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« | Home | »

Deconstructing Jerry Millen

By Zach Arnold | March 8, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

Sam Caplan at CBS Sportsline had an interview with Jerry Millen that just screams for a counter-response. I’ll highlight some of what Millen said in the interview and respond to his claims.

First, he addresses the rumor about PRIDE being for sale:

If someone comes to you with $10 billion, you know … but as far as I’m concerned, Pride is Pride and we’re here to stay. Is it for sale? That’s a good question. As far as I’m concerned, no.

Well, Jerry, in the timespan of a week, Nobuyuki Sakakibara went from saying at the PRIDE 33 post-show press conference that he wouldn’t sell PRIDE like a car or cell phone to a week later saying in PRIDE-friendly outlets like Kami no Puroresu that he considers PRIDE to be like a child and that he’s looking for a good home.

Second, Millen claims that PRIDE is getting a TV deal in Japan soon.

I can’t really speak so much on Japan, but I’ve got a feeling we’re pretty close to a deal in Japan. Japan is a different culture and things work differently there.

The answer, on the best of my knowledge, is that there is no deal coming any time soon and likely never will be. Remember when Sakakibara claimed after the first PRIDE US show on 10/21/06 that a deal would be coming with a ‘major network’ for the Man Festival show? No deal happened. TV-Asahi supposedly balked at it. Nippon TV is still stuck in the court system over the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 disaster. And Fuji TV isn’t bringing back PRIDE again.

So, no, it’s unlikely PRIDE is getting back on a free-to-air Japanese TV station.

Third, Millen claims that PRIDE is close to getting on US television soon.

I’ve been speaking with some television networks (in America) and there’s definitely some interest. They’re learning more about us, and I think after this show Saturday (Pride 33) I think there’s going to be even more interest.

Let’s put this all to rest. If it’s true that PRIDE has a contract with Ed Fishman stating that he’s the exclusive promoter of PRIDE events in America, then you’re not to run in America as long as he’s suing you in an American court because people supposedly didn’t get paid. Furthermore, if it was Fishman responsible for getting the connections into TV, then likely PRIDE isn’t going to be able to use those connections if Fishman was the intermediary. Additionally, if Fishman is able to get an injunction in court to prevent PRIDE from running future shows in America, then what’s the usefulness of a TV deal in America if you can’t run in the country?

Last but not least, what if Fishman wins his court case and essentially gets a lien on all profits made by PRIDE in America through TV and PPV?

Fourth, Millen claims that UFC releases PPV numbers.

Yeah. They said Chuck and Tito did 1.2 million, I would bet every dime that I have that that is not the true number. I know it’s not the true number. Of course they’re going to inflate it, because you always want to come out better than you are. If that’s the true number, then show me the check. Show me the check on the pay-per-view dollars that shows me you did 1.2 million buys.

First off, Dana White was issuing the 1.2 million PPV buy number before the show took place. Second, UFC does not publicly release PPV numbers. You have to go through a publication like the Observer in order to generate any sort of clue on what numbers UFC management is getting.

Fifth, Jerry Millen claims that the PRIDE 4/28 Las Vegas show being canceled is no big deal.

As for 4/28, moving the event is not a big deal. Dan Henderson was going to defend his title at the event. Unfortunately, he broke his hand and could not do so. From a business standpoint, that weekend is too close to the Oscar (De La Hoya) fight (against Floyd Mayweather) on May 5.

Let me address the question that Sam Caplan initially asked Millen to precipitate this answer. Caplan says: There’s talk that promoter Ed Fishman pulled the event in a power play to get the current Pride ownership to sell him additional shares. Well, that’s not what happened and that’s not what has been reported or said publicly. What’s happening is that Ed Fishman is suing PRIDE for breach of contract. In essence, he’s claiming PRIDE didn’t pay or live up to their end of the bargain. That’s not a power play. There’s a big difference between pulling a power play and filing a lawsuit over a breach of contract. If PRIDE wants to sell its assets to Fishman as part of a legal settlement, then that’s a settlement. Not a power play.

