How's this for a premise: Let's say you're having a problem with a bully. A mixed martial arts superstar hears your appeal and brings in one of his fellow MMA bruisers to issue a challenge - face the pro fighter in a cage match for the chance to win up to $10,000. Usually, though, the victim of the bullying gets to sit cage-side and watch the beating their tormentor deserves.
Jason "Mayhem" Miller, the unlikely hero to taunted kids everywhere, serves as host and commentator for MTV's "Bully Beatdown," returning for its second season on MTV this Thursday night, Aug. 27, at 9:30 p.m. EST. In this exclusive Q&A, he discusses his wild side, the joys of seeing bullies get thrown around a ring, and how to join his legion of fans, dubbed "Mayhem Monkeys."
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So what have you been up to this week, gearing up for the Season 2 premiere of “Bully Beatdown”?
I’ve spent all week lifting weights, just trying to get stronger now for a fight. It’s kind of counter-intuitive, because my weight coach and my dietitian are telling me to eat and rest a lot in between really hard workouts, in order to gain strength. They keep telling me that I need to gain a bit of weight in order to gain strength. So I just listen to them, since they’re really smart, and I’m, uh, not really smart (laughs). I like to surround myself with lots of educated people, so they help me out.
It must be hard for a guy like you to be forced to take a day off and rest …
Fuck yeah, man! It’s so tough! I think it’s something genetically, because my mom’s the same way. If I don’t get outside and run around, I go crazy. I think it’s just me getting fucking bored.
Can you even go outside anymore? You’re a bona fide superstar these days.
I know man, right. I mean, my face is in fuckin’ Times Square. It’s shenanigans! But at least it’s somebody who worked hard to get famous, and not some of these girls from, like, “Laguna Beach” who just sit around and get boob jobs and all of a sudden are all over the place.
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So if you’re not a fan of their most popular programming, how did you get in cahoots with the guys from MTV?
It took MTV finding a certified psychopath in order to make something worth watching. They approached me, but I didn’t even understand it at first. They explained the general concept, and I was like “Fuck that! Go to hell!” ’Cause I didn’t give a damn about this. Then they explained that I’d get to be funny, which I was looking for … to be funny and fighting all at the same time.
Were you ever troubled by bullies as a kid?
When I was a kid I got bullied, punked and jumped a lot, but it kind of made me who I am today. In a way it got me into the gym and got me good at fighting, because it got me comfortable in that fighting environment. The thing is, not everybody has the same mentality that I have. Maybe I was born with it, or maybe I developed it, but I understand not everyone is like me. So for me to do "Bully Beatdown" is really awesome. Basically, I’m doing the same thing now that I was doing in my neighborhood when I was 10. The weaker kids on the block would get beat up by the stronger kids, and I would go beat that stronger kid up, because I was trying to help the weaker kid out.
How are you ramping up the action for Season 2? Where does the show go after the first season?
I was the most critical of the show, more than anybody. I would watch it and get angry. I wouldn’t see all the good, even though everybody was talking about how awesome it was. I would see the flaws. The gaping flaws of the first season, if you asked anyone else, they wouldn’t think there were that many, but to me, I thought we could make it a lot funnier, and we can make it more awesome. We could get more exciting fights, and get tougher bullies. We just took those thoughts and acted on them. Season 2 is unreal, man. I’ve only seen two of the episodes, ’cause at this time it’s all that’s complete, but I can’t even explain … I mean, they’re epic.
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Who’s the most memorable bully you’ve encountered on the show so far?
I’ll never forget this one guy, who basically wanted to crawl across the ring to get out. I usually give the bully a chance to say sorry to the victim, but this one guy just stood there and said, “I think I’m going to throw up.” And before I could even ask him if he was serious, he vomited all over my shoes. There’s no way I couldn’t think of that guy, because it was both hilarious and disgusting. I’m telling you, my show has everything in it, except for tits. And believe me, I’m working on that.
Please keep us posted on how that goes. Your show has an intriguing concept anyway, beyond bullies getting their just desserts…
The thing about my show is, the bully doesn’t have to win the fight to win $10,000. To win all the money you just can’t totally get your ass kicked. You have to not tap out, and just survive to get the money. But it makes me sour, ’cause I hate giving away money to people who don’t deserve it.
Have any of the bullies challenged you personally for a match in the cage, rather than one of your fighting friends?
Yeah, it did happen. I think I just waved him off. That’s the last thing I’m going to have on my show, is this guy who wants to fight me right there, when I’m doing an interview.
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How do you feel about the growing popularity of mixed martial arts across the board?
It’s good. It’s not like MMA is Vanilla Ice, where all the exposure is corrupting the sport. The more people who know about it, the more people that will get into it and remain fans. Even before my show, people were starting to embrace it, but now, it’s just even more. The target demographic, if you will, that watches my show now, when I was their age, I was watching skateboarding, and then when I was around 16, I really grabbed a hold of it. Nowadays, though, these kids, instead of watching skateboarding, everyone wants to be a fighter. Everyone wants to punch each other in the face.
Since you grew up a fan of skateboarding, how do you like being part of this new Thursday-night lineup with "Nitro Circus" and "Rob Dyrdek?"
I think they like to hang out with me (laughs). I think all those guys are really talented, and I think it kicks ass that I’m part of the lineup. I think we’re just going to have a good time, man. It’s going to be epic.
Okay, be honest: What does it take for a geek like me to become a Mayhem Monkey?
Being a mayhem monkey isn’t about how good of shape you’re in. We create havoc and mayhem around the planet, because it’s fun. You don’t need to be in tip-top shape. It’s just for people who like having fun, and want to do random acts … of randomness.