Friday, November 6, 2009 09:23am EST
'Mayhem' Miller, Strikeforce fighters working to end bullying
By Maggie Hendricks
With his job as a host for MTV's "Bully Beatdown," Jason "Mayhem" Miller has personally confronted bullies who torment the lives of the show's viewers. Now, he is pushing to end bullying on a broader scale, partnering with "We're Kickin' It," a national anti-bullying campaign to bring the message to children that bullying is not OK.
"I have a background where I grew up in a poor area where no kids had supervision, and I was bullied, so it spoke to me," Miller told Cagewriter.
He has brought Strikeforce aboard, including middleweight Scott Smith and heavyweight Daniel Cormier. The two spoke to children at a martial arts center (Kennedy's Martial Arts Academy - Elk Grove Village, IL) in suburban Chicago and told Cagewriter why they chose to get involved.
"For me, I've got a couple of kids, and I coach junior high wrestling, and you can see there's a lot of kids who don't have the guidance," Smith said. "If we can get out there, and whether it's because we're good fighters or just adult role models, and it keeps them from bullying or picking on kids, we've done a good job."
Smith doesn't see a disconnect between what he does in the cage and a message against violence.
"Fighters are the exact opposite [of violent]. They're disciplined. We got into martial arts to learn how to defend ourselves. I'm the part owner of a gym, and the guys that come into learn how to fight so they can beat people up in bars? Those are the first guys to get weeded out. You've got to be disciplined to be a mixed martial artist."
"You don't know how to defend yourself as a kid," Cormier added. "You have to learn it. I didn't know how to defend myself as a kid until I learned how to wrestle. I finally figured out that when I wrestle, I win some, lose some, but if I can go out there and wrestle, why can't I stand up to some guy who is bullying me?"
Bullying has been in the headlines lately as a widespread problem in schools that can lead to other, bigger problems. Just this week, an Alabama school is investigating if bullying played a part in the suicide of a 12-year-old boy.
For Miller, standing up to bullying and helping kids is the goal, not the by-product, of his fame.
"I work in my life not just for monetary rewards. I want fame so at some level I can influence change. I don't look at it just as, 'Oh, I want to be famous so I can hump girls.' I want to exert my influence in a good way."