In regards to Millen’s answer about the PRIDE show being canceled, this was Ed Fishman’s call. He is more than likely the event promoter in America and the one with the contacts between PRIDE and the building (Thomas & Mack Center). Second, to say the show was canceled because Dan Henderson broke his hand was laughable. A week before the PRIDE 33 event, Fishman and others were putting over how well the 4/28 event would do because it would be the start of Golden Week in Japan and that a lot of people from Japan would travel to see the show in person.

Further along in the interview, Millen makes several claims about why the fight with Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell has not happened (and you’ll be shocked – shocked – that he puts the blame on Dana White). However, the most ridiculous item from Millen is this gem (he is asked why he didn’t keep Stephen Quadros, Bas Rutten, & Mauro Ranallo):

As the company grows, I think you have to get better. With me making the decisions on the television broadcast side, I wanted professional broadcasters. We’re an American broadcast; I wanted Americans on the broadcast and I wanted professionals. I wanted guys who knew how to do television and I wanted some professional guys.

So, essentially, Millen is calling all three men unprofessional. They’re so unprofessional that now Quadros & Rutten are working for the IFL on their TV deals and Mauro Ranallo is the play-by-play man for Elite XC on Showtime. What an insult Millen just laid to these men in this interview. This is embarrassing. It gets even worse.

I don’t know anybody who buys a pay-per-view for a commentator, for Bas Rutten or for Mauro Ranallo. People buy the fights for the fighters, not the commentators. I think the problem sometimes is egos get big and the commentators think they’re stars, and they’re not.

The job of a professional commentator is to call the action right and to enhance what the viewer at home is seeing. When you put in amateurs or people who have no experience calling MMA on the telecasts, it sticks out like a sore thumb to the viewer at home. What a load of bull**** that claim is by Millen.

To close off this brilliance by Jerry Millen, what isn’t said in the interview (when discussing PRIDE 34 airing live on US PPV) is: a) how much it’s going to cost to pay for the satellite time to do this telecast and b) the probability of it running head-to-head against UFC 69 with Georges St. Pierre in the main event.

Topics: All Topics, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Zach Arnold | 28 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

28 Responses to “Deconstructing Jerry Millen”

  1. Millen is an idiot. Everything he says is vile.

    For one, Bas and Quadros were by far the best broadcasting team PRIDE has ever seen, and Mauro was getting better right before they let him go. Trigg is not so bad, but no so good either. “OHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” Very pro, very pro.

  2. David says:

    I find Mauro to be unbearable as an announcer, which is makes him about as good as Trigg on the mic.

    Barnett and the K-1 guy were alright together, but clearly Pride’s best team was Quadros and Bas.

    My favorite quote from Millen was about the champion vs champion debate. He acted like putting together the top guys from both promotions would be incredibly easy, there would be no problems with revenue sharing, who defends what belt and under what rules, etc etc. “BRING IT ON DANA!”

    Also, what weight classes would these fights be at? Would they be at 155, at 160 for Gomi, or at 163 for Sakurai. As good as Mach is against 155 pounders who are told a few days prior to the fight that Mach can’t make 161, I wonder how he would do against Hughes at a similar catchweight (we already saw what happened to him against Hughes at 170) or against St. Pierre..

  3. David says:

    On the Thursday news update there is a link for the next part of the Jerry “mimbo” Millen interview. I posted the following in that thread but thought I should post it here as well:

    Great interview at mmanews. Big props.

    My favorite Millen quote was (speaking about Silva getting destroyed by Henderson): “Umm, where do we go from here? Who knows?”

    I hope for Pride’s sake that Millen isn’t in charge of booking. His “dick-measuring contest” logic could get them into trouble. He said that he gave Henderson the fight against Silva because Dan requested it. Maybe Paulo Filho would request Fedor and beat him. “Hey in Pride we let the fighters fight.” That is a translation for “we destroy our most marketable fighters on a whim and don’t give a fuck about the consequences, even if it means we go out of business.”

    On the one hand it is nice that Pride shows are unpredictable, but there is clearly some serious business sense lacking. The only ways they are going to survive will be to either sell to Fishman who will consequently get them a tv deal and mainstream exposure in America, or else ride Akiyama’s Korean roots and find some other good Korean fighters to hitch their wagon to and move the fights to Seoul.

