Jake Shields (23-4-1), of San Francisco, will face Jason “Mayhem” Miller (22-6), of Hollywood, Calif., for the vacant STRIKEFORCE Middleweight Title. Both participated in a national media conference call to discuss their upcoming fight on the STRIKEFORCE and M-1 Global: “Fedor vs. Rogers” event LIVE on Saturday, Nov. 7 on CBS Television Network (9:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) from Sears Centre Arena in Chicago.
In the main event, world No. 1 ranked heavyweight fighter Fedor Emelianenko will face undefeated American powerhouse Brett “The Grim” Rogers in his first fight since Emelianenko’s promotional company M-1 Global signed an agreement with STRIKEFORCE to co-promote major events headlined by Emelianenko. In other fights on CBS: Fabricio Werdum will face Antonio “Big Foot” Silva in a matchup of two promising Brazilian heavyweights. Gegard Mousasi battles Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in a light heavyweight matchup.
“As far as stacked cards go our history with our promotions with SHOWTIME and now with CBS our cards have always been stacked from top to bottom. And I think that’s one of the great things for our fans is that they get to watch not one but two, three, four, five fights. They get to see great fights and the stars. And it’s no difference with our Chicago card. You get to watch Fedor, Jake and Miller … and it’s all for free and you don’t have to pay $49.95. So we’ll continue this journey of putting on cards with fights four or five bouts deep. That’s the mandate. To book as much talent and get the greatest fights that we can.”
Do you plan to bring in some local fighters to fight on the undercard? “We will be working with some of the local gyms and looking over some of the local fighters and having them come in and compete.”
What is your plan for the middleweight title after this fight? “Right now there are a couple people in mind and we’ll determine that when this fight is over.”
What about Cung Le? “Cung let the belt go because he has other movie opportunities right now and hopefully he’ll be back soon. He understands what a commitment it is to be an MMA fighter and we’re going to move forward and see how it goes.”
“I want to say I’m very excited to be on this card. It’s going to be a great night for the fans. Going back to CBS is huge. This will be my third time fighting on CBS and I really appreciate the exposure.”
“I think it’s going to be a great fight. We match up pretty well. It’s going to be non-stop action. I’m in great shape and I’m sure he will be also. This is a big opportunity for him.”
On being friends with his opponent: “We’re cool with each other. We’ve gone out a few times. It’s not like we sit at home and talk with each other on the phone or anything.”
At this point, Miller jumps in: “You’re breaking my heart, man. I thought you were my best friend. I thought we had a connection.”
Continued Shields: “I have fun hangin’ out with him but I have no problem punching him in the face either. When we get done with the fight we’ll be cool but we won’t have any problem once we’re in the ring.
“Hopefully it’ll be an easy fight but if not we’ll hopefully just beat the crap out of each other and make the fans happy.”
Have you been focusing more on your stand up for this fight? “I’ve been working on every aspect for this fight. I’ve been doing boxing, kick boxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, conditioning. I’ve been working on everything. I haven’t been working on just one approach to fighting “Mayhem.” I’m just working on every aspect.”
JASON “MAYHEM” MILLER
“It’s great that Fedor will be on the undercard of this show. What? What? Oh, nevermind, I guess I’m on the undercard for Fedor. I’m really pumped and excited for Strikeforce who it appears is making some big, big moves in the MMA world”
About the attention he will be receiving over the next couple of weeks: “You know, if they stick a microphone in myself I’ll rip on it. I want everybody to know about this fight and I want everybody to watch this fight. If the MMA fans don’t know about this fight then it’s not my fault because I’m twittering, facebook-ing and myspace-ing and doing whatever I can for it.”
On his friendship with Shields: “If he knocks me out I’ll be very sore at him for one night. Nah, I’ve fought my own Dad so many times and we’re still friends. It all comes down to competition. I think it’s very strange for the common reporter to understand that we’re trying to hurt each other as bad as we can in those 25 minutes inside the cage but that afterwards we can be buddies because that’s our job and it’s just a competition.”
“If the media wants us to we can hate each other.”
“I’m going to put some showmanship into it. That’s not that common in the shows here in America but if I can put some flair into it and people are going to be talking about it around the water cooler on Monday, well there you go. That’s the way to capitalize that we’re on CBS, regular television where you can get it on your bunny ears.”
On Robbie Lawler being the only common opponent. Will you watch that fight? “I’m not going to focus too big on the Lawler fight as a source of inspiration for this fight coming up. I know Jake has a lot of things I have to avoid and that he also has a lot of chinks in his armor and things that I can exploit but the Lawler fight for me is not my No. 1 choice to watch.”
Where were you when you heard that you’d be fighting on CBS Nov. 7? “I don’t know. I had kind of heard it was shaping up and then it came together. And I was like, `Oh, I am fighting’ so I better start training harder than that. I’ve from Missouri: the Show Me state so it wasn’t till they showed me that I believed it. It wasn’t like `Where were you when Kennedy was shot.’ It wasn’t like I was holding a coconut and I dropped it when they told me.”
On fighting on CBS: “Is there like some kind of special mat that we fight on for CBS that is thicker than other mats that’s going to make us slower or not used to? I don’t think at this stage of my career I’m going to be nervous or worries about anything. Those days are far behind me; to be overly excited because everyone is watching me. There’s no disadvantage to that. If anything it’s an advantage because I know everyone is watching and I’m more focused and more ready to do this.”
Tickets, starting at $35, are on sale now at the Sears Centre Arena box office (www.searscentre.com) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and STRIKEFORCE’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).