Pat Miletich is headed to the UFC Hall of Fame. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Former welterweight champion Pat Miletich became the 12th inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame on Sunday.
"I"ve got great family and great friends," Miletich said during a ceremony held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. "I'm honored to be here."
Miletich joins Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Randy Couture, Mark Coleman, Chuck Liddell, Charles “Mask” Lewis, Matt Hughes, Tito Oriz, Forrest Griffin and Stefan Bonnar in the UFC Hall of Fame.
Miletich debuted in the Octagon at UFC “Battle in Bayou” on March 13, 1998, when he defeated Townsend Sanders and Al Buck Jr. in the same night to win the promotion’s first welterweight tournament. In his next UFC appearance, “The Croatian Sensation” outpointed Mikey Burnett at UFC 17.5 “Ultimate Brazil” to capture the organization’s inaugural welterweight strap. He would defend the title four times before falling to Carlos Newton at UFC 31.
Miletich would later move to middleweight, suffering a first-round TKO loss to Matt Lindland in his final promotional appearance at UFC 36. He fought twice more after that, submitting to Renzo Gracie in the International Fight League in September 2006 before knocking out Thomas Denny in his final professional outing on Dec. 11, 2008.
Miletich produced a number of talented fighters at his Bettendorf, Iowa-based Miletich Fighting Systems gym, including UFC champions Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver and Tim Sylvia.
"When we bought the company back in 2001, he had the best camp in mixed martial arts," UFC President Dana White said. "At the time we bought the UFC, he had pretty much every champion. He was the champion himself, then Matt Hughes became champion, he came out of his camp. Tim Sylvia was the heavyweight champion. Jens Pulver was the first lightweight champion. The list goes on and on of talent that came out of the Pat Miletich camp."
Today, Miletich works as an MMA analyst for AXS-TV, calling the various MMA events that air on the network. He also worked for Showtime as a Strikeforce commentator until the promotion ceased operations in January 2013.
Overall, Miletich has been around long enough to see MMA go through its share of highs and lows. He credits Zuffa for much of the sport's success today. "There was a time in this sport, when people who have been around for a lot of years could tell you, this sport had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel," Miletich said. "You've got to give credit where credit is due. Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta and Dana White have taken this sport [to where it is] -- none of us would be there without these guys."