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The main event event for Strikeforce’s Chicago debut is the heavyweight clash between Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers.  Much has already been made about the event broadcasting live on CBS, and this being the biggest spotlight ever for Fedor in the United States.  But the last time CBS featured a highly anticipated prime time MMA event, Kimbo vs. Colussus, the middleweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith seemed to garner more praise and turned out to be the better fight despite the disappointing no contest finish.  The same may happen again when Jake Shields faces Jason “Mayhem” Miller for the 185 pound belt.

Both fighters shared their enthusiasm for the upcoming scrap.

“I think it’s going to be a great fight,” said Shields in a conference call.  “We match up pretty well. It’s going to be non-stop action. I’m in great shape and I’m sure he will be also. This is a big opportunity for him.”

Miller, known among hardcore MMA fans for his colorful personality, has a cult following he affectionately calls the “Mayhem Monkies.”  He has always cherished the spotlight and is already in full promotion mode.  “I want everybody to know about this fight,” he proclaimed at the conference call.  ” I want everybody to watch this fight. If the MMA fans don’t know about this fight then it’s not my fault because I’m twittering, facebook-ing and myspace-ing and doing whatever I can for it.”

Miller brings even more exposure to the promotion due to the success of his MTV show “Bully Beatdown.”  Ironically Shields has been a featured fighter on Miller’s program in several episodes.  In fact, the two are good friends.  But neither will let a little thing like friendship get in the way of their aspirations to be a champion.

Shields downplays their friendship, “we’re cool with each other. We’ve gone out a few times. It’s not like we sit at home and talk with each other on the phone or anything.”

Immediately Miller interupted, “You’re breaking my heart, man. I thought you were my best friend. I thought we had a connection.”  The former EliteXC champion continued by adding,

“I have fun hangin’ out with him but I have no problem punching him in the face either. When we get done with the fight we’ll be cool but we won’t have any problem once we’re in the ring.”

Miller put the exclamation on the issue adding, “if the media wants us to we can hate each other.”

Those who follow Strikeforce know former San Shou champion Cung Le previously held the belt, defeating Frank Shamrock in one of 2008’s best fights.  However Le hasn’t defended the title since. “Cung let the belt go because he has other movie opportunities right now,” said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.  “Hopefully he’ll be back soon. He understands what a commitment it is to be an MMA fighter and we’re going to move forward and see how it goes.”

There are some intriguing possibilities for the winner after November’s fight.  Le still figures into the mix, as may Dan Henderson.  Yahoo.com is reporting the Team Quest leader may come over to Strikeforce after contract talks with Dana White and the UFC have stalled.

But neither fighter is looking past each other.  Shields, a Ceasar Gracie product, is looking forward to fighting once again on CBS.  “I want to say I’m very excited to be on this card. It’s going to be a great night for the fans. Going back to CBS is huge. This will be my third time fighting on CBS and I really appreciate the exposure.”  Although he appears regularly on cable television, Miller, a member of Henderson’s Team Quest, has yet to fight on major network TV.  “I don’t think at this stage of my career I’m going to be nervous or worries about anything. Those days are far behind me; to be overly excited because everyone is watching me. There’s no disadvantage to that. If anything it’s an advantage because I know everyone is watching and I’m more focused and more ready to do this.”

Both recognize the opportunity and promise to be at their best.

Shields carries a submission specialist tag with him but is ready to show all his skills.  “I’ve been working on every aspect for this fight. I’ve been doing boxing, kick boxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, conditioning. I’ve been working on everything. I haven’t been working on just one approach to fighting “Mayhem.” I’m just working on every aspect.”

Likewise, Miller is going to continue to do what has endeared him to his followers.  “I’m going to put some showmanship into it. That’s not that common in the shows here in America but if I can put some flair into it and people are going to be talking about it around the water cooler on Monday, well there you go. That’s the way to capitalize that we’re on CBS, regular television where you can get it on your bunny ears.”

CBS/Strikeforce/M-1 Global Saturday Night Fights is November 7 at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

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