There aren’t many who have been around the sport of mixed martial arts than Pat Miletich.

And there definitely very few who can intelligently articulate the happenings as one of the best analysts/color commentators in the game plus offer a great deal of insight on the business side of things.
Miletich is all that.

He was the UFC’s first welterweight champion and incredibly held the title for 900 days, but might be best known by longtime followers of MMA as the creator of Miletich Fighting Systems which produced a legion of stellar fighters anchored by Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, Tim Sylvia, and Robbie Lawler. Younger or newer fans of MMA will likely know Miletich as the “verbal sparring partner” on AXS TV Fights.

A UFC Hall of Famer himself, having been bestowed the honor in 2014, Miletich is headed to Las Vegas this weekend for next inductions along with UFC 189. Before departing from his home in Bettendorf, Iowa, Miletich took time from his hectic schedule to offer up his opinion on matters ranging from the history of MFS, some fellow UFC Hall of Famers, and the one fight that got away.

SZ: You’ve covered so many events now on AXS TV Fights. From your perspective, what are two or three things that shows should do better?

PM: As far as the shows on AXS TV, I feel all of those organizations should urge someone to start a sanctioning body to create an independent belt. Until this happens the sport will probably stagnate and stop growing. It would create strength among all of these organizations and they would be able to keep athletes longer and get them the eventual big paydays they are looking for. As for Bellator, they should have changed its name the minute (Scott) Coker took over.

SZ: What do you do in between AXS TV Fights events?

PM: I spend a lot of time with my wife and daughters, running the kids to swim practice, and getting workouts in. I am also working on several projects and am also pretty heavy into the political scene and talk radio and doing appearances for those types of shows. Along with that, I am the co-founder of Fire Horse Combatives and we train law enforcement and military personnel in defensive tactics and combatives.

SZ: We’re going to turn back time. Which fight does Pat Miletich think Pat Miletich did the best work in? Is there a fight that you like a mulligan for? And was there a guy from days gone by that you didn’t get your hands on that you wish you would have?

PM: I really never look back with regret and I reached my goals in coaching and fighting. The only person that I would have enjoyed fighting would have been Frank Shamrock when we both held UFC belts. Frank flat out said no.

SZ: A little spin on that time turn back time aspect … Taking the skills that you had in the UFC during your best days, how successful would Pat Miletich be in the modern era UFC?

PM: I think I would do well. I was lucky enough to train with the best guys in the world on the ground like Amaury Bittetti, the best boxers like Michael Nunn, I grew up wrestling in Iowa, and my Muay Thai coach was a Thai badass.

Note: Amaury Bitetti is a two-time absolute division champion at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, a two-time UFC competitor, and founder of the Bitetti Combat fight organization. Michael “Second To” Nunn is a former IBF middleweight and WBA super-middleweight world champion.

SZ: What would you do differently or better than what current shows especially UFC, Bellator and WSOF do? As an example, I think Bellator, and to some degree WSOF, sign far too many UFC castoffs.

PM: You are correct in regards to castoffs. Scott Coker was successful with Strikeforce because he took talented athletes and created his own brand. Now I think he has to deal with the suits at Viacom which might make it tougher for him to do what he wants.

SZ: I would say many younger fans of UFC aren’t familiar with MFS compared to say Jackson’s, ATT or Blackzilians. Fill them in. What was it like back then to have that team and what was it like to be in the gym every day with such as cast?

PM: Forty guys in a wrestling room, most ranked in the top 10 in the world, and none were afraid to train with anyone else in the room … hungry, mean and team GNF.

SZ: Who are your favorite fighters to watch now and why?

PM: Of course I follow Robbie Lawler and Ben Rothwell closely because I trained both of them for about a decade. I also really enjoy watching Daniel Cormier, Tim Kennedy and several others.

SZ: You are a UFC Hall of Famer, and I’d like to get your thoughts on other UFC Hall of Famers … new inductee and your AXS TV Fights colleague Bas Rutten

PM: Bas was a huge name when he came over from King of Pancrase and I looked up to him a lot. He was a flat-out killer with zero fear.

SZ: Matt Hughes?

PM: Like a brother to me. We beat on each other for a decade and literally pushed each other to the top of the mountain.

SZ: Ken Shamrock?

PM: A real war horse and a guy who brought the WWE flare into MMA. The sport desperately needed a guy like Ken at the time.

SZ: Royce Gracie?

PM: The prince of the royal family of modern MMA. I have great respect for the Gracie family.

SZ: Lastly, does the milestone of turning 50 next year mean anything to you?

PM: It means I’m a year closer to taking a dirt nap and to not waste time in life.

About The Author

Scott Zerr
Staff Writer

Scott joins The MMA Corner having spent the last 14 years in mixed martial arts as Director of Media & Fighter Relations for the Maximum Fighting Championship. He will provide The MMA Corner with insight on breaking news in the sport, plus an insider's perspective on business developments, matchmaking, fighter signings, and much more. In addition to his longtime work in MMA, Scott was a sports reporter before moving into media relations and marketing. After growing up and working in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott has since moved to Bakersfield, California to be with his wife Christina (an avid fight fan, thank goodness) and kids.