Easily my favourite version of TUF was when Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping and Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller took places in the coaching hot seats on season 14. The season took place just before the show changed to it’s new fully ‘live’ format and was a real joy to watch from start to finish. Most of the contestants on the show were also real characters, and even though not all were likable, once thrown together in the TUF house, they still made for great TV!
I am a very large fan of Michael Bisping. I have gone a long while missing out on MMA, living in the UK far away from the UFC and other famous fighting organisations of the past, over here MMA never gets a mention and has the classic stigma of being barbaric and a sport for thugs. The many benefits that training for MMA provides are generally completely overlooked by my country’s media. Recently however I’ve gone back full circle, back to my young days when I practiced Shotokan karate and did a little Taekwondo and my main hero then was of course Bruce Lee (My training style has now been updated and has evolved to BJJ since then). Michael Bisping’s story has certainly been the the main influencing factor on me taking an interest in professional MMA and the UFC again since I saw an early UFC Ultimate Knockouts collection as a kid. On his team we had TJ Dilllashaw, Diego Brando, Akira Corrasani and Marcus Brimage competing who have stuck around since and made solid careers in the UFC. Especially of course Dillashaw who is at the time of writing this, the current UFC Bantemweight Champ after his amazing KO of Renen Barao. Akira has since retired after a third straight loss (a nasty looking KO by Sam Sicilia) but he’s had the time of his life whilst with the UFC and for him it was all about the experience and the journey.
Then there’s Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller, the wacky zany character with high levels of ADHD that is a symbol to many as having risen above a past of bullying searching for a life with meaning after having past up on joining the forces like most of his peers. He ultimately lost the coaches fight at the TUF finalie and his professional and illustrious (up to then) MMA career crumbled then completely collapsed since the fight. Team Miller notably featured John Dodson, Dennis Bermudez and Brian Caraway, all went on to feature for the UFC.
The season became notorious for the pranks and the banter between the two coaches and their staff. The contestants obviously liked their coaches on both teams, took up the team mentality and really got involved! I know Bisping for one has kept in touch with a lot of his team members from the show. Despite some occasional extremely heated confrontations, both between the coaches (an incident with Bisping and Ryan Parsons come to mind) and the contestants, with Akira often being predictably the main instigator, the show played out in good competitive spirits, everyone seemed to be having a real laugh and I also got the impression overall Mike Bisping and Mayhem were far from enemies.
Now the two coaches have traveled two very separate paths and have experienced ultimately contrasting fortunes. Mike Bisping is happily settled in Orange County with his lovely wife and kids and, although he may never be a champion, still continues to compete at a high level in the UFC. Mayhem on the other hand, whilst also in OC, in Mission Viejo, either seems to be suffering an emotional brake down or is heavily hooked on drugs, or maybe a combination of the two. After live tweeting his stand off with an OC county SWAT team on Twitter he is again in the news for all the wrong reasons. He has recently posted pretty gnarly images of a large nasty looking knife wound on his swollen arm on twitter. He seems to have maybe pissed off some of the wrong people. More recently he has been involved with Ian McCall’s ex (the painted lady as he called her lol) who has accused Mayhem of physically assaulting her and is currently pressing charges against him. We obviously don’t know Mayhem’s side of the story on that one though.
I ultimately feel as though I can relate to aspects of both guys. I follow them both on twitter and wish them all the best in the future. I wish Mike continued success with the rest of his fight career and his FOX TV work. For Mayhem I hope he does finally ‘get his shit together’, puts his legal troubles behind him and discovers what he wants to do with the rest of his life. I have to give them both congrats on TUF 14. If you’re a combat sports fan that also likes music and video games. I’d recomend you watch it too if you haven’t.