November 10, 2009

Chicago fighter Mark Miller waited all night for his chance to fight in front of a hometown crowd at the Sears Center on Saturday night's Strikeforce card. And then he waited. And waited some more. Until finally the main event had ended and his bout with Deray Davis, which was originally scheduled to be the fifth of six fights on the unaired undercard, was officially canceled. Miller heard the confirmation over an athletic commission representative's walkie-talkie. The bout was a no-go. He still didn't believe it at first, so he kept his hands wrapped and did his best to stay warm, even as the fans filed out of the arena and Strikeforce officials made their way backstage for the post-fight press conference.

"I was kind of confused at first," said Miller. "I wasn't sure what was going on so I stayed wrapped and stayed warm, just in case, but they came back and told us for sure that it wasn't happening. They told me the reason was that in the beginning of the fights there was some problem with production. I don't know, I was kind of surprised by it all so I wasn't paying too much attention to what they said."

Miller said he was told that the bout was initially bumped from the undercard in order to ensure that the fight between Roxanne Modafferi and MarloesCoenen could go on, and that he would get his chance after the main event. But after Fedor Emelianenko defeated Brett Rogers via second-round TKO, Strikeforce opted to skip the fight altogether. The organization compensated Miller and Davis by paying them their contracted show money, but Miller still wound up taking a financial hit because of the decision.

"Unfortunately, I lost my sponsorship money since I didn't get to go out and fight. That was kind of rough for me because the sponsorship money is a big part of what we get, but Strikeforce did pay me my show money, which helped out a lot."

When reached for comment on Tuesday evening, a Strikeforce representative said that the organization attempted to offer further compensation to Miller and Davis by paying them the same contracted rate to fight on a December event being promoted by a local organization in Chicago. Since both fighters were unavailable on that date due to prior commitments, however, Strikeforce has since decided to pay both Miller and Davis their win bonuses in addition to the show money they already received.

He might still have rather had the opportunity to fight in front of the throng of supporters who bought tickets specifically to see him, but Miller, who has a nineteen-month-old daughter, described Strikeforce's decision to add a win bonus to his take for the night as "great news."

And as for his friends who sat in the arena all night waiting to see him in action, he's looking on the bright side.

"I know a lot of the people who came to see me were pretty upset, but they still got to see some great fights. They just didn't get to see me."

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