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    He supposedly took credit for booking Frank Trigg on the PRIDE show, and Trigg being booked against Misaki made no sense on paper to do at the time.

  5. PizzaChef says:

    I can’t wait to see how many PRIDE marks would come out and defend Millen and start to praise him as God. Zach if you find some articles of this happening, please be kind to post.

  6. Stu says:

    I can’t wait to see how many PRIDE marks would come out and defend Millen and start to praise him as God. Zach if you find some articles of this happening, please be kind to post.

    No one likes Millen, Jerry is on his own in this one.

  7. Zack says:

    Great article.

  8. Armen says:

    Wow this guy is incredibly stupid. How can we expect PRIDE to do well in the US when they’ve hired morons like this to represent them and be their public face in this country.

    What I don’t understand is, how did PRIDE get to be such a huge and successful MMA promotion in Japan with morons running the show? And if Sakakibara and team are not morons, why are they hiring morons to work for them in the USA?

    Bas commentating makes watching an MMA event more fun, period. Mauro was getting much better towards the end of it as well, I agree.

  9. Zach Arnold says:

    What I don’t understand is, how did PRIDE get to be such a huge and successful MMA promotion in Japan with morons running the show? And if Sakakibara and team are not morons, why are they hiring morons to work for them in the USA?

    As I’ve argued in past articles, without Fuji TV backing PRIDE Japanese management, things aren’t so rosy when it comes to running an actual business (which involves worrying about the bottom line). It’s real easy to book dream matches like Ogawa vs. Yoshida at a price tag of $5 million USD when a TV network can write a check for it.

    Plus, it should be noted that the Japanese TV network producers always have a hand in regards to what demands they place on matchmakers for matches they feel will draw the best TV ratings.

  10. JThue says:

    Sakakibara is no moron, he just – like every single other Japanese honcho – has a severe lack of clue on how to run in the US(including who to hire, obviously). The ironic part is… Saka would be a lot better off doing everything himself than having this humanoid under contract.

    I thought for sure Millen had lost power when Fishman came in, but good God, this is just awful and depressive reading for any MMA-fan.

  11. GassedOut says:

    Enjoyed the article, Zach.

    I too would like to know how many PRIDE people are trying to defend the seemingly indefensible Millen at this point.

    It’s tragic to see it. I wonder how potentially damaging it is to hardcore fans of PRIDE? I mean I just like fighting…but this would rattler my cage if I were a PRIDE guy.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    I think in the eyes of many hardcore PRIDE fans online, Millen’s the perfect soft target for them to unleash their frustrations on. Anything they perceive to be a problem with PRIDE, they just unload on him. They unload on him, so that when they turn around on a PRIDE critic, they can say, “Ah ha! We’re fair-minded, we hate Jerry Millen!”

    In the grand scheme of things, Millen’s not the big fish here. He may think it, and the Japanese may like it portrayed that way. However, most people who analyze PRIDE have a general sense of who does what.

    To a larger point – it doesn’t matter to the hardcore fans on Sherdog and MMA.TV what someone like me or any of us on this web site say that is critical about PRIDE, because we all have ‘axes to grind’ and we all ‘tamper with the facts’ and we all portray ourselves as ‘authorities.’ It is always one reason after another.

    Someone in the past made the comparison to me that if/when PRIDE dies, it will generate a reaction similar to how fans reacted when WCW died and was bought out by WWE.

  13. Grape Knee High says:

    Jerry Millen is as much of a douchebag as Dana White. Except he’s lacking Dana’s charisma and business sense, which pretty much makes him just about worthless.

    Getting rid of Quadros? Meh. Didn’t like him back then and haven’t liked him since in the IFL, Cage Rage and whatever random events he’s been he announcing. He stutters and stammers way too much for my liking. Plus, what kind of a-hole calls himself “The Fight Professor”?

    However, getting rid of Mauro and Bas was just a straight up stupid. Lon McEachern seemed pretty good replacement to me, so I hope he stays on even for Japanese shows.

  14. Stu says:

    I too would like to know how many PRIDE people are trying to defend the seemingly indefensible Millen at this point.

