Italian fight promotion Venator FC recently signed controversial veteran fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller to emerge from retirement to challenge promotional middleweight champion Luke Barnatt in May in Italy.
Shortly after Miller’s signing became public, so did news that he had again run afoul with the law, being stopped and cited for suspicion of driving under the influence. It was the latest in a lengthy record of legal trouble for Miller.
Prior to the Feb. 7 DUI incident, he was most recently arrested in October for assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. In 2014, he engaged in a standoff with a SWAT team at his home. In 2013, he was arrested twice for domestic violence. In 2012, he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor vandalism of a church.
After news of Miller’s DUI incident became public, many pundits and fans questioned Miller’s mental condition and his return to fighting, leading Frank Merenda, president and co-founder of Venator FC, to release the following statement to MMAWeekly.com:
“We signed a contract with Jason Miller after long reflections with his coach and manager. It was never a decision taken lightly.
The offenses to justice of Miller fall in the “fines” section, and at the present time there are no serious charges against him. But above all, the problems with the justice of Jason Miller began AFTER his retirement from MMA and we believe that his return to activity can help him greatly with his path to redemption.
As president of Venator FC I have no intention of taking away his opportunity because Miller was stopped for driving under the influence. As driving under the influence has to be condemned strongly and it’s just fair that Miller pays his fine, I would be personally curious to know how many of the “saints” journalists and Miller’s haters have never drunk a couple of beers before leaving home.
Be fined does not make Miller a criminal to my eyes. I will not cancel any match for this reason.
Indeed, I find it absolutely disgusting the some press rage against a person who is working hard in the gym to get back doing what he loves: Fighting in the cage.
For all the poor idiots who continue to speak of the mental condition of Miller. Miller is a born actor. These days he’s proving his qualities with never ending jokes on the internet and twitter. He was not “drunk” when he said Josh Barnett instead of Luke Barnatt. He is just doing with great skills his PR job, above all with no trash talk and without offending anyone as it’s quite normal in modern MMA, but with subtle irony, playing the character of “mental devastated” that every stupid in this world lightly gives to him without actually knowing him.
Jason Miller is not a saint. We do not defend what he has done wrong in the past.
But we are happy and honored to give him the chance he deserves to show how the MMA can be a vehicle for the rebirth of a person.
For all who would like to see him alone and abandoned by everyone, I only have one word for you: be ashamed of yourself. I believe in Jason Miller. I’ll give this guy his chance.”
Miller is scheduled to challenge Barnatt in the co-main event of Venator FC III on May 21 at Palasesto Milan.