clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cole Miller on union need: UFC is ‘treating me like I’m a piece of malfunctioned or old equipment’

New, comments

Cole Miller’s feelings about the UFC haven’t improved much since he spoke out last week on having to go through two training camps for his bout with Mizuto Hirota.

It’s rare to find a fighter in the UFC so entirely open and up front about their problems working with the promotion. To that end, Cole Miller has been unwaveringly explicit in detailing where his relationship with organization went south. The longtime featherweight and former lightweight was supposed to fight Mizuto Hirota back in October in the Philippines. When the event got cancelled, Miller ended up getting paid a fraction of his show money and has had to wait another two months for his next bout.

Last week, in an interview with Sherdog.com things came to a head. When speaking about his upcoming fight, Miller made it clear that having to go through two training camps for one paycheck has left him cold to the idea of fighting in general.

Speaking now to Sub Radio, Miller expanded on his thoughts, most particularly clarifying just what he meant when he said that he tried to get a meeting with the UFC front office.

“I didn’t ask to meet the new owners,” Miller said, “I specifically asked to meet with whoever was in charge of making the administrative decision of giving me the compensation that I received and could give me a proper explanation on why I would receive that and not a penny more than that. And I offered to fly out to Vegas on my own dime, pay for a hotel on my own dime to just basically for me to plead my case. And if they were going to tell me no, at least they would have said no to my face and they would have given me a proper explanation why. They maybe could have given me a good explanation. You see what I’m saying? But they just completely null and voided that and said that they weren’t going to be taking any meetings regarding that issue at this time. You know, like come on.”

“Magrinho” went on to say that, because of the situation, he hasn’t been able to get himself invested in his December 17th fight at all - although he also doesn’t seem to feel it will affect his performance.

“I don’t care what happens to me in this fight,” Miller told Sub Radio. “I don’t care what happens to me as far as being retained as an independent contractor – not an employee – under the Zuffa umbrella. I mean like, the way that they treated me shows they obviously don’t want me fighting for them. That’s the way I take that, that they don’t really – that’s the way I absorb that, is that they don’t really think enough of me and they really don’t want me fighting for them anyways, almost treating me like I’m a piece of malfunctioned or old equipment that isn’t any good anymore. And I don’t think that I’m projecting that, I think that that’s just plainly written right there. That’s how I perceive that to be. And why would you want to work for somebody that doesn’t want you to work for them?”

And in general, perhaps in part because of this fractured relationship, Miller seems to feel that fighters need to look seriously at the potential for unionization. With more emphasis in recent months on efforts like the MMAFA, PFA, and now MMAAA, Miller wants to see fighters banding together to make sure they’re taken care of post-career.

“Right now is an important time for mixed martial artists that are in the game, both young and old, to be voicing what it is that they want out of the sport in general or their specific organizations,” Miller explained, “like the UFC, like the things that we’re talking about, like post-career benefits. I mean, we can always say that we want more money. That’s pretty easy. You can complain about what your contract is, or you can say that this guy’s making this or that guy’s making that, and that creates a lot of division. What we really need, if you wanna do real work with a union or an association-type thing, is we need more unity there. You know, that’s why it’s called a union.

“So I think it’s important to know that the system is set up for us to be fighting against each other, but really, we’re already gonna be fighting against each other. We need to be fighting for each other when it comes to the benefits, the respect, the ethical treatment and things like that for fighters as a whole. Because, just because you might not like a fighter, you don’t like that they make more money than you right now or they’re getting pay-per-view cuts and you’re not and you’re making the lowest totem pole of 10-10, but this other guy that came in for his debut made 50 and 50 and he just made his debut – I mean, that’s trivial stuff. What the real stuff that we need to be talking about is, at least for me right now, that I’m thinking about, that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, that I’m hoping not for just myself but fighters of the past, is the post-career amenities.”

Cole Miller is set to take on Mizuto Hirota at UFC on FOX 22: VanZant vs. Waterson in Sacramento, California. Hopefully, without any new problems between now and then.