Jim Miller is a dynamic ufc Lightweight, and a recent guest of Fighters.com Radio, looking for another shot at breaking into the top of his division when he faces veteran Gleison Tibau at UFC Fight Night 22: “Marquardt vs. Palhares”. A loss to Gray Maynard halted Miller’s ascension to best-in-the-world status, but his four straight wins since that defeat is all the proof I need to know that Jim Miller could go far in the UFC. In a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio, Miller discussed the often-debated topic on whether or not teammates should fight teammates in the UFC.
Here’s what Miller had to say regarding the situation: “When you boil it down it’s a sport. We’re not gladiators battling to the death, there is no real animosity in most fights. Sometimes sure, sometimes guys just really don’t like each other, but most of the time we’re just competitors. We’re in there because we enjoy it and we like the taste of a win. Doesn’t matter who you’re fighting, you’re still going to go for it.”
In theory I think Jim Miller makes an excellent point. Fighting your friends is just a necessary evil you’ll have to endure if you want to really prove that you’re a best-in-the-world athlete. It happens all the time in other sports: for one reason or another a player gets traded to another team, and eventually, that player will have to face off against his former friends. It certainly makes for dramatic television, and in several cases, it’s brought out the best in all involved. And frankly, it may even be downright unfair to the fans of MMA, who have kept the sport’s resurgence growing at near-exponential rates, to not have fighters face their teammates. As consumers, we deserve the best possible fights. And a lot of them aren’t happening simply because almost all of the best fighters train at the same camps.
But I have some hesitations once this is put into practice. I know it’s easy to point at team sports and say that competing against your friends is something you have to accept, because you’ll likely be doing it at least a couple of times in your career whether you like it or not. But a fight is a fight, and there is perhaps no better way to potentially ruin a friendship than to knock out or submit your opponent. I can certainly relate to a fighter not wanting to jeopardize a friendship that has grown over years (in some cases decades) just for the sake of a fifteen minute fight that they’re literally forced into. There’s also the possibility that close friends would keep it safe and play it easy with one another, resulting in some very boring fights.
Yet when it all comes down to it, I think all parties involved should own up to their fears, face them dead-on, and fight their teammates. I want to see fights like Josh Koscheck vs. Jon Fitch. I want to see how Anderson Silva would do against Lyoto Machida. We’re being deprived of what could end up being some of the best fights in MMA history simply because fighters aren’t willing to put their friendships to the test. I think we as loyal fans and proud supports deserve fights like that, and that fights like that would bring in some massive Pay-Per-View buyrates. So leave the pride at home, check the friendship at the cage door, and go out and prove once and for all who the best in the world is.
And what do you think, fans and friends? How do you feel on teammate vs. teammate fights, and if they ever happen, what are some teammate vs. teammate fights you’d like to see?