5 YRS AGO – ASK THE TORCH: Amadi answers reader questions on Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones, bias vs. business in the UFC, and “Mayhem” Miller

By Jason Amadi, MMATorch columnist

Chael Sonnen (artist Grant Gould © MMATorch)

The following installment of Ask MMATorch was published five years ago today. Current MMATorch columnist Jason Amadi helmed the Ask MMATorch column at the time and here are four wide-ranging questions, some timeless, and some capturing an issue of the day in December 2011.

Nestor asks: What do you think Chael Sonnen’s chances are of beating Jon Jones if he were to move up to light heavyweight? Do you believe he would even come close to dominating Jones the way he dominated Anderson Silva?

AMADI: First of all, I think Jon Jones would submit Chael Sonnen pretty easily. I don’t think there’s much of a chance of Sonnen dominating Anderson Silva again, much less moving up in weight and dominating Jon Jones. Though he’s obviously made tremendous improvements since his last stint at 205 lbs., there is no getting around the fact that Sonnen is a failed light heavyweight who, up until fairly recently, was mediocre at middleweight as well.

In addition to that, I have no idea why people even imagine Chael Sonnen or Anderson Silva capable of beating Jon Jones at this point. Jones is throwing guys around and using his size to dominate all-time greats in the light heavyweight division; I just don’t see how middleweight fighters could possibly be his undoing.

To be fair, Chael Sonnen could definitely rack up wins at 205. He could wrestle circles around the majority of the division and look impressive doing it. However, Jon Jones is simply a bridge too far.

Mike asks: Okay, granted Mayhem Miller put on a horrible performance against Bisping, but I can’t imagine an immediate cut in his future. He has a very respectable record with notable wins over Kang, Lawler, and Kennedy. His losses seem understandable against top flight contenders such as Trigg, Souza, and Shields. After watching the card and reading Dana White’s comments on Mayhem’s future, it seems pretty obvious that Mr. White has some sort of grudge or bias against certain fighters.  I feel biases are so obvious within the UFC. I can personally cite several instances throughout UFC TUF finale production.  Please explain why the UFC seems to always manage to put their eggs in one basket?  i.e Cain Velasquez

AMADI: A lot of fans have trouble separating “bias” from business. Dana White is the president of the UFC and more importantly, a fight promoter. Virtually everything Dana White says is designed to benefit the UFC and depict marketable fighters in the best light possible.

If Dana White disliked Jason Miller, “Mayhem” probably wouldn’t have been one of just four men this year to coach a season of the Ultimate Fighter. A season of the Ultimate Fighter gives the coaches weekly exposure to a national audience and an opportunity to promote their fight to that audience. Were Dana White upset with Miller for any reason, it’s likely because he squandered that opportunity by putting forth such a poor performance.

White’s comment about Bisping-Miller being “one of the most lopsided fights ever” should tell you all you need to know about his motives. The fact is, Bisping vs. Miller wasn’t even the most lopsided fight on that card. “Brutal” Johnny Bedford almost killed poor Louis Gaudinot and secured two 10-8 rounds before stopping him in the third. Dana White said what he did to make the best of a crappy situation.

Do any of us really expect a fight promoter to tell the truth and say that Jason Miller’s striking was awful, he gassed a few minutes in and even then it took Michael Bisping three rounds to get a mercy stoppage from the referee? Who would a story like that help? Calling the fight “one of the most lopsided fights ever” puts Bisping over and distracts from the fact that “The Count” never really gets out of first gear.

Sure, White could have tempered expectations and pointed out that Cain Velasquez tends to get hit and only had nine fights heading into his bout with Junior dos Santos, but how does that get the UFC into Mexico? How does that get Velasquez over with an increasingly more important Hispanic market here in the US?

As I said before, it isn’t bias, it’s just business. Had the roles been reversed and had it been Bisping that was on the receiving end, White would have talked about how he had the foresight to rescue Miller from a network that was going to let him just waste away in Strikeforce and delivered him to the UFC where he belonged. It isn’t personal; it’s about telling the right story to make the most money.

Charles asks: I didn’t get to see the fight between Jason Miller and Jake Shields, but didn’t it go 5 rounds? Was he as out of shape for that one? Were they both gassed? Because I don’t know why the UFC would get rid of him for having a bad fight if he has proven himself able to actually go at least three rounds.

AMADI: A number of readers have pointed out to me that at various points during this season of the Ultimate Fighter and in videos leading up to the fight, Jason “Mayhem” Miller’s conditioning seemed to be a bit off. It’s also worth noting that Miller hasn’t really been terribly active as of late and was coming off a year layoff heading into the fight with Michael Bipsing. Those factors, coupled with the stamina Miller displayed in his five round fight against Jake Shields, suggest that there may have been issues surrounding this particular training camp that we simply aren’t aware of.

As far as the UFC possibly cutting him goes, they have just cause. I personally think that it would be a hasty move considering the need for star power at middleweight, but the UFC is well within their rights to release Jason Miller if they so choose. The issue here is that Mayhem has competed in the UFC twice and got absolutely ran over twice. Quite frankly, his bout against Michael Bisping was embarrassing. His striking was awful, his wrestling wasn’t where he needed it to be and Miller’s cardio being so poor in such a high profile bout reflects poorly on the UFC.

You can follow me on Twitter @JasonAmadi

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