By now just about everybody has seen the pictures or the video of Jim Miller coming backstage to embrace his older brother Dan in what had to be one of the most emotional nights the brothers have ever experienced.
Yes, both Jim and Dan fought at UFC 128 in front of their home state crowd in New Jersey, and that in and of itself could be called emotional.
Yes, Jim had to walk out for his fight against Kamal Shalorus just minutes after his brother Dan lost a unanimous decision to Nate Marquardt in the previous bout, but that wasn’t it either.
The date of UFC 128 fell on the same day that, two years earlier, the elder Miller brother lost his daughter after she was born, and what was already a highly charged emotional day, turned into a moment that no one will soon forget.
Jim went on to win his fight, finishing off Shalorus by TKO in the third round, but even though he was happy with his performance, the first thing he wanted to talk about was how proud he was of his big brother for going out there and fighting like a champion.
“Just the night itself was a tough night being the history of the night, for Dan’s daughter. It definitely added some pressure,” Miller told MMAWeekly Radio. “He fought hard, I’m super proud of him. He was fighting hard and he was going for the finish. He locked up like three or four guillotines and he just couldn’t put it together. It would have been even better if we were both able to win.”
Of course Jim and Dan are close simply because they are brothers, but they have a relationship that transcends family. The two New Jersey fighters are best friends, training partners, and share a bond that some brothers will never feel.
They’ve seen each other at their highest moments both personally and professionally, and been there for each other when they’ve been at their lowest.
“They’re all very close. It’s a very tight knit family,” said Mike Constantino who trains both Jim and Dan Miller, and has done so for the last four years.
Beyond Jim and Dan, they also have another brother and a sister, along with their mom and dad, and they are all extremely close, and family truly does come first when you speak about the Millers.
In training, Jim and Dan also work to push each other to get better every single day. There hasn’t been a camp where Jim hasn’t helped Dan get ready for a fight or vice versa. It’s a relationship that amazes their trainer, and rubs off on their teammates, who learn and grow from training with the Miller brothers.
Even in the intense moments when something may not be going right, cooler heads always seem to prevail.
“They really do not only push each other, but their other teammates. They’re really good leaders. They do a great job of leading by example, saying and doing all the right things,” Constantino said.
“I’ve never seen them fight or argue or anything like that. I mean they’ve disagreed, but I’ve never really seen that. They really are that tight, it’s amazing.”
When the UFC came calling on Jim to fight on the card in New Jersey, like every other time the UFC had called, he quickly accepted. When big brother Dan found out Jim was fighting on the card, he asked the UFC for the chance to fight on the same night.
The date on the calendar read March 19, and they both knew what it meant, but both Jim and Dan wanted to fight and nothing was going to hold them back. Dan made the call to the UFC, and they found him a fight and soon the Miller brothers were both preparing for UFC 128.
“He asked to fight on UFC 128 when he found out I was fighting that night. There’s no regrets. He went out and he fought hard and sometimes you end up losing and that’s just the way it goes,” Jim commented about Dan.
The night went in Jim’s favor but not in Dan’s. That doesn’t mean they still didn’t hold their heads high when it was over. Jim’s undying statement really rings true when he talks about his brother, because it comes from the heart.
“I’m proud of him,” Jim said simply about his older brother. “He should keep his head up and he’ll be back stronger.”
Even in the heat of his own title hunt with another big win under his belt, Jim’s biggest emotion following his win at UFC 128 was one of pride. He was proud to see his brother go out there and fight. He was proud of his courage and will.
He was simply proud to be his brother.
When their time in this sport is finished, Jim and Dan Miller will still share Thanksgiving dinner together, and they’ll always have birthdays and family get togethers. But what the Miller brothers shared at UFC 128 is a moment that will live with them forever.
It’s a moment that defines brotherhood.