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Venator FC boss Frank Merenda: ‘Mayhem’ Miller is a punk but not a criminal’

Jim Edwards

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On May 21st, a new Italian MMA promotion by the name Venator FC will put on their third ever show in Milan, Italy with a card featuring a middleweight title fight between two former UFC stars, British-born Luke Barnatt and the highly controversial American, Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller.
Since the announcement of the fight, there has been widespread criticism from fans and media alike that the promotion shouldn’t be booking Jason Miller for a fight given his difficulties in the last few years with the law.
Outside of two charges this year relating to a DUI and a vandalism charge at a tattoo shop, Miller was also been involved in a standoff with a SWAT team at his home in 2014 which he ‘live-tweeted’ on Twitter.
Perhaps the most serious of his problems came in 2013 when he was arrested on two counts of felony domestic violence. Whilst the case is still pending, Venator FC boss Frank Merenda, today came to his defence and spoke exclusively to Jim Edwards about why he has booked Jason Miller for his show on May 21st:
“Jason Miller is a punk, he is a bully, he is a son of a b**** but he’s not a criminal right now,” said Merenda.
“A lot of things are against Miller but I know this guy, I talk to this guy and he’s crazy, but, he’s not a bad person and I think being focused about fighting, being focused about being back in the saddle and having this opportunity of being back again will be a great chance to redeem himself in front of the public.
“I think that he deserves this opportunity because when you are convicted to the public opinion that you are a son of a b****, that you beat the s*** out of a woman then you are finished because no promotion will want to sign with you.
“We lost three of four years of Miller’s career. In 2012 he was voted the third most recognised MMA fighter and now his career is gone.”
He added: “so what do we do? Convict him before he goes in front of a court? I don’t think so. I spoke to this guy and this guy is keeping his word and staying out of trouble since he signed with Venator.
“Everything the media are talking about now are things he did in January and last year and they are only coming up now.”
Merenda then compared the treatment of Miller to treatment given to the UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones who was also convicted under a hit and run charge last year:
“This guy is a punk but he is not a criminal. He is not the monster people are trying to depict,” reiterated Merenda.
“Let’s be serious. Talk to me about Jon Jones running away from a crime scene where he crashed into a pregnant woman, where he was on crack and ran away to get some money back from the car.
“But, Jon Jones is so ok – why don’t we have to boycott Jon Jones versus Daniel Cormier 2? Jon Jones is a real criminal and Miller just did a tattoo on a wall.”
Merenda believes that Miller’s popularity and fame are the reason why he has been accused of his domestic violence allegations. He told us:
“Every time you are famous and a bit of a punk people attack you, they will do it” said Merenda.
“Nobody got hurt with Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller. This is the reality – ok!? his girlfriend barely had a little scratch under the eye and a bruise on the leg.”
He then added: “Warmachine crushed seventeen bones in a woman. I believe if Jason Miller wanted to beat me or you, you and me would finish with a lot of crushed bones and a lot of bruises.”
“The reality is this is Miller’s word versus the girl’s word. Miller says she was high, she attacked me and I had to disarm her and I had no intention to beat her, I did nothing to her.
“But ,If you read the media they say Miller beat her, but why!? Why does Miller not have chance to say his version to say ‘I didn’t do nothing to this girl’. Because Miller is a punk, he is a bad guy he has to be convicted just like that.”
During the rest of the interview, Merenda confirmed that Miller’s fight contract has several stipulations that relate to him behaving well, doing his media obligations, being punctual and not getting in trouble. Despite his recent troubles, Merenda confirmed the fight is still very much on and that Miller is taking his training very seriously.
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Events

*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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Fight Announcements

Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando

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The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.

It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.

Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.

In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.

Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.

In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.

UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.

Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.

First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)

Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.

Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.

Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.

In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.

UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira

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