TUF 3 at the heart of Pat Miletich's exile from the UFC over the years
JUL 06, 2014 3:11p ET
As the first ever welterweight champion and coach of some of the greatest fighters in UFC history, you'd imagine that Pat Miletich would be omnipresent inside and around the company he helped keep alive during the darkest days of the sport when even pay-per-view had no interest in broadcasting mixed martial arts.
Miletich fought in the UFC during a time when virtually no one was watching, and he built the first ever super camp of champions during the infancy of the Zuffa era when the Fertitta brothers along with Dana White started to revive the sport a decade ago. But for the last few years, Miletich was a ghost when it came to UFC television and productions.
Rumors abounded that Miletich had a huge falling out with the promotion, although the reason why was never made clear. Some speculated that it was because he bolted the UFC and started to work with the IFL (International Fight League), an upstart promotion that tried to build a rival MMA organization. From there it moved to Miletich's work with Showtime while commentating in Strikeforce events, again because he was supporting a rival promotion instead of the UFC.
As it turns out none of those reasons had anything to do with why Miletich was never seen around the UFC for the last six or seven years.
“I had called Pat and asked if he would coach that season of The Ultimate Fighter with Carlos Newton and he accepted and he wanted to do it. Then things started to come together and Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz ended up coaching that season and I didn't handle it very well ”
"There's this rumor that there was a huge falling out between the UFC and Pat Miletich. Not really true. Pat Miletich was pissed at me for a very long time," UFC president Dana White explained while inducting the legendary fighter and coach into the UFC Hall of Fame on Sunday. "Going into season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter, I had called Pat and asked if he would coach that season of The Ultimate Fighter with Carlos Newton and he accepted and he wanted to do it. Then things started to come together and Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz ended up coaching that season and I didn't handle it very well and Pat was pretty upset about it and I don't blame him."
Miletich lost his UFC welterweight title to Newton in a massive upset at UFC 31 in 2001, and the plan was to put him back in there against the Canadian submission specialist with a rematch at the end of the season. Obviously it never happened and Miletich bolted from the UFC, never to be seen again.
The long-standing grudge between Miletich and White came to a close as he was inducted as the 12th member of the UFC Hall of Fame. Miletich was not only a four-time defending welterweight champion, but he mentored and coached a huge list of UFC superstars -- some of whom are still competing in the UFC today.
"When we bought the company back in 2001, he had the best camp in mixed martial arts. At the time when we bought the UFC, he had pretty much every champion," White said. "He was the champion himself and then Matt Hughes became a champion out of his camp, Tim Sylvia was the heavyweight champion, Jens Pulver was the first lightweight champion when he fought B.J. Penn and the list goes on and on at the Miletich camp."
Since his fighting career came to a close, Miletich has continued to work in MMA as a commentator and quickly became one of the best in the game with his insight into the sport and technical knowledge that few can match.
Now with the UFC Hall of Fame added to his resume, Miletich can stand proud as one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in the Octagon and one of the greatest coaches to ever build champions for the UFC.
"Very humbled by the way Dana's handled this whole thing, it's very impressive," Miletich said. "There was a time in this sport and a lot people remember who have been around for a lot of years that this sport had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel and we were in trouble. So you've got to give credit where credit is due -- Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta and Dana White saved the sport and none of us would be here if not for you guys and we truly appreciate that and also I think we also need to thank the Gracie family.
"I've had a very blessed life. Great family, great friends and I'm very thankful and very honored to be here."
Miletich joins his long time friend and student Matt Hughes as the only two welterweights currently inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame.