it clear that he was trying to get a hold of UFC president Dana White. He stated, “I’m trying to reach out to him. Reach out to me, brother. I’d love to sit down and talk, you know, comb through this stuff.”
Well almost one week later, he has still not spoken to White, or any of the other UFC brass, regarding his feelings.
“None of that has changed. That whole interview started because none of this was going to get dealt with, and because I couldn’t get a meeting with Dana, or couldn’t get one with whoever is administratively responsible for making that decision with the payouts from the Manila fallout,” Miller said. “And none of that’s changed, I’m still not happy about it.”
“You know the funny thing is, my kid is almost two, well it’s not really funny. But he’s almost two and I’ve missed a year of his life now. And I’ll continue to do that as long as he reaps the benefits and rewards of the sacrifices that I have to make,” he proclaimed. “But when I’m getting a $500 net, that’s not reaping those rewards. I could have stayed at home and run a couple privates in my garage and made more than that in a week.”
“Magrinho” and his manager have done everything in their power to make what they feel is a crappy situation better. They have not only reached out to White himself, but also his associates and UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby.
The correspondence between Shelby and Miller seems to be an interesting one to say the least.
“That’s the way it seems. I can’t say for sure because, well nobody talked to me or they just give me the cold shoulder or they tell me to fight my last fight out and renegotiate.” he said. “I got a hold of Dana on Twitter and he told me that he was going to call me on Monday — Monday was yesterday.”
“My manager talked to either Dana’s assistant or somebody’s assistant that they were not accepting meetings regarding this issue at this time. Sean Shelby told me to win this fight and renegotiate, even though winning this fight, and renegotiating, has nothing to do with proper and ethical treatment for the work that I’ve already done.” Miller continued, “Why do I have to win a fight, and renegotiate in the future, to get properly compensated for the past? That doesn’t even make sense.”
What seems to make Miller any different than the other fighters that were expected to fight on the UFC Fight Night 97 card in Manila? He doesn’t seem to know. If you look at that fight card from top to bottom, almost every fighter has already fought. So why is it that he has to wait two months in order to get a pay-check? That means he is away from his child for another eight-weeks (17-weeks total), to only be paid for one training camp. Most people say you get in what you put in, but unfortunately for Miller that just isn’t the case.
“All these other dudes got booked two weeks later and they put me on this fight two whole months later. So now I’ve got to spend 17-weeks away from my kid to get paid for one training camp. And I’ve physically got to put my body and have my head bashed around twice for the price of one,” Miller said. “And now if I get injured, I have to fight. To provide for my family. And if I am injured, I can’t say that I am injured.”
The big news, other than Miller’s video, is the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete Association (MMAAA). This is something that Miller believes needs to happen. Not for issues just like his own, but for the future of the fighters. “That’s definitely what’s needed, not just for that issue, but for other issues, like post-career amenities–like retirement or pensions and post-career health care. Things like that.”
President White can be a tough man to get a hold of because he’s so busy. That doesn’t mean Miller hasn’t tried. He has made it crystal clear that he is working on getting a hold of White, but what exactly does that look like?
“First off I’m not sure that he knows even how hard I tried to get in touch with him through all the proper professional avenues when all this stuff happened. So I’m going to explain that to him first. Hey I reached out to–when I say I, I’m talking about through my manager, the way it should be done–reached out to Sean Shelby told him that this was unacceptable, unsatisfactory,” Miller said. “Then he asked me to email him over my expenses, almost like he didn’t even trust me when I said that the training camp cost me as much as they were giving me, he didn’t believe me. Which I didn’t appreciate that at all, but I went ahead and did it anyways and put it in a form categorically in the amounts of specific finances that went in those areas and sent that on over.” Miller continued, “Then he said that he was going to show it to Dana. A day later, oh Dana was traveling that day and then four days later, after checking it out, they pretty much said this is all you’re getting, you’re going to take it and we’re going to reschedule you so sign your bout agreement.”
Miller went from a fight with B.J. Penn, which was cancelled and then he fought Alex Caceres. To now a fight with Japanese fighter in Mizuto Hirota that many of the North American fans will not know. The Japanese based fighter may have a decorated record, but he holds a draw in his one UFC bout against Teruto Ishihara. So Miller was expected to be on the main card of UFC Fight Night 97 and now he is a part of the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card. Does this have to do with his complaints? Miller thinks it might.
“And then I was like on the main card in the Philippines, and then magically all of a sudden I complain a little bit and now I’m opening up this show. This Fight Night show in California that they’re going to watch and after I beat this dudes ass, instead of giving me a post-fight interview, they’re going to make sure I don’t get the mic, the lights go out and they send me merrily on my way,” he said.
If things aren’t going so well for Miller with the current UFC, there could always be greener pastures elsewhere. Like many other times, Miller just doesn’t seem to care. He doesn’t care about fighting, he doesn’t care about his life inside the cage.
“I don’t think it matters if I would. Do you think I’m interested in fighting right now? Do you think I’m interested in this sport? Like I’m somebody that, I’ve given surgeries on that canvas, spilled blood all over it, spilled other peoples’ blood all over it and I can’t even get a call back or a meeting,” Miller proclaimed. “Not with the owner specifically, but with somebody administratively responsible for making this call who can just tell me why is it that I want to do the things that I want to do.”
“They made it that way. Two months ago I wouldn’t have had to be fighting like that. Now I have to fight like that,” he adds.
Prior to this whole Manila debacle, Miller didn’t have the same sort of emotions about the UFC. As with any profession, there are slight adjustments and complaints that can be made, but this was just the tipping point.
“I have my little complaints here and there, but I’ve never felt this way towards the company as a whole over all, no. Personally do you think I want to fight every 10-months? Do you think that I’m just loving that they book me one time every 10-months? Hell yeah, can’t wait. Can’t wait to fight in February, then fight again December. I’m not happy about that, but I wish I’d be fighting more times a year, but you know how it is. They want to tell you, ‘oh we’ve got all these fighters now on the roster’ and just give you the runaround, but if you’re coming off an impressive win, they’ll book you a week and a half later. And then when you’re coming off a loss and you need to feed your family they’ll book you 10-months later. So that type of stuff doesn’t make me happy, no. To me that’s like the little compared to what just happened with the Manilla, Philippines,because even in the bout agreement it says it doesn’t list a reason for them cancelling a bout for the reason that they did.
“I’m sure none of the brass is having to figure out how they’re going to get their kids some school clothes from cancelling the Manilla fight, but you know the fighters are. How cool is that?”