On most occasions, a pack of crazed monkeys descending upon a major Las Vegas resort would be a significant cause for concern.
Tonight, it simply will signify the arrival of the fans of mixed martial artist Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who will make his World Extreme Cagefighting debut in a 185-pound bout against Hiromitsu Miura at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Because of his exciting fighting style and eccentric personality, Miller has accumulated an interesting collection of devoted followers, known as Mayhem’s Monkeys.
The group arose from a from a loyal base of fans and has exploded in numbers, mostly through a variety of Web sites. The starting point may have been Miller’s personal site and his MySpace page, but Mayhem’s Monkeys now have a MySpace page of their own where members are assigned a number. They use the site to stay connected and plan public shows of support for their favorite fighter.
“They kind of just formulated on their own,” Miller said. “They’ve been great.”
Currently, Miller boasts more than 60,000 friends on MySpace, but the 26-year-old is not just an Internet phenomenon. He is an accomplished fighter, having amassed a record of 18-5 against top competition.
Miller owns wins over Robbie Lawler and Dennis Kang, but his losses have provided him even more acclaim.
Miller’s last loss was to longtime UFC competitor Frank Trigg in December.
“The reason the fans love him is not only is he a guy that gives 100 percent every time, he’s a guy that truly needs to fight because that is his calling in life,” Trigg said. “He is a fighter, and that’s what he’s going to be.
“He’s also very dangerous because no matter where you have him in a fight, he can get you in a position to submit you.”
Miller went the distance with Georges St. Pierre at UFC 52 in 2005, before losing by unanimous decision.
“I have definitely had some great learning experiences because I have put it on the line against the top guys,” Miller said.
As for his opponent tonight, he doesn’t seem concerned.
“I understand he’s good at judo and good at kickboxing, and I know he’s going to lose,” Miller said.
Always the showman, Miller wants to keep fans entertained and recruit more of them.
“I’m going to go bananas on that guy and just gain a lot more monkeys,” he said.
The winner hopes to be in line to fight for the vacant WEC middleweight title.
The 205-pound belt, held by Doug Marshall, will be up for grabs against Justin McElfresh as part of the nine-fight card, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
It will be Marshall’s first defense after he earned the title with a knockout of Lodune Sincaid in August.