Leading into the first big Bellator MMA event under his tenure on Sept. 5, new Bellator head honcho Scott Coker is out making the rounds and talking to the media to promote the show. Bellator 123 is headlined by Pat Curran vs. Patricio Pitbull, and will also feature appearances by King Mo, Cheick Kongo, and TNA Wrestling champion Bobby Lashley.
Appearing on The MMA Hour this week, Coker addressed a number of topics and names, including Bellator’s plans to drop the tournament format and move to monthly events in 2015. He also hinted that the Eddie Alvarez situation could be resolved as early as Friday, and brought up another name from the past: Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
Miller, last seen washing out of the UFC following a coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Michael Bisping that was capped off with an 0-2 run, has hit troubled times in recent years, including reports of erratic behaviour and being picked up by police after being found naked in a church.
There was also the infamous video of his confrontation with Ultimate Fighter star Uriah Hall, in which he apparently breaks out the N-word. All around, not good press.
However, in recent months, rumblings about a comeback on Miller’s part arose, including comments made by Rampage Jackson that indicated “Mayhem” might be on his way back. Coker, who has an established relationship with the fighter from his Strikeforce days, addressed the possibility by saying that “it’s worth a conversation, because everybody deserves to have a second chance.”
This is absolutely, 100 percent true; but make no mistake about it, Jason Miller is not the answer to Bellator’s woes.
Since Coker took over the Bellator ship, he has signed a number of names: Paul Daley, a legit talent who, due to past indiscretions, will likely never fight in the UFC again; Melvin Manhoef, a fighter many of us had forgotten about since his Strikeforce appearances; and Bobby Lashley, who will at least draw as a curiosity factor.
Miller falls into the same category as Manhoef. He’s a name, but a name that isn’t really worth very much at this point. How much does he even have left in the tank? That remains to be seen, but if this is the direction Coker’s Bellator is going to go in, then Ray Sefo must be smiling a pretty big smile right now, because the WSOF suddenly has a chance to eclipse Bellator as the N. 2 MMA promotion state-side.
Of course, Coker has made some wise moves, most notably in bringing in the women’s featherweight division and signing Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd. But if he’s just planning on attempting to have Bellator be Strikeforce 2.0, with the majority of top talent already signed up by the UFC, the WSOF, ONE FC and Bellator, then he’s setting himself up for failure.
It’s a very different MMA landscape than it was back in 2006, and what Coker was able to do with Strikeforce back then simply may not be an option now. Bringing back a few stars with faded glory isn’t going to sell fans on the promotion, and that’s all the Mayhem signing would be: a reminder of past glory, not future promise.