There goes that dream division matchup between Jon “Bones” Jones, the face of the UFC, and Miller, 1-0.
“I’m one and done,” Miller said. “Competing in an MMA event was on my bucket list. Now that I’ve got it done, I’ve got a day job and an important election coming up.” The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Miller won his MMA debut/swan song, one of 10 amateur fights Saturday held by the World Fighting Championship (WFC) at the Montbleu Theater in South Lake Tahoe.
Miller’s fight, the co-main event, was with Jamal Williams, a former high school wrestler and brawler. Miller’s walkout music was “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, a reference to his father, former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller. Reno Police Chief Steve Pitts, who often trains with Miller, walked the secretary of state into the octagon.
The fight was stopped in the second round after Miller delivered a body kick and a hard right hand that dropped Williams. The ref called it with Miller in ground-and-pound mode. Miller got the promoter’s word that Miller’s appearance would not be promoted to avoid a media circus.
Miller’s cornermen and a fan section were all wearing T-shirts that read: “My secretary of state can armbar your secretary of state.”
A former McDonald’s All-American basketball nominee for Nevada while at Bishop Gorman, Miller got into MMA and has been working out in the basement gym of UFC headquarters with some fighters and trainers. It became a passion and it explains why he recently showed up in public with a black eye.
“I got a broken nose in training and, yes, a black eye,” Miller said during a phone interview from Reno on his way to seeing “ParaNorman” with his daughters Cameron, 6, and Geneva, 4. Overhearing her father’s conversation, Cameron said, “Daddy, you get a black eye a lot.”
He’s switching from an MMA octagon to becoming a referee in the often-nasty infighting of politics. As secretary of state, he’s Nevada’s chief election officer. He’ll have his hands full with what’s shaping up as a rough campaign season. Miller said MMA “requires incredible mental strength and resilience and that’s what I love most about it. Your mind will try to give you a million reasons to quit but you’ve got to push through.”