Pat Miletich Interview – This Is Mixed Martial Arts
By Dave Carpinello
Mixed martial arts pioneer and legend Pat ‘The Croatian Sensation’ Miletich recently sat down to talk with PDG about the recent events in the world of MMA, his career as a fighter and a commentator, his future in the sport and much more!
PDG: When I ran into you at Bellator about a month ago, you said that some news regarding your career would be forthcoming. Do you have any updates?
Pat Miletich: I was hoping to fight Frank Shamrock but since he recently retired that is obviously not going to happen. So now I will just have to wait and see what the future holds.
PDG: What was your reaction to Frank Shamrock retiring?
Pat Miletich: I kind of saw it coming, so I wasn’t really all that surprised.
PDG: It has been a busy couple of months in the world of mixed martial arts; what did you think of Fedor Emelianenko’s loss to Fabricio Werdum?
Pat Miletich: I think that Fedor thought he had Werdum hurt more than he actually was and he got a little careless and got caught with the submission. It happens to the best of us and even to Fedor. I was very surprised that he lost that fight but it shows that Werdum is a very dangerous fighter on the ground who has continued to improve himself and round out his game, it was an impressive victory for him.
PDG: Does the loss stand out more because Werdum was not resigned by the UFC and yet he is the one who finally beat Fedor as opposed to a top 5 ranked heavyweight fighter?
Pat Miletich: If you look at it from a UFC stand-point then yes they probably think of it that way. Fighters change throughout their respective careers and there have been fighters that seemed like they would never be good and they ended up becoming very good fighters later in their careers. Look at Randy Couture (18-10-0) for example, if you didn’t put a name in front of it and just looked at his record, you would say the guy is just so-so. The MMA fanbase seems to put more weight on fighters who are in the UFC and to a certain extent rightly so but there are a lot of fighters in Strikeforce who could walk into the UFC and do a lot of damage.
PDG: How big of a hit does Strikeforce take from Fedor losing and could it compare to EliteXC and Kimbo Slice?
Pat Miletich: I don’t think they took a hit at all and it sets up a great rematch opportunity that everybody and their brother will want to watch. They put it on CBS and it will get millions of viewers, Fedor comes back to avenge his only loss.
PDG: How come very few people are talking about Alistair Overeem defending his Strikeforce Heavyweight Title against Werdum?
Pat Miletich: It is all about who puts asses in the seats, sells tickets and gets people to turn on the TV because they are fighting. Unfortunately, it is a cold world of business and it is just a state of fact. How many times have you seen fighters in UFC title bouts that have no business being there? Georges St. Pierre versus Dan Hardy is a great example, Hardy is a tough guy but the UFC basically manufactured him as a challenger to bring in more viewers from England and Europe and he wasn’t ready for that fight and it showed. Fedor versus Werdum II will bring in the viewers and Overeem can fight the winner either way.
PDG: Going back to your career, it has been about a year and a half since your last fight. Now that Shamrock is out of the picture, when do you think you will fight again?
Pat Miletich: Possibly the end of this summer or in the early fall sometime. I have got a lot of other things going on right now including alternative energy projects, my commentating duties and military/police training exercises. So I am definitely keeping busy outside of fighting and they are lucrative deals. I still love fighting and I still have that bug to keep competing, so I would like to get some fights lined up but if it doesn’t happen I still have other things to occupy my time.
PDG: Do you have any plans on retiring in the near future?
Pat Miletich: You know what? I don’t think I would ever announce a retirement if that was what happened. I would probably just fade away and be done with it.
PDG: You wouldn’t have a video montage of your career playing on a jumbo-tron with yourself talking about your career?
Pat Miletich: Um…. not so much. To each his own I guess though.
PDG: Tim Sylvia and Jens Pulver are both fighting next month at the ‘War on the Mainland’ event. How much contact do you still have with both guys?
Pat Miletich: Tim still comes in to workout here and I really don’t touch base with Pulver anymore since he is out in Idaho doing his own thing. I am glad to see though that he is fighting on that card.
PDG: How is Tim doing since his victory over Mariusz Pudzianowski at Moosin MMA in May?
Pat Miletich: He is doing great and training very hard for that fight in August. Tim is also an auxiliary police officer in Illinois so he is a very busy guy right now.
PDG: What guys are you training right now that may be under the radar that MMA fans should keep an eye on?
Pat Miletich: I have got Ramiro Hernandez who is a very tough 145 pounder, Nick Spohn who is undefeated at 155 and I have Zach Micklewright who is coming up in the WEC. Jesse Lennox just had a tough loss in the UFC against Mike Pyle but he will be back soon and Ryan McGivern who recently fought Jared Hess in Bellator FC. We have a lot of talented fighters, some of which are undefeated and we also have some All-American wrestlers that are training and making the transition to MMA that a lot of people haven’t heard about yet. Cael Sanderson called me a couple of weeks ago and sent me a guy that is on the Olympic ladder and will be fighting at 185. So it is a good time to be training at MFS (Miletich Fighting Systems).
PDG: Earlier you brought up your commentating duties; a lot of fans don’t know how much work actually goes into that. It’s not like you just show up to the event and start talking. What type of preparation goes into a live show?
Pat Miletich: Yeah, we have production meetings, we have to study the fighters and then of course there are the rehearsals before the live event. It is by no means an easy job, getting in the cage and fighting in front of the fans is easier than talking to them about the event. So hats off to guys like Mauro Renallo, Mike Goldberg and the other guys that do the play-by-play and really act as the quarterback for the whole broadcast. It is a very tough job and there is no way that I would ever want to attempt to do what those guys do. Mauro Renallo has a photographic memory, he doesn’t use a teleprompter and he remembers the names, stats and everything verbatim word for word for the opening of the show. If you think about how much stuff that is to memorize, you should be amazed at how good that guy is at what he does.
PDG: What do you think about the rest of the commentators that you work with?
Pat Miletich: The guys that I get to work with are awesome and I really enjoy it. The Showtime guys (Renallo, Stephen Quadros, Gus Johnson) really do an incredible job and I honestly would have a hard time picking anyone else to work with.
PDG: Let’s talk about some of the issues/developments in MMA over the last couple of years. About a year and a half ago, a lot of fighters started testing positive for banned substances. Then so far this year, there haven’t been any big names that have been busted cheating. Do you think that there are less fighters using performance enhancing drugs or that they are just finding new ways to beat the testing?
Pat Miletich: That is a great question but to be honest I have no clue, maybe it is a little bit of both. It is really hard for me to say what is going on, I will say though that if you are going to test fighters for PED’s. Then you should test them during training and not at the time of the fight because then fighters wouldn’t be able to use banned substances during their training camps. That is how most testing in sports is done (during training and the offseason) and maybe that is something that needs to be looked into. Overall though, I would still have to say it is probably a little bit of both.
PDG: There was also a big epidemic of staph infections around the same time frame and that also seems to have dissipated as of late.
Pat Miletich: That’s funny because it seems like every time the UFC is taping a season of the Ultimate Fighter, guys end up getting staph. I don’t know what it is about that gym but they seem to deal with it every season. We had it run through our gym a little bit also and we were cleaning the mats twice a day and guys still got infected. I think that people are more alert to it now and if something shows up on their arms or legs they are more vocal about letting the coaches know. It is like football, hockey, and baseball teams, fighters are no different and every sport, high school and college seems to have MRSA run through it at one time or another. I think people have just been more cautious lately and it has benefited everyone involved.
PDG: What would your reaction be if after you fought someone they told the media that they had a staph infection like Matt Hamill at the TUF 11 Finale?
Pat Miletich: I would walk up and punch him again. At the same time though you can’t blame a guy who has to pay his bills but it is definitely a bad idea to make that decision. A good friend of mine’s son is a high school wrestler here in Bettendorf, Iowa and he wrestled a guy from Davenport who had staph (the wrestler and his coach knew he had it) and my buddy’s son got MRSA from that kid and he nearly lost his leg because of it. That brings me to the whole insurance deal, companies that are as big as the UFC, Strikeforce and DREAM need to carry insurance for their fighters that states that if a fighter is injured in training, number 1) it will pay the fighters medical bills and number 2) it will pay the fighters their purse money. It is probably not going to happen until some kind of fighter’s union is organized but it would stop fighters from getting in the cage with injuries and/or infections.
PDG: Thanks for your time Pat and I look forward to your return to the cage.
Pat Miletich: Thank you and I wanted to let people know that I will auction off the very first pair of Tapout shorts ever worn in the UFC next month for charity. Yes, these are the first Tapout shorts seen on TV and I was their first sponsored fighter. So check out www.mfselite.com for details about the auction.
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