The following is the third and final part of our exclusive interview with PRIDE Vice President Jerry Millen. The interview was conducted on March 7, 2007 by MMANews.com's own Luis Cruz.
Luis Cruz of MMANews.com: Now real quick, you actually didn't wanna talk about this, but a lot of the fans wanted to know – Bas [Rutten], Stephen [Quadros] and Mauro [Ranallo], they all pointed the finger at you of why they left [PRIDE]
Jerry Millen: [laughs]
MMANews.com: What's that all about?
Jerry Millen: Well, I'll just run through it real quick because this is like old news, but Stephen Quadros was fired one event while I was working here. I didn't fire him, it wasn't my decision – they wanted him out. They fired him, it had nothing to do with me. Okay? Bas Rutten decided to leave when he had some problems, I guess, with the Japanese. Umm, and uhh Mauro decided to leave. That's on them. I decided that I wanted some professional broadcasters.
MMANews.com: Ok, fair enough.
Jerry Millen: And I want professionals in our booth, you know? I've been doing television for twenty-something-odd years. Umm, you know? You know and I have a resume' reel that will back that up. So, I wanted professionals. And there's a lot of things that go on in the back-scenes [that] people don't know. Some people have personal issues that I'm not gonna get in here and air people's dirty laundry and what their personal issues are with life.
MMANews.com: That's fine.
Jerry Millen: But, some people have personal issues and, you know, they have to go I guess and they felt they had to go – because of personal issues, so they left and they're gone and I just look forward now.
MMANews.com: Alright now the only question I got left about that is – would you ever consider hiring any of the three back?
Jerry Millen: Umm, you know you never say never in anything, I guess, but my thing is either you want to be on the team or you don't. So, if you don't want to be on the team, or you have some personal issues you have to deal with in life…
MMANews.com: But you would?
Jerry Millen: See I never say never to anything. You can never say never. It's too definite.
MMANews.com: You're kind of making it sound like you'd rather not…
Jerry Millen: No, I just – you never say never. I'm just saying, you know, if they can work out some personal issues then who knows?
MMANews.com: Ok. Now, PRIDE was supposed to announce a big TV deal last week, I believe it was Wednesday. What happened with that?
Jerry Millen: No [laughs]. See that's what's funny. That's what I love about the internet – when you say something it spreads like wildfire, but people miss-hear things. They don't hear what they think they hear.
MMANews.com: Oh. Well then what really happened?
Jerry Millen: What I said was we had some meetings and we have some things on the horizon with a couple TV networks and we actually did have some meetings this week. Some things that look really, really good. Now my thing is, PRIDE is a marquee product, ok? I don't want PRIDE on like the “I” (?) channel, or whatever that is – the “I” (?) network. That's not the kind of deal I think PRIDE should be on. I don't think PRIDE should be on the MyNetwork whatever-channel 27 on your UHF.
MMANews.com: Yeah, I know who you're talking about.
Jerry Millen: Where you have to have the big satellite dish from 1982 to pull it in. PRIDE needs to be somewhere where it's gonna get exposure in households.
Jerry Millen: And what people need to understand is that a TV deal doesn't happen over night, you know? And then once you get the deal then you're looking like six months out before it's on the air because television production is a lot more detailed than people would like know unless they're in the business. So what I said was that we were gonna have some meetings, not that we were gonna announce anything. So hopefully we will announce something soon, but we are close to some really, really great things that will get PRIDE the exposure that is deserves.
MMANews.com: How far out are you looking at a TV deal?
Jerry Millen: I would honestly, I would like to have something on the air by the fall.
Jerry Millen: Because what I want to do, it's gonna take time to put together but, you know this is what I do, you know and I'm not on anybody's time table. I mean we're not in a rush, we have a great product. The product speaks for itself. You know and there's a lot of, you know, people coming after PRIDE right now. A lot of people want to be a part of this and they know – they know. I mean, even UFC – of course they're coming after us because they know we're the only competition. So you have to be very selective on who you do business with. You have to walk carefully, you know? That's what we're doing.
MMANews.com: Alright another thing you were getting criticized about from PRIDE 33 and in the past – people are questioning why you're doing post-fight interviews. You mentioned…
Jerry Millen: …well, first off I was asked to. I was even asked to consider commentating, but no I'm not gonna commentate it.
MMANews.com: But as a Vice President, should you be doing the post-fight interviews or should you…
Jerry Millen: …ok, let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. As the president of UFC, should Dana White be hosting The Ultimate Fighter?
MMANews.com: In my personal opinion? No.
Jerry Millen: But why? I mean, he knows the fight-game right? He knows the fighters. I mean let me tell you something…
MMANews.com: …but he's the president.
Jerry Millen: Ok, he's the president.
MMANews.com: But I don't think the president necessarily needs to be a character on the show.
Jerry Millen: But he knows his product better than …I can't believe I'm defending Dana White right now.
Jerry Millen: But who knows his product better than himself? They tried Willa Ford the first season and it didn't work out, you know? He's gonna be making the decisions on when those guys are gonna fight so why not? He's part of that process so who would you have host it? Some guy that doesn't know the fight sport?
MMANews.com: There's plenty of people out there that know the sport.
Jerry Millen: Yeah, but you know what – knowing the sport and being able to be on television is two different worlds.
MMANews.com: So you don't think anybody can do post-fight interviews?
Jerry Millen: No, I didn't say that. Did I say that? I didn't say that. But…
MMANews.com: …you're comparing it to…
Jerry Millen: …guess what? I didn't have to pay myself to do it. The Japanese didn't have to pay me to do it. I did it so I didn't have to bring someone in and pay them a couple thousand dollars to do interviews.
