The power of social media will be on display Saturday night when Jason "Mayhem" Miller headlines The Ultimate Fighter finale against Michael Bisping.
Miller, 24-7 with a no contest, signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship earlier this year after an accomplished career in other organizations. When a role as a coach for TUF's 14th season came open, Miller took to Twitter to volunteer his services.
"I heard that Chael Sonnen had to pull out and couldn't do the coach's job," Miller said. "I tweeted that I'd be happy to do it and beat up Michael Bisping. And here we are today."
Miller, wanted to defeat the oft-perceived-as cocky Bisping, but he also possessed a far greater reason for wanting the gig. The opportunity to help guide future stars in the featherweight and bantamweight divisions weighed heavily in the decision.
"It gave me the chance to put the focus away from myself a little bit and on to some guys who are trying to make their careers in mixed martial arts," Miller said. "I've worked very hard to make my career in mixed martial arts, and I love the sport. To put it forward to somebody else is even more rewarding."
Miller will see two fighters he coached this season -- Dennis Bermudez and John Dodson, compete in the finale. Bermudez will fight Bisping-coached Diego Brandao in the featherweight final. Dodson will face T.J. Dillashaw to determine the bantamweight winner. Additionally, TUF Season 13 winner Tony Ferguson will fight fellow lightweight Yves Edwards and bantamweight semifinalist Johnny Bedford vs. TUF 14 performer Louis Gaudinot. The event, which will air live (Spike TV, 8 p.m. Eastern), will be held at the Pearl at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. To many fans, the main draw will be the battle of the coaches. The duo exchanged words often during six weeks of filming earlier this year.
"I'm going to push forward," Miller, 30, said. ". . . I'm going to catch him with a punch or I'm going to catch him with a submission. There's no way out of the fight for him other than that." Bisping, 32, who fights out of England, secured six of his UFC 11 victories by knockout from his strikes. Miller, however, is not impressed. "I'm not scared of his striking ability," said Miller, who was born in Atlanta and trains in California. "He's hyped himself up to think that he can do something against me. I'm not scared of his pillow fists."
Miller plans to revert to his earlier style in his post-fight interview.
"After I beat up Michael Bisping, I'm calling out names," he said. "No one is safe in the middleweight division." Last year, Miller unexpectedly entered the Strikeforce cage after Jake Shields' victory against Dan Henderson and asked Shields for a rematch. A brawl ensued, and led to fines and suspensions for several of those involved. The preliminaries (www.facebook.ufc, 6 p.m., Eastern), include featherweights Marcus Brimage vs. Stephen Bass, Steven Siler vs. Josh Clopton and Bryan Caraway vs. Dustin Neace and bantamweights Dustin Pague vs. John Albert and Roland Delorme vs. Josh Ferguson. Also: --Bellator Fighting Championships recently announced the signing of highly-touted Russian fighter Vyacheslav Vasilevsky, 23. He is 15-1 with a 14-fight winning streak. --Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren will face a different opponent for his next title defense in early 2012. Warren, who was slated to face Season 4 winner Patricio Freire, will instead face 2011 Summer Series winner Pat Curran. Freire recently underwent surgery and will fight the Warren-Curran winner. --HDNET, which recently signed a broadcast deal with ProElite, announced a deal with BAMMA, and will televise BAMMA 8 from the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England, on Dec. 10.