Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion Pat Miletich was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame as part of the UFC Fan Expo this past weekend (July 5-6, 2014) inside Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada (video replay here).
A move on the part of UFC President Dana White, signifying the end of a long feud between the two. One that started after White left Pat high-and-dry, opting to give Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock coaching gigs on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 3 after he had already promised "The Croatian Sensation" a spot opposite Carlos Newton.
See Dana's side of the story here.
According to Miletich, his induction was something that he appreciated, though he didn't expect it to happen, as he recently declared on The MMA Hour:
"It's not something I expected. Dana and I butted heads for a while. It is what it is; water under the bridge now, which I am very happy about. There was a [time] a few years back that the chances of me getting inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, hell freezing over was more likely. Yeah, it was surprising."
For Miletich, the induction meant getting the recognition for being one of the first to "climb the mountain," seeing as MMA was barely a sport when he got started.
"When I got involved in the sport, there was no UFC Hall of Fame. There was barely a sport. Nothing of that sort was something that we thought about and it was something that I never really worried too much about. It's important to me, and several fighters that I know have done the same thing and I don't know why we do it, maybe to create new goals for ourselves subconsciously, but all of the kickboxing belts and UFC belts that I've won over the years are in boxes in my basement or storage room. I don't know if I did that to create new goals for myself or whatever. It's not something we strived for. Now, when I was inducted into the Dan Gable hall of fame, that was a complete surprise. I grew up idolizing the ground Dan Gable walked on, so that was something that was like, 'wow.' The first time I met Dan Gable, I couldn't even talk. I mean, what do you say to a guy like Dan Gable? Look, I'm thankful for the life I've led, and thankful for the things that have happened to me. It's nice to have your name etched in history, hopefully 100 years from now someone will come across my name and say, 'hey, that guy must have been a pretty tough guy.' In the big scheme of things, what we're doing now is not that big a deal. It's nice to be recognized for climbing the mountain, though."
Going 8-2 under the UFC banner, Miitech appeared inside the Octagon way back in 1998, winning the 170-pound title the same year. After eventually losing the belt to the aforementioned Newton, Pat competed twice more for UFC before bolting for International Fight League (IFL).
Long before Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), and other famed camps thrived, Pat headed the famed Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS) in Bettendorf, Iowa, which housed former champions Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, Tim Sylvia, and top contender Robbie Lawler -- all at the same time.
As for White, he's been burying hatchets left and right, as he also recently squashed his longtime beef with Ken Shamrock.