    Trust me there is no one. Go to Sherdog forums and all you’ll find are hate-threads and petitions to fire the guy.

  15. Zach Arnold says:

    Trust me there is no one. Go to Sherdog forums and all you’ll find are hate-threads and petitions to fire the guy.

    I think it’s a three-way competition right now between Millen, Fishman, and myself for ‘most hated man’ on Sherdog.

  16. Stu says:

    Well at least your the dark horse at the moment 😛

  17. Grape Knee High says:

    Zach, most Sherdoggers don’t even know who you are.

  18. whiteb3lte says:

    Guys please sign the petition to remove Jerry millen

    http://www.petitiononline.com/noMillen/petition.html

    It is going to be submitted to DSE Japan so it goes over Millens head. We have over 1000+ signatures already , MMA was legalized in PA with less signatures. Lets put this baby to bed.

  19. JThue says:

    “It is going to be submitted to DSE Japan so it goes over Millens head. We have over 1000+ signatures already , MMA was legalized in PA with less signatures. Lets put this baby to bed.”

    You guys are soooo screwed when it turns out Millen is dating the daughter of “Owner Mr. X”.

  20. Harold says:

    I think it’s a three-way competition right now between Millen, Fishman, and myself for ‘most hated man’ on Sherdog.

    OK, now you just sound like a egomaniac.

    but about the jerry millen interview, him and dana white are both complete morons, they fit each other well

  21. AJAX says:

    I am a Pride fan and dislike American MMA events simply for the fact that the U.S. MMA rules are awful. I still to this day can’t believe you people back the organization that promotes watered down fights where fighters know that the second their knees come to the ground they are “safe” from a lot of attacks. This Millen guy is a douche, Dana is a douche for backing shitty rules, and yes, Zach, you are a douche for acting like a little kid in a candy shop over things like this. For my money, I’ll bet the UFC’s success sure isn’t hurting your pocketbook, and we already know your not “objective” in your journalism, and you admit to as much. You even take pride in the fact that you are among the most hated on Sherdog. I just don’t think that’s responsable for someone who runs this kind of website to be all giddy about. It is your, “opinion” though, just don’t try to act like its responsable or unbiased or objective or O.K. By the way, this video reminds me of all three the guys mentioned above.

  22. AJAX says:

    I guess the power of video has been taken from us here.

  23. Clin says:

    Part 3 of the MMA News interview with Millen is up. In it he claims that Rutten and Ranallo left on their own and it didn’t have anything to do with him.

    http://www.mmanews.com/pride/Exclusive:-Jerry-Millen-On-A-Number-Of-Topics-%5BPt.-3%5D.html

  24. Dedwyre says:

    Stephen Quadros is great. Mauro Ranallo is great. Bas Rutten…well, you get the idea.

    I don’t think a petition is going to get Jerry Millen fired. Legalizing a sport in a state and firing a high-ranked employee are two different things. But I’ve been wrong before.

  25. Dedwyre says:

    “Zach, you are a douche for acting like a little kid in a candy shop over things like this. For my money, I’ll bet the UFC’s success sure isn’t hurting your pocketbook, and we already know your not “objective” in your journalism, and you admit to as much.”

    Everyone likes to complain about Zach being biased on HIS OWN WEBSITE. It is called FightOPINION.com for a reason, you know.

  26. Zach Arnold says:

    For my money, I’ll bet the UFC’s success sure isn’t hurting your pocketbook, and we already know your not “objective” in your journalism, and you admit to as much.

    You can’t be serious about this, can you?

  27. Yeah I was about to laugh at that too. Bling bling!

  28. The Gaijin says:

    You guys do know that Zach is actually Dana White’s online “alter ego” right?? 😉 lol.

    Honestly who really gives a fuck about Jerry Millen – the guy is nothing more than a “talking head” for PRIDE and i’d be uber surprised to find out that he actually had any say or weight in the operation of PRIDE. They probably thought he fit the stereotypical “successful American” b/c he tries to look like David “hollywood” Beckham and inserted this guy to be the face of the promotion over here. Too bad they didnt realize everyone things he’s an idiotic, incompetent douche…

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