MMANews.com: Oh I see. So it was done to save some money?
Jerry Millen: Well, no not just about money. But you know what? All three of those guys – I spent days and weeks with those guys. I been to Curitiba with Shogun, hung out and had dinner at his parents house. I mean I know these guys. I know Nick Diaz, I signed the kid. I know Dan Henderson, you know? And umm, so why not? That's my thing. The Japanese asked me if I'd do it and I said sure, why not? So my question back is why not?
MMANews.com: Also you kind of told Nick Diaz to thank PRIDE. That was another popular subject amongst the forum fans. And you mentioned Dan Henderson still having his mouth piece in when everybody knew why he wanted to keep it in…
Jerry Millen: …let me tell you this about Nick, ok? The next day, Nick Diaz called me and thanked me for bringing him to PRIDE and everything I did for him. Everything. If Nick Diaz would have a problem with me saying …'cause Nick and I were goofing around. You don't understand. Me and Nick were on the San Francisco Bridge four weeks before running up and down the Golden Gate Bridge. Three weeks before that we were hanging out. So, you know, I know these guys. So my thing is, if Nick Diaz would have had a problem with it – Nick would have said, “Jerry that wasn't cool,” I would've been like “you know what Nick, I apologize.” Instead, the next day, Nick Diaz called me and thanked me. So we were just having fun. Nick was naming sponsors – Cesar [Gracie] was shouting sponsors to him and I said “PRIDE,” and he said “PRIDE.” People need to chill out and not take everything so serious. If Nick Diaz had a problem with it, then I would apologize to Nick Diaz. But Nick Diaz called me the next day and thanked me for everything. So for anybody that had a problem with that, you know, they can ask Nick Diaz about it.
MMANews.com: What happened to the April 28th show? Why is that not in the U.S.?
Jerry Millen: Well number one, Dan Henderson was gonna defend his title at that event and he broke his hand, so he can not fight. Number two – we decided Oscar De La Hoya is fighting that next weekend in Vegas for Cinco de Mayo, so from a business standpoint, it probably just wasn't time to do another PRIDE fight. We're coming off a great – probably one of the best PRIDE fights I've seen honestly in the top three and we were lucky enough to see it in America. So we're not in a rush, man. We have the product, you know? The product speaks for itself. All these other guys that are coming out – they can't even come close to PRIDE. So there's no rush. So from a business standpoint – you know, our champion has a broken hand, De La Hoya is fighting that next weekend, you know when you factor in live PPV and live gate and Vegas already having a big event the next weekend it just didn't make sense business-wise, so we decided to postpone it. It's not that big a deal. I don't know why anybody is making such a big deal about it. I have to laugh, it's not that big a deal. The sky is not falling.
MMANews.com: Alright, a couple more questions. PRIDE being sold – yes or no?
Jerry Millen: Is PRIDE being sold? No.
MMANews.com: Currently there is a little petition going around. I don't know if you know about it, on the internet – to get you fired.
Jerry Millen: …where do I sign?
Jerry Millen: Where do I sign up.
MMANews.com: I could forward it to you if you want [laughs].
Jerry Millen: Send me the link bro, I'll sign up. Send me the link.
MMANews.com: Alright before I go are there any final thoughts. Anything you want to address to the MMA fans?
Jerry Millen: You know, I just want anybody that watches PRIDE and supports PRIDE – I thank you. We're hoping for some great things in the future for you, some great fights. We're all here busting our ass trying to make this thing happen. Don't believe any of the rumors because they're just that – rumors. Dana White and UFC are afraid of us, for sure – I guarantee you that. Other than that man, thanks for your support, you know? We'll keep doing it as long as we have the support of the fans, that's all that matters. Love me or hate me, I'm here and I'm here to help put these fights out. That's all I care about is putting out the best fights. I don't care about, you know, anything else. I want to put the best fights on and I think the fans are getting cheated on some of the fights not happening because of Dana, so if you have a problem with some fights not happening – talk to Dana White. In between him signing an autograph, or you know, having his bodyguards rushing out of a room.
MMANews.com: Alright. Well, we've been big PRIDE fans for a long time.
Jerry Millen: Yeah, we appreciate that. And like, you know I was getting some slack because I was gonna do an interview with you guys because you guys aren't supposedly the big MMA website or all that, but you know what my thing is…
MMANews.com: …statistically, we're among the biggest, but I can see…
Jerry Millen: …well no I was getting some slack. Like honestly, people said, you know, my thing is, you know what? I appreciate what you guys do. Anybody that's in this game right now, that's been in this game for a while – knows what this game is about. There's a lot of guys that are coming in now that are fake. They don't know the sport – they're just trying to come in and make a dollar off it. Put out a website, put out a radio show, whatever.
MMANews.com: That's not what we're about. We've been around since early 2002. I don't know who gave you that bum scoop.
Jerry Millen: Well, no I'm just saying. You know what I mean. So if I got time – I'll do it. I'll do whatever I can do because I know you guys aren't making a lot of money doing what you do. You gotta love the sport because you can't get rich doing this kind of stuff. And who knows in ten years you could be the Yahoo of MMA. You don't know, and I want you on my team [laughs] because you never know where you're going to be tomorrow.
MMANews.com: Well we'll be covering PRIDE no matter where we go, I can tell you that. And UFC and everybody else in MMA.
Jerry Millen: Well just so you know man, PRIDE is not going anywhere. Believe me. Dana will have to stick a knife in my back before PRIDE goes somewhere. Trust me.
MMANews.com: Alright, good to hear. Alright Jerry, I appreciate your time. Answering the questions that wanted to be asked.
Jerry Millen: No problem brother, anytime. Anytime.
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